In Case Of A Bike Accident -- Tips on What to Do
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION BELOW IS USEFUL AS A SUGGESTION, BUT EVERY PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS/HER OWN SAFETY AND MUST USE HIS/HER OWN JUDGMENT.
First -- Scene Safety
First responder, safety first -The first responsibility of a responder to an accident is his/her own safety!
A) If a rider(s) goes down, DO NOT STOP SUDDENLY, communicate "stopping" and slowly come to a halt. Stopping suddenly could cause a pile-up of riders and more riders down.
B) If the rider is in the roadway or near the edge: several people should direct traffic around/away -- starting a quarter of a mile back. Cars require a great distance to slow/stop. Position people at points along that quarter mile. Cars want to speed up again if they can't see the accident immediately.
C) One or two people go to the downed rider to assess his/her condition [see "Second" below]
D) The rest of the group gets themselves and their bicycles completely off the road and out of the way
Second -- Assess the Fallen Rider(s)
A) Tell the rider to stay still, call rider by name, tell rider your name, ask questions to ascertain how aware they are, how seriously injured they might be.
B) If the rider is conscious and clear headed, but has road rash, cuts, bruises or sprains assist them off the road, call for assistance if necessary
C) Serious Injury - call 911
Due to the seriousness and possible complications involved in the following four injury types, IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 -- DO NOT MOVE RIDER, DO NOT REMOVE HELMET, DO NOT GIVE LIQUIDS OR FOOD. Cover rider if possible to keep rider warm.
1) Possible Dislocations/Broken Limbs; either open (bone exposed) or closed (no cuts or exposed bone)
Broken limb - may be angulated mid span; area may be swollen and red
Dislocation - joint swollen; limb angulated from joint
2) Possible Internal Injuries
Swelling, redness, sensitive to touch, pain
3) Possible Head and Neck Trauma
Damage to nervous system; scalp wounds (heavy bleeders); concussion (second hit); altered behavior; fluid from eyes and/or ears is very serious (tell 911 operator)
Check eyes for uneven pupils, rolled eyes, dilated pupils; ask rider about blurred vision and double vision
DO NOT MOVE HEAD/NECK - tell rider not to move
4) Possible Spinal Injuries
Obvious paralysis - DO NOT MOVE RIDER
If rider cannot move or control one or more extremities - DO NOT MOVE RIDER.
D) If a rider wants to refuse a 911 call:
Try to assess their mental clarity, alertness by questioning them as to their name, date, day of week, location, what happened, birthday, etc. -- if they are confused, dazed, or hesitate, call 911. Check their helmet for scratches to see if they hit their head, as they may be unaware of doing so.
NOTE ABOUT CELL PHONES CALLS:
a) If you call 911 on a cell phone, the call goes to a New York State Police Station that may not be close by (nearest one to Westchester is Poughkeepsie); so know your location so they can contact the proper responders.
b) You may have to ride a distance to get cell service; note the location, closest street number and any cross streets before going; some numbered roads have mileage markers evenly spaced along the side of the road (small green or white signs)
c) Tell 911 operator the location, what happened and the condition of the fallen rider
If someone has a camera, consider taking pictures of the downed rider, the bike, and accident location/conditions. These can be given to the 911 responders to take to the hospital. Photos help emergency personnel figure out possible injuries.
Information to Carry on You (not in your saddle bag as your bike doesnt go with you to the hospital if you're in an accident)
- Health insurance card
- A list of medical conditions and any medication you're taking
- Emergency contact information
First Aid Supplies to Carry (every rider should have a few of the items so that between everyone in the group all items are available)
- Four to six 4x4" gauze pads,
- A roll of ½ or ¾ inch tape;
- A roll of gauze,
- Two bandanas
- Water bottle with water, not a sports drink
- Rubber gloves