Some Statistics reveal the importance of Safety Awareness and First Aid.
Motorcyclists are over-represented in the fatal and serious injury statistics.
Between 2003 and 2012 motorcyclists made up 13% of those killed or seriously injured in Western Australia.
From 2003 to 2012, almost half (45%) of the fatal or serious injury motorcycle crashes occurred in 50 km/h and 60 km/h zones.
91% of riders involved in fatal or serious injury crashes were male.
76% of riders involved in fatal or serious injury crashes were aged 25 years or older.
Between 2003 and 2012 there were 3,662 crashes where at least one motorcyclist was killed or seriously injured. Of these, 59% were multiple-vehicle crashes and 41% were single-vehicle crashes.
Nationally in 2012, there were 118.5 motorcycle fatalities per billion kilometres travelled. In the same year there were 3.8 driver fatalities for the same distance covered. This makes motorcycle travel 31.3 times riskier.
The Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre (C-MARC) has developed an Improving Motorcycle Safety in a Safe System fact sheet which provides an overview of the motorcycle safety problem in Western Australia, and describes some countermeasures to improve motorcycle safety.
Curtain Monash Accident Research Centre
Fact Sheet No 13.
Improving Motorcycle Safety in a Safe System.
St John’s first aid tips
Like any high velocity sport, riding a motorcycle has the potential to cause multiple and life threatening injuries including head, neck and back injuries, heavy blood loss, severe burns and unconsciousness.
In a situation where an individual is seriously injured, skilled and immediate first aid can be the difference between survival and death.
With all serious injuries sustained by motorcyclists, these factors are vital for survival: ability to breathe effectively, stopping all blood loss, protection of the head, neck and back, and the quick arrival of medical attention.
These are all achievable by a skilled and confident first aider.
Casualties wearing helmets
A full-faced helmet should only be removed if the injured rider does not have a clear airway and cannot breathe. In all other circumstances the helmet should remain in place unless the rider chooses to remove it him/herself. In the situation where a casualty requires expired air resuscitation and is wearing a full-faced helmet, the helmet must be removed by at least two people.
The first person must ensure that the head and neck are completely stabilised and supported to avoid any further damage. The second person must carefully remove the helmet in a way that minimises all movement to the head and neck.
Once the helmet has been removed, the first aiders can perform expired air resuscitation.
Casualties encased in leathers
Bleeding wounds can be hidden from view or disguised by riding leathers. Often the puncture made in the leathers is not a true indication of the severity of a wound. Heavy and life-threatening blood loss requires that the wound be exposed to the first aider so that direct pressure can be applied with bandages or clothing.
In the case of motorcyclists wearing leathers it is vital that the leathers be removed from the wound. This may require the leathers to be torn or cut away with shears, scissors or a knife.
Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound with bandages or clothing. If possible, elevate the bleeding part above the level of the chest and keep the injured person as still as possible.
In the event of an accident, it is possible that a rider can be trapped underneath his/her bike. Extreme heat from exhausts and engine parts can be conducted and contained in leathers, burning the rider.
For all burns it is vital to expose the wound and cool it with running water until the affected area returns to a normal temperature.
Remove clothing if possible from the burnt area. If it is stuck, cut around it; don’t attempt to pull it off.
Remove jewellery to prevent restricting circulation due to swelling.
Protect the burnt area with a sterile or non-stick dressing or closely woven material.
St John DRABC action plan
When you come across an accident follow the St John DRABC action plan to effectively manage casualties and the accident scene.
The first thing to do is to direct someone to call 000 for an ambulance.
Check to see if it is safe to approach the injured person.
Check if the person is conscious or unconscious. Shake them lightly and shout to them. If they don’t respond they are unconscious.
The airway must be protected, roll them onto their side, being aware that their neck may be injured and needs to be stabilised whilst they are being rolled.
Once on their side check that the mouth is clear of any obstructions such as blood or vomit and make sure that they are breathing.
Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure with bandages or clothing. If possible, elevate the bleeding part above the level of the chest. Keep the injured person as still as possible by packing clothing and equipment around them to prevent movement to the spine and any broken bones.
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