To conclude our Group Riding Safety Tips series, this month dives into what you should do in the emergency situation of a rider going down. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you checking out the 2 previous articles in the series listed below.
Part 1: Group Ride Safety Tips - Planning
Part 2: Group Ride Safety Tips - Formation, Signals and Rider Etiquette
Firstly, you need to keep in mind that all accidents and crashes vary in severity, so take these tips as only suggested guidelines. It’s also important to keep in mind that the advantage you have when a rider does go down in a group ride, is that you should have multiple other riders, able to help out in the situation. When the emergency situation is controlled, organised and prepared for, the better it will be for the injured rider.
So a rider has gone down on a group ride! What do you do next?
Tip #1: Safely Pull Over
Pulling over in a secure and safe spot should be the first thing you do when a rider goes down. Avoid parking in a blind corner, or directly around where the accident has occurred. This is because you should be leaving enough room for emergency vehicles if they are required.
Tip #2: Secure The Accident
This is where having multiple riders willing to help comes in handy. It is recommended to get other riders to flag down oncoming traffic, signifying there has been an accident. The last thing you want is more casualties.
Tip #3: Assess The Rider/ Accident
While other riders are helping secure the scene, assess the severity of the accident, determining whether to call 000 or not. Generally, we can categorise crashes into three segments… Not Hurt, Partially Hurt or Badly Hurt. It should be pretty clear as to which category the downed rider falls under, so act accordingly. If Badly Hurt, call 000 immediately. For Partially Hurt, it is still advised that patients should still see paramedics, yet isn’t as urgent. First AID kits should be available to treat most road rash and cuts.
Tip #4: Don’t Overcrowd The Accident
Only relevant riders, such as the first AID provider, accident control riders and another selected few should be at the scene. There is no need to overcrowd the accident. Direct the rest of the group further up the road, parking in a safe spot, until further notice. Usually, the Riding Leader makes this call, as to who should stay and leave, so follow these directions.
Tip #5: Emergency Supplies
Mentioned in Part 1: Group Ride Safety Tips - Planning, a member (or multiple members) on the group ride should be carrying a First AID kit, preparing for the worst. Better yet, make sure the dedicated carrier of this FIRST AID kit knows how to use it. Having experience in basic FIRST-AID, like treating road rash or flesh wounds is incredibly beneficial.
Along with the First AID kit, it is wise to also bring along extra supplies that anyone in the group can use during other types of situations. These would include…
Tip #6: Keeping The Rider Comfortable
Provide shade if the sun is out and directly shining on the downed rider. The idea here is to maintain a comfortable body temperature. If need be, remove your own jackets, using them as makeshift shade covers. Try not to move the patient to find shade, as Spinal or Neck injuries are hard to diagnose, and any movement could make the situation worse off.
Tip #7: Check Their ABCs
If the patient is unconscious check their ABC’s - Airway, Breathing and Circulation. For them to breathe, their airways should be clear. This procedure is easier, with a touch (phone light will do). To examine if the patient has circulation, look at the chest to see if it’s moving. If this is hard to see, due to the armoured jacket they are wearing, put your hand near their mouth determining if they are breathing. Keep them still and calm until the paramedics can take over.
Tip #8: Debrief The Group
Once the situation is looked after, and the downed rider is properly and sufficiently taken care of, debrief the group on the status of the situation. Communication is key.
Tip #9: Just Remember
The goal of the FIRST AID isn’t to heal or cure an injury, it’s to stabilise the rider until trained professionals arrive.
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