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Biker down! Would YOU know what to do in an accident?

Jas Murphy November 26, 2020

Most people know that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Most motorcyclists prefer not to dwell on the dangers of motorcycling and instead focus on identifying and avoiding risks. It’s also fair to say that motorcycles have some great crash avoidance gear – 180 degree or more unhindered vision, powerful brakes, grippy tires and excellent handling. However, if the worst were to happen, and you or a friend was involved in a crash, would you know how to respond? Biker Down! courses give people the skills they need to know what to do in an accident involving a motorcyclist. Below we take a look at what you’ll learn and where you can book your free course.

Learning how to respond in an emergency

When you learn to ride a motorcycle, the focus is on your riding skills. How to stay balanced, be a responsible road user and also avoid mishaps are all covered. Little to no training is provided that teaches you what to do in an accident.

To be fair, training for car licences doesn’t cover this either – just a few questions in the theory section and that’s it. In fact, only 5% of the UK’s adult population have the skills and confidence to provide first aid in an emergency, according to research by the Red Cross. Given that around three-quarters of the population is licenced to use the roads, there’s a big gap between skilled responders for road accidents and people who may be involved in one.

There are some key things to remember if you do witness an accident or become involved in one. Before dialling 999, you should assess the situation. Turn on your hazard lights and use warning triangles to alert other drivers, but don’t put yourself at risk when doing this. Establish how many vehicles are involved and let the emergency services know when you make the call, along with advising them if anyone is unresponsive. If you aren’t sure about how to resuscitate someone, the emergency response person will be able to give you advice.

Whether you’ve just got your car licence, are learning to ride a motorcycle or are a seasoned rider, first aid knowledge is a valuable thing to have. Understanding how to respond to a road accident can be the difference between life and death.

How Biker Down! courses started

When a fireman from Kent’s fire service responded to a motorcycle accident relying on the first aid training he’d received at work, the idea for biker down courses were born. Kent fire service was the first to put the course content together and share it with other fire stations around the UK. In 2015, there were just 14 teams providing the courses from their fire stations. Today, you can book onto a course in most parts of the UK.

One of the biggest questions that confront people who first arrive at the scene of an accident involving a motorcyclist is whether or not to remove the helmet and if so, how? Head and neck injuries are the second most common type sustained in a motorcycle accident. Removing a helmet could make matters worse, or better – it depends on the injuries sustained by the rider. Down! courses are based on how emergency service responders are taught to behave in a road accident.

Knowing what to do, and acting accordingly can save a life and minimise injuries. Fortunately, Bike Down! courses teach participants exactly what to do if they happen upon an accident. Courses are usually attended by bikers and are free for all participants.

Biker Down course content

The Biker Down! courses are free and they’re now held in most parts of the UK by the Fire and Rescue services. Courses take three hours in total to complete. You’ll learn about crash scene management, including how to protect casualties and other road users. Basic lifesaving skills are also covered – CPR, airway management and when and how to remove someone’s helmet. Finally, the course covers the science of being seen. Considering motorcyclists take up around the same visual area as their motorbike, learning how to become more conspicuous so that other road users see you is a great thing to understand.

Once you’ve completed a course, you’ll receive a certificate of attendance and possibly a small first aid kit, stocked with items you might need at this type of accident. It also includes a prompt card to help you remember what to do.

If you’d like to take a biker down course, but aren’t sure if they’re run in your area, contact [email protected]  for further details, or feel free to get in touch with us for more details about where and when you can get yourself onto one of these free first aid courses specifically for motorcyclists.


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