Motorcycle First Aid

Motorcycle First Aid Tips

Written by | 03 Jul 2017

Riding a motorcycle can be as high risk as any extreme sport so it’s important every rider knows Motorcycle First Aid. The high velocity involved in riding a motorcycle can lead to life threatening injuries such as head, spinal, severe wounds, fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains and loss of consciousness.

According to the Transport Accident Commission 4% of registered vehicles in Victoria are motorcycles. However, 15% of lives lost on the road were motorcyclists or motorcycle passengers. In addition to that 17% of people hospitalised from road accidents were also motorcyclists or their passengers.

Motorcycle accidents are high impact and can cause serious damage. They require immediate First Aid assistance and its critical Motorcycle First Aid is provided correctly in those first few minutes following an accident. Follow our tips on how to provide Motorcycle First Aid to ensure you provide the right care in an emergency.

Head Injuries

A head injury can be very serious so it’s important you observe and monitor the casualty thoroughly. At times head injuries can be hard to detect, especially if you did not witness the accident. If any of the below signs and symptoms are present treat the casualty as if they have suffered a head injury.

Motorcycle First Aid - Head Injury Signs and Symptoms

Always follow the DRSABCD action plan.

Conscious Casualty Unconscious Casualty

DRSABCD

DRSABCD

Help lie the casualty down in a relaxed position with their head and shoulders slightly raised

Move casualty into the recovery position supporting the head and neck.

Open, check and clear the airway

Be careful not to twist or bend the casualty’s head, neck, spine or back as they may have a spinal injury

Control bleeding by applying sterile pads or dressings to the wound

Do not apply pressure directly on the wound if there is evidence of a depressed fracture

If any blood or fluids appear from the casualty’s ear softly position a sterile dressing to drain  (lie on side if possible to allow fluid to drain)

Ensure the casualties airway remains open by lifting the chin if face badly injured (do not force)

Watch breathing patterns

 

Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance

 

 

 

 

 

Control bleeding by applying sterile pads or dressings to the wound

Do not apply pressure directly on the wound if there is no evidence of a depressed fracture

If any blood or fluids appear from the casualty’s ear softly position a sterile dressing to drain (lie on side if possible to allow fluid to drain)

Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance

Read our head injury first aid article to learn more.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal Injury Signs and Symptoms

Spinal injuries are severe and must be treated with care. It’s important that the casualty is not moved unless in danger. You must try and keep the neck and spine neutrally aligned. However, the casualty’s airway and breathing is the highest priority so if necessary to assist breathing move into recovery position.

Conscious Casualty Unconscious Casualty

DRSABCD

DRSABCD

Ensure the casualty is as comfortable as possible by loosening any tight clothing around the neck

Move into recovery position cautiously

Support the head and neck to keep alignment with spine

Encourage the casualty not to more. Strictly do not remove the casualty unless in danger

Ensure the casualty’s airway is clear and open

To prevent further damage, align the head and neck with the spine and hold in place or find other means of support

To prevent further damage align the head and neck with the spine and hold in place or find other means of support

If ambulance is not due to arrive in a timely manner apply a cervical collar if you have access to one and are trained to do so

Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance

If ambulance is not due to arrive in a timely manner apply a cervical collar if you have access to one and are trained to do so

Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance

Removing a Casualty’s Motorcycle Helmet

In the case of a motorcycle accident the casualty is likely to be wearing a helmet. Helmets should never be removed unless deemed completely necessary and performed by two people. Do NOT remove the helmet if there is only one person or they not confident to do so correctly.

When a casualty is wearing a helmet it’s important to confirm their airway is clear. If they are wearing a half face helmet or full face helmet with a chin piece that lifts up, the helmet can remain on the casualty. However, the chin strap must be detached or cut to ensure the casualty can breathe comfortably.

If a casualty is wearing a helmet you must:

  1. Be very cautious of potential head, neck and spinal injuries. Position them on their side whilst providing support to the head and neck. Avoid any twisting during movement to avoid causing any additional damage.
  2. If two people are available, one person should support the head and neck, whilst the other should remove the chin strap
  3. One person must hold the helmet in position whilst cautiously tipping the helmet back, passing over the chin
  4. Then cautiously tip the helmet forward, passing over the back of the head
  5. Repeat and continue this process to completely remove the helmet from the casualty’s head
  6. Be mindful of the casualty’s ears and nose as the helmet could catch these areas and cause damage
  7. Position the helmet directly next to the casualty and provide to ambulance personnel upon arrival

Fractures and Dislocations

Signs and symptoms include:

  • pain at or near the site of injury
  • difficult or impossible to move normally
  • loss of strength in area, deformity or abnormal mobility
  • tenderness, swelling, discolouration and bruising

Fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains can be difficult to distinguish for First Aiders. If you are unsure always treat as a fracture.

Fractures Dislocations

DRSABCD

DRSABCD

If there is bleeding, control and cover. Avoid applying pressure directly on the fracture site.

Under NO circumstances should you try and reduce or reset the dislocation

Check if there are any other fractures caused

If it is a limb injury:

1.       Check for circulation in affected area. If there is no circulation softly reposition the limb to try and restore circulation

2.       Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance

3.       Support the limb with bandaging and padded products

4.       Directly position icepacks over the area

Ask the casualty not to move

 

 

If it is a shoulder injury:

1.       Position the arm in the least painful position for the casualty.

2.       Apply ice compress

Immobilise the fracture by applying wide bandages at the joints above and below the fracture.

1.       Carefully wrap bandages around the body part to provide support

2.       Position a padded splint along the injury

3.       Position padding between the splint to fill any gaps and prevent any movement

4.       If it is a leg fracture you must restrict movement of the foot and ankle

5.       In 15 minutes intervals you must confirm the bandages are not too tight or too loosely applied

If it is a wrist injury:

1.       Support the wrist in a sling

2.       Apply ice compress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monitor circulation in the foot and hand to ensure the bandages are not too tight

Handle casualty with care

Keep a constant watch on the casualty

Seek medical assistance

 

St John Sling

                                                                      The St John Sling

Sprains and Strains

Signs and Symptoms
Sprains Strains

Intense pain

Sharp, sudden pain in the region of the injury

Restricted joint movement

Sharp, sudden pain on any movement of the muscle

Joint swelling

Loss of power to the affected limb

Rapid bruising

Tender muscle

When providing First Aid for sprains and strains:

  1. Follow DRSABCD
  2. Follow R.I.C.E. Management plan below
  3. Seek medical advice

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Motorcycling is a popular form of transport and hobby for many Victorians. Unfortunately motorcyclists are at risk of serious injuries if an accident occurs.

It is important that every motorcyclist takes the appropriate precautionary steps before getting on their bike. Appropriate helmets, protective clothing and durable footwear should always be worn. However, sometimes accidents occur and First Aid is required. By following the Motorcycle First Aid Tips you will be fully prepared in the case of an emergency.