Women Riders

On The Safe Side

Written by  July 31, 2004

Remember when you got your first bike and thinking of all the accessories you wanted to add and what items to carry in your windshield pouch or saddlebags? Was a first aid kit on your list? It should be a staple on every rider’s bike from day one. You never know when you might need it. And if you have to use it, the person you are helping will be forever grateful that you had it too.

You have a couple choices in first aid kits. First, you can go to any discount store and buy a pre-packaged kit. Once you get it home you can consolidate the essential items you want to carry (no point in carrying 50 band-aids, etc.). Second, you can assemble your own, according to your first aid skill level. You will spend approximately $10, and it is well worth it. A fanny pack or small airtight container is easy storage for all your items and they will fit easily in your saddlebag or T-bag. Make sure it is convenient to get to in an emergency situation.

The following list is considered basic first aid items, and of individual preference. Depending on your emergency care skills, your kit may be more extensive in supplies.

Personal Items:
Mask (for CPR)
Eye protection

Wound Cleanup & Care Products:
Alcohol wipes
Band-aids (assorted)
Butterfly bandage
Antibiotic ointment
Eye wash/drops
Sanitary napkin pads
Instant ice-pack

Other Items:
Safety pins
Aspirin or non-aspirin product
First aid instructions
Bottled water

Once you have all your items together, test the scissors. If you have to use these on the road, they need to be sharp enough to cut denim or leather. If emergency care people are helping, ask them to look for zippers in the leathers before they start cutting!

Did you frown or raise your eyebrows on the sanitary napkin pads? Believe it or not, they can help absorb bleeding and will cover a large area if necessary. Plus, they are self contained and sterile until they are opened.

Most of us already carry a towel for cleaning our bikes, but it could also be used to keep cool by wetting it down, or in an emergency situation you could create a splint or sling.

If you are helping someone, look or ask them for an information card to assist medical personnel. Everyone should consider carrying an information card in case of an emergency. It can be a 3x5 card with your name, address, phone number, doctor’s name and phone number, blood type, allergies and a couple emergency contact names, addresses, home, cell and work phone numbers. Using a bright colored card and having it laminated protects it from the elements and will be easy to locate.

Always keep your cell phone charged or pack a CB radio in case something bad does happen. The quicker you get someone there to help, the better off it will be. If you have to send someone for help, send a female or a clean-cut guy, and remove any colors (i.e. clothing with club patches) you have on. People are more likely to open their door or stop for them.

At the end of the riding season, take out your first aid kit and check the items for expiration dates and contents. Replenish or replace items before spring riding season so you are starting with fresh supplies.

Hopefully, you never have to use these items, but if you do you will be prepared. I am CPR Certified through the American Heart Association and First Aid Certified through the American Red Cross. There are many classes available and I would strongly recommend everyone taking the course; its well worth the time and money.

Some of you may be aware of the Good Samaritan Law, but if not, here is the explanation:

“It protects people who voluntarily provide assistance, expect nothing in return and take care in rendering aid”.

Some other things to consider; a responsive adult must give permission to be treated. If a person becomes unconscious, consent is implied. Once aid is being rendered remain with the injured person until care of equal or greater emergency medical training arrives.

I recently spoke with some riders who had just returned from the Smokey Mountains. Just north of Chattanooga, the Tennessee Highway Department had a road construction project underway and shut down two of the three southbound lanes. They placed the first two barrels just over the crest of a hill; invisible to oncoming traffic. Three of the nine riders in the group struck the barrels. The last rider in the group went down, suffering severe road rash. Only one person in the group of nine had a first aid kit and it was incomplete. Fortunately, the bike was operable and the rider was able to make it into town where he received medical help at a bar; but that’s another story.

It’s better to be on the safe side, so pay attention to details folks, and be prepared when you are on the road.

Goldie Arnold
“Never Ride Faster Than Your Angel Can Fly”

Tip of the Month: Never ride in someone’s blind spot and always expect the unexpected. Use a “flicker” of the high-low beam to gain added attention of driver’s at intersections and driveways.