Most bikers understand that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous. In fact, the odds of getting in an accident when you ride a motorcycle are pretty alarming. I recently read a statistic that said a motorcyclist who traveled 15 miles every day for a year, had a 1-in-860 chance of dying, which is 29 times the risk for automobiles and light trucks. This isn’t because bikers are risk-takers who push the limit every time they ride (as the negative and false stereotype might imply). Rather, it’s because they are harder to see on the road.
So, if you know that your odds of getting in an accident are increased every time you get on your bike, you should probably know what to do at the scene of an accident to limit and treat your injuries or your friends’ injuries. It’s just practical.
“I have been on the scene of three accidents and this training helped!”
That’s why my law firm sponsors accident scene management courses in the Denver metro area for motorcycle riders. We partner with Road Guardians, an international program offered through the Accident Scene Management (ASM) organization. ASM is the leading motorcycle trauma training organization in the world. The nonprofit organization teaches bystanders, bikers and first responders what to do at the scene of a motorcycle accident to prevent further injuries and fatalities among bikers.
On March 24 and 25, 2018, the O’Sullivan Law Firm sponsored a weekend course for Denver bikers. It was well-attended and participants learned a lot about taking care of themselves and their fellow bikers after an accident.
The two-day course, which was also made possible by Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson, BikerDown, Colorado Rider News and Peak Honda World, covered what to do in the first 5 to 30 minutes after a crash until professional help arrives, including:
- Prevent Further Injury: Secure the scene, make yourself visible, take personal precautions, handle the motorcycle as necessary, how and when to move the injured if necessary.
- Assess the Situation and Gather Information for EMS: Identify the four kinds of motorcycle crashes and common related injuries, review basic anatomy, identify mechanisms of injury as they relate to injuries.
- Effectively Contact the EMS: Learn how to manage the 911 call and give pertinent information, identify ways to gather important personal information, learn how to be of assistance to the EMS when they arrive on the scene.
- Treat the Injured in a Logical Manner: Jaw thrust rescue breathing and full-face helmet removal, controlling external bleeding, assessing and treating shock, spinal immobilization.
- Identify Other Life-Threatening Injuries That Can Be Treated at the Scene: Assess and treat injuries to the head, neck, chest and abdomen, assess and treat muscle, soft tissue and bone injuries.
- Identify Common Environmental First Aid Problems Requiring Immediate Care: Insect and animal bites (anaphylactic shock), hyper -and hypothermia.
During the ASM training, two Emergency Medical Technicians described and demonstrated how to handle all of the issues listed above. Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT, and Don Enninga, EMT-1, even had participants get down on the floor to learn how to move an accident victim safely.
Long-time Denver biker Skip Hohnhorst attended the March classes, but he’s no rookie to ASM courses. This was the second time he took ASM trainings because he felt like he needed a refresher.
“I ride a lot, often within groups ranging from large organized rides to riding with a few friends,” said Skip. “I believe it is important to be as prepared as possible for whatever happens when out riding, whether it’s a careless driver, changing road conditions, or an unfortunate accident involving another rider. In my case, I have been on the scene of three accidents and this training helped!
“The first accident was only a couple of weeks after I first took my first course,” Skip continued. “In another accident, three riders in a group I was riding with went down right in front of me. Just having some knowledge of what needed to be done was helpful in these circumstances instead of being a spectator wondering what to do next.”
Skip was also able to update his motorcycle emergency kit with supplies provided by Road Guardians.
“I most definitely recommend that everyone who rides take this course and carry an emergency kit with them at all times,” said Skip. “We all set out on a ride believing we will have a safe ride and not get hurt, but things do happen and even if it doesn’t happen to you, you will probably come upon a situation one day where someone will have an accident and your actions will help mitigate the situation.”
He adds, “God forbid, if it does happen to you, you will hope someone who is on the scene will have had the training you have to help you out.”