Continuing our celebration of Motorcycle Safety month, we look at how riding a motorcycle has the potential to cause life-threatening injuries. The best protection is to take a first aid course such as those offered by the American Red Cross and others. If you do happen to come across a motorcyclist in trouble because he or she has suffered injuries from a crash, call 911. Every minute counts when someone’s life is at risk. Look around for street signs or location identifyers so you can inform the 911 dispatchers for first responders. In the meantime, look for providing help to minimize the typical high impact injuries that come with crashes:
- the ability to breathe effectively,
- minimize blood loss,
- protect the head, neck and spine.
The injured’s helmet should remain in place with chin strap undone as it provides excellent support for the delicate cervical vertebrae, so ask the rider to leave it in place until medical aid arrives. By removing the injured’s helmet or moving them in any way, there is a chance of doing more damage to any fractures the rider may have sustained. If there is profuse bleeding, however, you can apply pressure with bandages or clothing and keep the injured as still as possible. Avoid giving food or fluids, as they may need surgery. Find a blanket to cover the injured person, as people in shock will experience a drop in their body temperature. If the rider is burned from the bike or the road surface, apply water – preferably running water but in case that’s not available. bottled water will do. Do not attempt to pull off clothing from burnt areas.
And thank you for being the Good Samaritan that might just save a rider’s life!