Monday, January 17, 2011

What Would You Do?

I've been riding a motorcycle, off-and-on, since I was 18. That's when I got my motorcycle license and bought my first bike (a Honda 250 Rebel). I only rode for a few years. Then, in late 2000, I bought my second bike (a Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic). I've been riding, on a recreational basis, ever since.

I am a careful rider and have been extremely lucky. But I often wonder what I would do if I or my husband, my riding partner, went down. I don't obsess over it or anything. However, it's hard not to think about sometimes.

What would you do if you witnessed a motorcycle accident? I mean, really? Would you have a clue? I wouldn't. And I think it's about time for that to change.

Vicki demonstrates how to safely remove a full face helmet.
I met an interesting woman at the International Motorcycle Show in Washington, DC yesterday. Vicki Roberts-Sanfelipo, founded the non-profit organization Accident Scene Management, Inc. in 1996 "in order to reduce injuries and fatalities to motorcyclists through First Response training."

Let's face it, in even a low-speed crash, chance of injury is pretty high. A collision at a moderate speed is almost certain to cause significant trauma.

If the first responders, usually other riders or chance bystanders, don't know the proper steps to take, they can actually cause more damage. When/how do you moved the downed rider? Is CPR the best thing to do? What if you need to open an airway? How do you safely remove a full face helmet?

Vicki is a Registered Nurse. She'd been trained to handle trauma victims when they arrived at the hospital, but as a rider herself, she realized that she'd never been trained on how to handle victims of motorcycle trauma. So she decided to figure out how to handle victims of motorcycle accidents AND how to train others to do the same thing.

ACMI has instructors in 28 different states and even Australia. If you have a group of people interested in the class, the instructor may be able to come to your location.

You definitely want to take a friend. After all, what if you are the one who goes down? You'd like your riding partner and other riders around you to know how to react, right?

For more information, visit the ASMI Web site at

And while you're thinking about safety, check out this  "You and Your Motorcycle - Riding Tips" Motorcycle Safety Foundation guide. It's a must-read for beginner riders, and it wouldn't hurt experienced riders to have a look, too. One can never be too careful, right? It's available in a downloadable PDF version. It's a small, illustrated, easy-to-read booklet full of tips to help keep you and your riding buddies safe.


Tiff said...

I am glad you shared this I am going to pass it along to Jason, my husband who rides often and is in two motorcycle groups that plan rides.
Many years ago Jason was involved in a motorcycle accident when a van made a illegal U-turn in front of him and he went through the van. Two ladies saw and came running over and immediately tried to move him, lucky for him there was another lady there that was a nurse and quickly shooed the two of them away, who knows how much more damage they could have done to him!

ToadMama said...

Tiff, if he does get a class together for his group, let me know. Mike and I are definitely going to do this, but there aren't any classes scheduled locally that I can tell yet. We don't belong to any riding groups, so having an instructor come to us wouldn't work. Just watching her carefully remove the full face helmet from this big guy without moving his head at all was quite impressive.

Shybiker said...

Very important post. Accidents happen and we should know how to handle them.

I used to belong to a large motorcycle club which went on weekly group runs. After a few minor accidents were made worse by how people reacted (e.g., standing in traffic), I insisted we learn how to deal with those situations. As president of the club, I arranged for us to have guest-speakers on the topic and they taught us much.

The most common thing you'll see in most minor accidents is the rider who fell will jump up and insist he's alright. Often, he isn't but is acting on adrenaline and shame. It's important to check him out thoroughly for injuries before allowing him to continue. Many injuries worsen by being ignored.

ToadMama said...


I really was quite impressed with Vicki and her organization, hence the post. I'm glad to see you agree and that you took action upon yourself in the past. Traffic handling is one of the things ASMI teaches, too. It was interesting to read comments on their Web site from former students who put their learnings into practice in various ways. Now I just need to figure out where/how to get Hubby and me signed up. :-)

Fuzzygalore said...

Unfortunately I've been at the scene of quite a few motorcycle accidents over the years. They've run the gamut of being minor incidents resulting in bruised egos and some roadrash, to broken bones and concussions, to a head on with a Jeep, and the most scarring that has changed me forever - witnessing 2 instant fatalities.

I've never taken an accident scene mgmt class, but I would benefit from it.

My uneducated experience so far has been to have someone control the traffic around the accident so no one gets run over or a car doesn't collide with a downed bike or something. One of the most important things I've tried to remember is… DON'T PANIC. I've never removed a rider's helmet and have always tried to keep them calm & stationary until qualified help comes.

This is a great post and a great service that Vicki provides.

ToadMama said...

Fuzzy, that all sounds horrible. I cannot imagine seeing that. But it could happen. We all know how those other drivers are. Not to mention gravel patches, oil slicks, downed limbs, etc. Traffic control is definitely part of the program. Helmet removal is ONLY recommended if the victim is having a hard time breathing. As Vicki explained, we've all heard the "never remove a victim's helmet" adage, but if the victim is wearing a full face helmet, removal to establish an airway (which she also teaches) may be the difference between life and death. Proper removal is what we all need to see.