When it comes to riding a motorcycle, you’ll already be well aware of the dangers that go hand in hand with your favourite pastime; some of you will be lucky enough never to experience a crash scenario, while others will know the feeling only too well. Fortunately, fatality statistics are on the downward path but serious injury statistics are on the rise, so what do you do when you or are a friend experiences a crash on the road?
Let’s set the scene, so that we’re all singing from the same song sheet:
After a good session on the road, you’re entering your favourite corner when all of a sudden: you see a crash happening in front of you. It’s hard to assess the situation while you’re trying to safely bring your motorcycle to a stop. As soon as you’ve safely pulled over, you’re on your feet trying to evaluate what’s going on. What happens next will depend on the situation but it will usually fall into two distinct categories: a major injury or a minor one.
Anyone with a bit of common sense will be able to quickly assess a major injury. Medical professionals follow the ABC method: Airways, Breathing and Circulation. With an unresponsive casualty, they will check for obstructed airways and remedy the situation by gently opening the airways, being incredibly careful not to move the patient. Secondly, they’ll listen for breathing, check to see if the chest is rising and falling and physically feeling for any breath; if there’s a problem, they’ll usually administer CPR. Thirdly, they’ll check that the heart has stopped beating; if that’s the case, they’ll use CPR with rescue breaths.
Since these situations certainly require professional attention, you’ll know to call an ambulance and provide whatever care you can until help arrives. This kind of scenario, although the worst case scenario is almost easier to deal with in some respects; the course of action is clear – you need the assistance of the emergency services. Minor injuries are harder to gauge ...
What do you do when your friend is back on their feet in no time at all, eager to stand their bike up and get back on the road? It’s harder to gauge what’s happened when the patient is unable to assess the extent of their own injuries. How many times have you shrugged off an injury and denied medical treatment in the past, either in motorcycle or non-motorcycle related circumstances? More than once, surely. Although things appear ok on the surface, you may want to call that ambulance after all.
After an accident, the patient’s body will inevitably be flooded with adrenaline; after an adrenaline rush, the patient won’t be able to tell you if anything hurts or has been badly damaged because they probably won’t notice. Even if something is visibly broken, the patient may not realize the extent of their injuries whilst in this adrenaline-fueled state.
On top of that, there are all kinds of injuries that may not be apparent, including spinal injuries, concussions and internal bleeding.
If this is the case, you have to take control of the situation and permit your friend to wait for an ambulance. Calling an ambulance costs us nothing here in the UK, so take advantage of the service; it’s better to play it safe when it comes to a road accident.
Coming off the bike may not be the most damaging thing for your patient either; waiting for the ambulance can be just as trying a time. ‘I don’t need an ambulance! Look! I can do this!’ – usually, your recently crashed friend can’tdo that and shouldn’ttry either. When you’re pumped full of adrenaline, waiting patiently, laying still and being quiet usually isn’t on the agenda but you have to make sure that your patient does it! Talk them out of it, reassure them that they should wait for an ambulance and that they shouldn’t tax themselves in any way.
Helmet removal should be left to the professionals too. All you can do is wait and try to ease any difficulties the downed rider may be having. Keep them still to keep them safe.
Even something as trivial as a fractured bone could hide an underlying problem; call the professionals just in case. If another vehicle was involved, it’s essential to call an ambulance along with the police; both services are essential and will definitely help any insurance or compensation claim that you may be entitled to. The police will be able to assess the situation and work out who (or what) was to blame and the ambulance services and hospital staff will be able to assess the extent of your injuries in a truthful way. At the end of the day, the emergency services are there to help you out, so don’t be afraid of calling them.
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