Here is a write up of an incident I was involved in last week end. I intend submitting it to Canadian Biker so it is not my usual posting style.
The Sea-to-Sky Highway that stretches from West Vancouver to the ski slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb offers some of the loveliest scenery in BC. The wide sweeping road hugs the mountains and on a warm spring day, this route is a magnet for day trippers. If you’re going to dump your bike help will arrive quickly but no matter how fast people rush to the scene, no one can undo the damage if you are improperly prepared or experienced.
Headed south on a sunny Sunday evening I had just cleared one of the few pinch points on the route where the road narrows to one lane each direction when a bike passed me. He lost his front end and low-sided, skidding along the pavement on his back. By the time I caught up with him, he was standing but his bike was still heading toward Vancouver without him.
All the following vehicles stopped and a nurse got out of one and offered to help. Even though I have first aid training, I was happy to turn the situation over to her. Another motorcyclist and I moved the bike off the road. With a cracked crankshaft, oil and/or transmission fluid was hemorrhaging everywhere.
In the meantime the motorcyclist had taken a seat on the concrete barrier at the side of the road, in shock, with bloodied hands. Although he had been wearing full ATGATT, his gloves were not up to the test of a real spill.
Within minutes, an off-duty fireman offered his help and the nurse and I deferred to his expertise. Someone assured us that 911 had been called. The fireman did a quick physical check and had us help him lie down. Following a more detailed exam, the only damage determined was the severely bleeding hands so the helmet was removed. After we had the motorcyclist settled, an ER physician appeared and did a cursory exam as well.
I took the head support position which I held for forty-five minutes until the ambulance arrived. Unfortunately the person who had called 911 gave our location as being 10-15 kms north of where we actually were. The police, having spent time searching in the wrong area, arrived later still.
Before the ambulance arrived the rider had been offered assistance by: a first aider, a nurse, a fireman and an emergency doctor, a general sampling of the people who flock to this scenic route in fair weather. However no one could help the man’s bleeding hands – an injury that might have been prevented or minimized by better quality gloves.
1. If somebody says they have called 911 ask EXACTLY what was said – the wrong location could be the difference between life and death.
2. ATGATT is essential. If he had been wearing chaps he wouldn't have been sitting down when I got back to him and summer gloves offer minimal protection.
3. Carry some hand sanitizer gel.
4. Have a small first aid kit including a triangular bandage or two on your bike.
5. Learn basic first aid so you can offer meaningful help if you’re the only person there.
6. Carry a Spot Satellite GPS Messenger
– many of the best riding roads don’t have cell phone coverage.
I have emailed him since and his leathers wore through at several points, so just imagine what would have happened to denim or shorts.