Biker Down Course
Shoreham Fire station Friday 10th June
• Scene Management
• First Aid, Helmet Removal & Safety Skills
• Science of Being Seen
I attended the above Biker Down Course earlier in the month, along with my son who also rides, and found it both interesting and encouraging that what we all try and do within WSAM by following the system of IPSGA helps to maximise safe riding. I highly recommend the course should you get a chance to attend.
Ironically on the evening of the course there were three RTA’s (road traffic accidents) that happened all within a 5 miles radius of Shoreham, one of which was sadly fatal, one was a simple collision and the third was by the Shoreham cement works where a lady doctor returning from a very long shift fell asleep at the wheel and collided with an on coming car (fortunately nobody was seriously injured).
I thought it might be of interest to share some of the key points with the rest of the group for those among you who haven’t attended a biker Down Course.
Some Interesting Stats:-
Killed or seriously injured motorcyclists (KSI) 2019 to 2021 in West Sussex:-
• Machine under 50cc – 4%
• Machines 50cc to 125cc – 36%
• Machines 125cc to 500cc – 12%
• Machines 500cc plus – 47%
Now whilst this is probably no real surprise to us it does show that inexperience (learners below 125cc bracket) and potential higher speeds of 500cc plus are the main causes.
Most, but not all, of our associates are in the +500cc bracket which just goes to highlight the importance of what we train riders to do through IPSGA.
Severity of Collisions: in West Sussex-
Motorcyclists account for approximately 5% of all road users, but 23% of all RTA’s.
When it comes to numbers and locations of accidents in West Sussex there are two key points:-
1. Highest % of total accidents occur in built up areas and major towns, such as Worthing, Horsham, Bogna and Chichester, no surprise there.
2. Highest number of fatal accidents happen along the A283 and A272 and the main causes attributed to this are the fluctuating speed limits on these roads, i.e. – 40mph, 50mph and 60 mph, resulting in road users missing the changes to the speed limit, or frustration at being restricted, or just ignoring them altogether, Both these roads are used heavily by motorcyclists. (a point I will refer back to in the Accident Scene management).
Top Tips from the Course:-
The key elements covered in this area if you find yourself first on the scene, focused on the need to firstly ‘breath and stay calm’ as it is vital that the situation you find doesn’t get worse than it is with the addition of other road users and riders, so look where to position your bike to fend off and warn other road users which could make the situation worse and also to try and keep it clear for emergency services to have access. Utilise bystanders and other road users to help you keep the area as clear where possible.
Having then checked on the casualty situation you then decide to call the emergency services, you will probably be asked as to the condition of the casualties, so give them clear answers to their questions to the best of your ability.
Your location at the accident – This can sometimes be confusing and difficult to explain to the emergency services. There this a fabulous APP, called “What3Words” that I recommend everyone gets for their mobile phone. Its a location map which plots where you are within 5 meters and gives you three random words that you can relate to the emergency services who will then be able to know exactly where you are from the same APP – see below an example.
A few interesting tips:-
• Check the bike to see if rear footpegs are down which could indicate a pillion rider was also involved, there have been situations where a pillion has flown off into a field or hedge and has been missed if rider has been unconscious!
• Only consider moving a casualty if it is far more dangerous leaving them where they are.
• If a casualty is walking, but complaining about neck pain, don’t let them sit in a bystanders car as if the emergency services arrive and the casualty is still complaining of the neck pain getting worse, they will probably end up cutting the roof off the car for a safe extraction minimising any further risk of injury – which you can imagine potentially causes all sorts of arguments with the car owner. (recently a brand new police BMW estate was used at a traffic accident and the policemen on scene placed a casualty in the back of the car only to find the fire service then cut the roof off the new BMW to safely extract the casualty – bet they loved that !!)
• If there are multiple casualties and you need to prioritise quickly, go to the silent ones first not the ones shouting/screaming, as the silent ones may not be breathing and need instant attention.
• Be aware that due to budget cuts in the emergency services and particularly the paramedic response, accidents that occur geographically north of the A283 are taking much longer to respond to. A sad fact of the current state of play in funding restrictions.
FIRST AID, HELMET REMOVAL AND SAFETY SKILLS:-
I guess we all have various degrees of first Aid knowledge and some people react totally differently to injury drama and the sight blood. However, there are a few key points that are worth remembering that can make a huge difference to the survival of the casualty until the emergency services arrive and these are :-
1. Don’t remove a safety helmet unless the casualty is unconscious and not breathing in which case you DO need to remove the helmet to free up the airways and commence chest compression to the rhythm and beat of the song “Staying alive” by the Bee Gees! The thinking is that if the heart has stopped and they are not breathing then the risk of further damage by removing the helmet is irrelevant if you cant get them breathing again, – at least that way you did all you could.
2. Emergency services no longer do ‘Mouth to Mouth’ resuscitation when someone isn’t breathing and only focus on CPR with chest compression and we are advised do the same until emergency services arrive. They now believe the manual pumping of the heart is enough to keep the blood moving around the body to get oxygenated blood to the vital organs.
3. If the casualty is bleeding profusely establish from where and apply pressure to stem the bleeding until the emergency services arrive.
4. The last sense in the body to relinquish is the hearing, so try not to make remarks that could worry the casualty even if they seem unconscious, reassurance is helpful when speaking to them and trying to get a response.
5. Helmet removal & safety Skills – if you need to remove a helmet then see brief below. If you need to move the casualty, try to put them in the recovery position by turning them towards you by lifting their furthest arm and leg from you over their body and gently pulling them onto their side.
SCIENCE OF BEING SEEN – SMIDSY “sorry mate I didn’t see you” far too common.
Many of the points raised under this heading we preach at WSAM and will be known to everyone, or should be!
Its about “Being Bright, Being Safe, Being Seen” and covers most of the points within the Advanced riders manual – day time running lights, LED headlights where possible, Conspicuity strategies of bright colours against dark backgrounds and vice-versa, Hi visibility clothing on the rider and low down blocks on the motorcycle. Consider other colours – PINK is the new effective Hi Vis! Occasionally using a Z Line – position your motorcycle in a dominant and visible manner as a slight movement can help another road user spot you, using brake lights for slowing and gears for going.
Finally there is one thing I would recommend every member to use and that is a :-
‘ICEQR code STICKER on their Helmet’
This could save your life in an accident and it is something that can be viewed and read by the emergency services if the user is unable to communicate after an accident. It basically contains vital information about yourself such as
• Next of Kin contact
• Blood type if known
• Current medical conditions and or medications
• Allergies etc
The important thing is you choose what info you put on there and it is totally secure.
There are many providers of these stickers on line at an average cost of around £10 for two.
I hope these points were of interest and if you get a chance to attend a Biker Down course do try and fit it in, they last about 3 hours with much more in depth detail than I have summarised above, I am sure you won’t be disappointed. Stay Safe.