5 easy-to-follow steps that that will help you administer First Aid to a fellow fallen rider.
It’s a scene no rider wants to encounter, but the truth is, it is the one we are most likely to: a crash. Motorcyclists tend to ride the same beautiful, remote, curvy roadways, and chances are if you're around other riders you may be able to respond to a crash more quickly than local first responders. Instead of living with the dread of feeling helpless, here are some tips from professionals that may save a fellow rider’s life.
Reminder: Do NOT do anything that you’re not sure about. There are Good Samaritan Laws in most states and countries that protect individuals from being sued for their good intentions. Sadly, anything that might be considered “gross negligence” can be pursued. Just talking to someone and keeping them calm and conscious could save their lives too, and the information you might gather from the injured party if they lose consciousness could also be lifesaving.
With that in mind, let’s move on.
You’ve just come upon a motorcycle accident. Hopefully you’re with others, but either way, it’ll be upsetting.
- STAY CALM as you pull over. The injured rider will need you to be that way.
- CALL 911. If you’re within calling range, report the accident and then stay on the line. The operators are trained to ask the right questions and will want information that is valuable to the EMS, which they’ve already called while you’re talking. If you’re on your own and you don’t have a signal, proceed to items 3 and 4 before worrying about the call. Time is of the essence. If you’re with others, let someone else make that call where they can, after they take a good look at the rider and GPS your location.
- MAKE THE AREA SAFE. Before even attending to the rider, it’s critical that both you and they are safe. If you are with other riders, they can park their bikes up the road in both directions with hazards and possibly direct traffic.
- DO NOT MOVE INJURED PEOPLE OFF THE ROAD UNLESS THEY ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER-such as if they’re lying in a growing pool of fuel or too close to any other source of further injury.
- TALK TO THE RIDER. If they can speak, if they can breathe—which is good—and if they had a pillion. By talking you can keep them calm, conscious and ask them what hurts. If they can’t talk someone should begin scanning the area. DO NOT REMOVE THEIR HELMET. The only exception to this rule is if the victim isn't breathing and you need to perform CPR (if you're trained in CPR). Removing a helmet can easily compound or even cause spinal damage to an injured rider. Leave it on unless they have stopped breathing, in which case remove it carefully and preferably with the help of at least one other volunteer who can assist with stabilizing the rider.
OK, now is when things get more technical, and exactly when you need to assess your comfort level because you may need to administer care. The title video is a great start.
If all the above seems like more than you’ll be able to remember, try attaching the information to this handy acronym DR ABC when approaching the scene of an accident. It covers the basics.
- Dangers (Any dangers to you or the casualty?)
- Response (Is the casualty responding at all?)
- Airway (Is it clear?)
- Breathing (Are they breathing?)
- Circulation (Do they have a pulse?)
Extra advice: We riders love to travel, and not always in our own country. For yourself and others, familiarize yourself with the local emergency number. Nothing could be more stressful than not be able to make that first call.
If this article has piqued your curiosity about first-responder First Aid, there are plenty of courses offered by local organizations that are likely featured at a nearby motorcycle show. 'Tis the perfect season to bump up your safety sense.