Be prepared.

As motorcyclists, we put a lot of miles under our tires. One day, eventually, you will end up at a crash scene, hopefully not your own. Maybe you're riding in a group and someone you're riding with takes a spill. It could be a complete stranger. It may not even involve a motorcycle, but a car instead. As the first to arrive at such a scene, how should we prepare ourselves to help when it's needed?

The obvious solution would be to carry a basic first aid kit with you. These are great for general household use but are not so useful on a motorcycle. You may have a 100 piece first aid kit, but 80 of those "pieces" may be bandages. If a rider is wearing proper gear, these won't be useful because there won't be any cuts or abrasion injuries. If the rider isn't wearing proper gear, the road rash is going to be much larger than a standard-issue bandage or 3x3 gauze pad can cover. Such a first aid kit also doesn't include some items that first responders consider essential equipment.

You don't have to take my word for it. DanDanTheFireman, who, as his name implies, is an actual firefighter, agrees that first aid kits don't cut it for our needs. So, what does? Not much is commercially available at this time. He looked and was left wanting. Availability is so sparse that he's even considering assembling and selling his own, just to fill this need.

The one kit he did find is the Kickstart Trauma Pack offered by CPR - 1st Aid, an organization associated with the Accident Scene Management. This contains the bare essentials you should have with you:

  • Nitrile gloves (not latex, put these on before doing anything)
  • Trauma sheers (sharp scissors to cut clothes and even leather, but that won't puncture the skin)
  • Rescue breathing barrier
  • Sterile gauze (to put over the wound)
  • Tape
  • Antiseptic towelettes (to clean yourself up afterward)
  • A small bag to keep everything in

This kit is available from CPR - 1st Aid for $24.00. It's small enough to carry on any motorcycle. You can certainly assemble your own kit containing the same supplies if you prefer. CPR - 1st Aid lists exactly what each kit contains so that you can do exactly that. The one thing DanDanTheFireman would add to this is some Ziploc bags. They can keep items like gauze and tape dry, as well as be used to carry used gloves without contaminating anything. A tourniquet is another item that many would add but that's not included in this basic kit since you can easily improvise one out of a bandana, belt, or whatever else you have on hand. 

Having the equipment is good, but you should also know how to use it. Some people already have a first aid/CPR certification, which is excellent. Another good course to take is Accident Scene Management. I did, and I'm working through my online recertification now. While it's no substitute for an in-person course, ASM is offering a completely online version of the class that you can take remotely. Even without the training, though, having this equipment can still help, especially if someone else shows up who knows how to use it.