Motorcycle First Aid
I spent a career responding to all types of trauma. I’ve been on way too many motorcycle accident scenes. I’ve seen people lose arms, legs and yes, plenty who lost their life. Motorcycle First Aid is something everyone should know.
I’ve also taught First Aid classes, and still do. I taught Community College Emergency Medical Technician classes, and have been a field instructor for Emergency Medicine Residents (Physicians). I have literally seen everything that can go wrong when you separate from your bike, it goes to shit in a heartbeat.
We covered safety gear & Training, so now let’s talk about how to be prepared when the unexpected hits. This is not a course in motorcycle first aid, but I’ll give you some ideas of where to go for training. I’m also going to show our motorcycle first aid kit and you decide how much to carry.
If you only ride around town where EMS is readily available; you can disregard this section. However, if you like to ride long distances, seek the back roads, mountain roads, canyons….you know, motorcycle roads, then Motorcycle First Aid is meant for you..
You’re on a motorcycle and if you crash; your fault or not, it’s going to be a problem, maybe a serious problem. We find ourselves in areas without cell phone coverage and hopefully on roads without much traffic, so you may have to self-rescue. Just like with choosing what gear to wear, I think you need to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The worst case is you suffer significant bleeding from which you can die……but only if you can’t do some emergency treatment.
Motorcycle First Aid Kit
Kit – Packed
Kit – UnPacked
This is the single most important piece of gear.
Just your basic sponges. Used to cover wounds.
Rare, but if you need a sling this is handy.
My old favorites. These cut anything.
Optional: Could do the same with tourniquet.
This keeps your bandages in place.
Closing a wound with Steri-Strips. Nice to have.
Stuff gets in your eyes and this is just right.
Helps to slow bleeding. Can be packed in wound.
Don’t leave home without them.
Keep it clean, and let’s not get infected.
Not really necessary, but I like having some.
Thicker, used when there’s more blood.
Patch, Knuckle, fingertip, regular.
This is for a person having a heart attack. Chew & swallow.
I know what you’re thinking….I can’t carry all that stuff on my bike. I get it, I go overboard. I’ll break it down and after you take the kind of class I’m going to recommend, you decide.
The odds are, you’re not going to need most of this stuff, but what if you do? I’m not going to bleed to death on the side of the road…..from something I could treat. So far, I’ve only had to treat other people who crashed and I came upon.
You can buy a, “Motorcycle First Aid” kit, but all you get are some band-aids and a buch of filler stuff. You can put one of these together pretty cheap, and it will fit in a one gallon zip lock bag.
Commercial Motorcycle First Aid kits are made to look like you’re getting everything you need. It’s cheaper and better to build your own. Don’t ever buy a snake-bite kit. You don’t need it, and you should never use one.
First Aid Training
I’m going to say things here that some people are going to disagree with and I don’t care. The most common first aid class you’re going to see is, “Red Cross First Aid.” I wouldn’t tell you not to take one, it’s better than nothing, but you can do better, and you should.
You need to know how to, apply a tourniquet, use an Israeli Bandage and how to use Quick Clot. These may never be used, but when the shit goes down and someone is going to bleed out, you’ll wish you had them.
This kind of training is simply, Advanced First Aid. You’re looking for a class that may be called, “Wilderness First Aid,” or “Industrial First Aid.” Call your local FIre Department and see what they have to offer. Many Paramedics will be teaching these classes on their time off. If all you can find is a Red Cross class, take it. You want someone who can tell you what it’s like when you have a severed arm, or an open fracture of your femur and you may bleed to death. This is serious stuff and you or one of your riding buddies may depend on you to save their life.