Rider Know How – Motorcycle Accident Scene Management

“We need someone to play the victim”

It was the second half of the day’s Motorcycle Accident Scene Management (ASM) training and before I knew it, I had donned a helmet and splayed out on the floor doing my best impression of a disembarked motorcycle rider. Kneeling beside me, Ben Martinez, an Instructor with the Road Guardians, looked up at my Law Tigers colleagues/classmates and asked “Now what?”

There was a hesitation in the room.

A group of motorcycle riding medical professionals, the Road Guardians are a nonprofit organization that provides training classes to motorcycle clubs, businesses, and riding groups throughout the United States.Their offerings include a range of motorcycle first aid courses with an emphasis on response to two-wheeled accident scenes.

On this January day, just down the street from Law Tigers HQ in Phoenix, Arizona, our entire marketing team had been assembled to participate in a six-hour Basic ASM class captained by Teresa Martinez and her teammates Ben Martinez and Kris “Blinky” Hinson.

Teresa, “The Trauma Mama”, is a master’s prepared Certified Trauma Registered Nurse and enthusiastic rider who’s passion for motorcycling and 35 years in medicine add a real-world level of importance to the topics at hand. Through her matter of fact Chicagoan accent she spent the first half of the day expertly guiding us through the techniques that she’s personally employed in the field and neatly summed up in the classroom via the acronyms P.A.C.T. and A.B.C.S.S.

With her wisdom still echoing off of the conference room walls, I laid still on the carpet, arms mimicking that of a chalk outline, peering up through my scratched face shield at the dozen faces around me… waiting for them to react.

It was only a brief delay, but in that moment I began to empathize with a would-be accident victim’s uncertainty and asked myself, “Prior to this training, what would I have done as a first responder?”

The truth is – I’m not sure. Like many I suspect, I had never really thought about it.

Before I was able to reflect any further, my colleagues jumped into action. Leaning down next to my “wrecked” body and with sharp glances back and forth to instructor Ben they worked aloud through the acronyms that Teresa had expertly coached us through just hours before.

Prevent Further Injury

Assess The Situation

Contact EMS

Treat Injuries Using ABCSS (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Shock, Spinal Motion Restriction)

Circling through the class and we all took turns playing different roles. Eventually, I progressed from mock “victim” to impromptu accident scene manager and took command of the latest scene. Checking in on my “downed rider”, I moved through the PACT checklist and authoritatively ordered the faux “crowd” along the way. “You go and stop traffic!” “You call 911!” “You three, I need you here, here, and here!”

While some moderately advanced techniques including rescue breathing and helmet removal we’re practiced in today’s session, one of the most striking takeaways is that oftentimes, it’s not key life saving maneuvers that are needed when arriving upon an accident.

It’s someone with knowledge to bring calm to the chaos.

The simple acts of organizing a scene and ensuring that emergency medical services are called drastically improve the situation for an injured rider. It seems intuitive, but even in these practice scenarios, it’s easy to see how deference of action, out of confusion or otherwise,  can prolong an incredibly time sensitive situation.

As motorcycle riders, most of us relish the responsibility that our passion entails. We value the freedom that it offers us and the riding communities that we are part of.

Particularly in my role as a Law Tigers Marketing Manager, I find myself at literally dozens of motorcycle events each year. As a group, we support probably close to one thousand events from coast to coast and enjoy the special privilege of both helping to promote the riding community while facilitating riders safe involvement.

So, why not invest in training that supports that?

Reflecting on the impact of today’s class I tried to put into context how I might help someone should the worse happen on my next ride. Knowing what I know now, what would I do if a fellow rider went down?

Be the hero? That might be a stretch.

But maybe, just maybe I might be in a position to be someone’s road guardian.

About the Author: Derek Roberts has been riding motorcycles with adventure in mind for over a decade. His first long distance trip took him from Washington’s Olympia Peninsula,  to Guatemala, to Orlando Florida – One month after earning his endorsement. A self described motorcyclist of leisure, if there’s a back road with a good restaurant and no schedule to keep, you might just catch him passing through.