None of us want to witness or be part of a motorcycle accident – yet as avid riders, at some point it is likely that we will, at the very least, end up assisting in a post-crash situation. Are you prepared? Do you know what to do?
One of the first steps is to go through a basic first-aid course. There are many online ones such as this one by First Aid Web which can provide you with a basic knowledge of what to do – and more importantly, what NOT to do. You can also find pocket guides through the Red Cross that specifically deal with remote sport activities such as what we do.
Once you have an idea of what you should and shouldn’t do with a victim, the next step is learning the proper responses. If you are one of the first people on scene, unless someone else has taken charge, step up and run the scene! Designate a specific person to go alert emergency crews – just shouting “someone call 911” is NOT effective! Ensure that one person, who is armed with the knowledge of the location, general injuries and is calm enough to relate that information to dispatch is essential to getting emergency crews on scene as quickly as possible with the correct response.
If someone on scene has medical experience, put them in charge of the victim in the worst condition. Learning some basic triage skills can be very useful in making sure valuable resources aren’t being spent in the wrong place.
Once the victims have people attending them, ensure that people are assigned to managing traffic around the scene. With many motorcycle accidents occurring on corners, it is very important to send someone beyond the corner in each direction to slow traffic BEFORE they come around the corner. If possible, send the most “visible” person – someone with easy to spot gear is ideal. If someone in the group has high vis gear, send that with your traffic control crew if it is reasonable to do so.
Finally, have someone move your (and the other responders) vehicle/gear/stuff out of the way if it is in the general area of the incident. Having it out of the way will make the scene less confusing for the emergency crews, and reduces the amount of “stuff” clogging the area.
After ensuring that emergency crews are notified, victims are attended to and traffic is under control, send everyone else on to a designated meet spot. You do not want extra bodies, bikes, cars, etc clogging up the area. Once emergency personnel arrive, they will need room to park and operate, so get extra bodies out of the way.
Finally, ensure that the victim(s) emergency contacts are notified and that you have the information needed to send them to the correct location. If this is a group, it is recommended to have someone from the group go to the final location of the victim(s) until their emergency contacts arrive.
Every accident is different. Some are simple and won’t require emergency crews. Some are far more complicated and can end tragically. Understanding the basic steps of how and what to do can change a scene from chaotic to controlled. Regardless of the situation, the basic steps remain the same, so understanding them will have a huge impact on your ability to respond correctly and swiftly.
Ride safely, but be prepared!