BIKE DOWN….BIKE DOWN!
Kevin Carpenter – ASM Instructor
It’s one of those great days to go for a ride. Spring, summer or fall. Heck, some of you live in the Southern USA and enjoy riding weather all year round! You may be riding by yourself or with a group of friends, taking a weekend getaway, a run to a rally, commuting to and from work, heading to your favorite lunch spot or cruising that stretch of road where you go to clear your head from the daily stress. You may be enjoying the sun as it warms you on this beautiful day with the wind in your face listing to your favorite tunes or just enjoying that serene moment of peace. Regardless, you are thinking that life is almost perfect! Just then a moment you hoped never to experience happens to you. Over your CB you hear those words you never want to hear: “BIKE DOWN!” A friend has left the highway at 65mph where they careened into the ditch and crashed into the trees. Or imagine that a friend’s back tire slid out in a light rain while you helplessly watch them go down and roll across the road like a rag doll. Maybe you are with a large group on a fundraising event and bikes go down or the motor patrol officer who is assisting your group goes down. Maybe you heard that sickening thud and scraping metal of a crash. Have you come upon a crash scene where professional help has not arrived? What are you going to do???
I’m sorry for the brutal descriptions, but folks, these are facts of being a motorcycle rider and road user. These examples are not stories that I made up. Some are situations I have been witness to and others are from friends that have shared their stories with me in the past few years since I was first trained in Accident Scene Management. I have been at crash scenes shortly after coming across them and I have also been first to respond. It’s scary when you see friends down. It’s also scary when they are complete strangers! It scared the hell out me the first time I was the one to call over the CB radio BIKE DOWN! BIKE DOWN! My adrenaline was pumping as I began to deal with the injured and use my training to prioritize what to do but what about you? Do you know what to do? What if it is me who needs your help? That golden hour starts at the moment of the crash, not from the time the first call comes in. Time is ticking away as you wait on the phone with the 911 operator. That person’s life has just changed. Maybe there are multiple people hurt? Maybe it was YOU who is the downed rider! Do your friends know what to do to help you? That clock is ticking. If you’re in the city your luck might be better because of more resources close by but outside the city (where many of us like to ride) your response time can be 20-45 minutes. Other variables are roads, traffic, weather, level of rescue services & equipment. All of these variables are a factor that determines how necessary your involvement is. You cannot count on just calling 911 and then standing by helplessly until EMS arrives. The clock from that golden hour is ticking away and minutes count. Are you going to be the one who makes a difference in that person’s life? Is your friend ready to help you? That’s why it’s important to learn what to do at a crash and have the proper supplies to be able to respond effectively.
The skills that are taught in Accident Scene Management has saved lives. You can begin treating the victim right away! It’s winter time folks. Get out of the house and decide to make difference in someone’s life. Check to see where the classes are scheduled to nearest you. If you don’t see one, maybe you, along with friends or a group can plan to host a class. You might even be able to find someone to sponsor the class. If you don’t see a class on the schedule near you then reach out to the nearest Instructor to find out what might be in the planning stages. You can read about the many times riders have used their training and please look into making the difference in someone’s life. The more riders who are trained, the safer it is for everyone!