2011-02-11 - Rider Down, Richmond: How to help?

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  • So I've just had to help my best friend who was clipped by a car in Richmond today (nothing serious, just a pringled rear wheel, and bumps and grazes) but I felt completely useless.

    I know exactly how she felt, shaken up, and rather pissed off (SMIDSY), and nothing I said was getting through (which I totally understand, having been exactly the same myslef), so I've come here instead to talk to the internet!

    What do people find helps most to relax/de-stress others, or in this situation, what have others done for you that has made a big(any?) difference?

  • Have a look at the "What to do in case of an accident"

    Immediately:

    1. Check how the rider is.

    2. If necessary call ambulance.

    3. Administer what first aid you can/ is appropriate.

    4. Ensure witnesses including driver stay at scene.

    5. Photograph what you can.

    6. Note number plate of car.

    7. Get names and contact details of witnesses.

    8. Ensure police are called.

    9. Comfort rider.

    10. As soon as you can, make a note of all you have seen.

    Generally, much will depend on particular circumstances. Priority is health and safety of rider. Then evidence to assist claim.

  • Have a look at the "What to do in case of an accident"

    Ah sorry, was unclear- I have seen that thread (and used it myself a couple of times), I meant more in the emotional aftermath of how to help someone deal with a minor accident which has shaken them up

  • Sorry for my misunderstanding although sometimes taking control of the situation can relieve the individual concerned.

    Much will depend on the circumstances and your relationship with the rider. Giving a hug might not go down too well with a burly stranger.

  • Giving a hug might not go down too well with a burly stranger.

    haha true. Think I might have just been venting my own feeling of impotence. THANK YOU INTERNETS!

    :p

  • Learn first aid. Also...

    I always carry a road rash kit on my commute. Nothing complex, just some iodine spray, some large swabs and a few crepe bandages. Get them to sit down while you assess them. Weirdly, sitting down separates you from what just happened and creates an artifical feeling of privacy.

    I've never had to use them for myself but I've patched up a few people who have had low speed offs without other vehicle involvement. You tend to find that if somebody is going to go into shock, they normally do before you've finished chatting away and have wrapped them up.

    I find that delaying somebody a few mins is normally enough to prevent them jumping back on their bike out of embarassment and bursting into tears further down the road (which I've also seen a few times). If you can lay your hands on a hot sugary drink, this can be really comforting/therapeutic if shock is on the cards.

    As I said, for minor situatuions only (heaven forbid I have to use the swabs for something more serious one day.

  • Oh and not rushing in helps. People don't like their space invaded after a prang. Just sit back and chat away until the adrenaline starts to wear off.

    And of course, if somebody really doesn't want to accept help just keep an eye on them from a distance until you are sure they are fine.

  • It's a good idea for a thread, Tim. Clive and Stonehedge have said most of what needs to be said, so here's some overlapping input:

    You help by taking control of the situation if you need to. If the person say they're OK when they're clearly injured or their bike is clearly damaged and they don't notice, insist on helping (or do it, anyway).

    Try to gather as much info as you can, as per the list above. If in doubt whether someone else might be doing it, do it, too. It obviously depends on how much you want to, or can get involved.

    Keep a duplicate of the info even if you hand it over to police, say.

    You can also inform them that under the influence of an adrenaline rush, their judgement might be impaired, but like your friend they might not notice that if their judgement is too impaired.

    I'm sure that many more tips will come, also based on personal experience of such incidents, and it would be good if you could edit the OP with what you think is useful to know.

  • And this should then be made a sticky.

  • I've been in this situation and similar and find that your tone of voice can be an invaluable tool in calming people.

    When standing, or sitting, face to face people tend to mirror the person opposite so slow gentle movements and a calm tone of voice can bring someones heart rate down and ease the heightened emotions that come with coming off.

    It can be harder then it sounds, especially if the histrionics set in.

  • For clarity on an above comment about offering a hot, sugary drink - don't do that if there've been any blows to the head. Don't offer pain killers of any sort. You don't know the person's medical history and allergy status. Wait for EMTs to offer any of that after taking vitals.

    But low tone of voice is a definite godsend in this type of situation. Another great thing is if the person is panicking, make them look you in the eyes and match breaths with them. Ask them to breathe in for six counts and out for six counts. Take as long as it needs to get them to do this, and you may have to repeat it if they begin panicking again. Keeping up a low, steady stream of words usually helps to sort of blanket them in sound and something to concentrate on.

  • If they are still lying in the road, it would be a great comfort to reassure them that their bike is safe. My friend’s bike was propped up against a car by a passer by and immediately run over.

  • For clarity on an above comment about offering a hot, sugary drink - don't do that if there've been any blows to the head. Don't offer pain killers of any sort. You don't know the person's medical history and allergy status. Wait for EMTs to offer any of that after taking vitals.

    +1 for that. I'd only offer a drink to somebody who had clearly just lost some skin and shaken themselves up a bit.

  • this is a great post.. excellent advice people..

    +1 on learning first aid everyone on the planet should know at least the very basic stuff, some of it just common sense.. carrying some essentials as stonehedge suggests, it doesn't take up much room in your bag for commute.

    cheers
    al

  • great thread.

    in one of my cases recently, i was taking a statement from a witness of a cycle accident. he had cycled up to the accident a few minutes after it happened and i was really impressed with how he dealt with the situation. he had done first aid training so was able to make an initial assessment of the injuries and felt it was safe to take her out of the road. then he took the driver to one side and wrote down his details, and asked for some info about how the accident happened. then he went to the injured lady and gave her the driver's details along with his number if she needed a witness. he then cycled to the lady's house to tell her husband about the accident, and to let him know which hospital she was in. I could not have been more impressed!

    also, from personal experience, the last person you want to see when you've been in an accident is whoever caused the injuries! so maybe try and seperate the cyclist and whoever else was in the accident.

  • Yes, the red mist can descend too.

    I remember clearly watching a good friend totally accidentally break a girls nose with overenthusiastic dancing at carnival one year. He felt awful for doing it and tried to comfort her but lets just say that pain and anger is can often the initial response, regardless of blame. Allowing both parties breathing space can be key.

  • And this should then be made a sticky.

    totally agree. A

  • Yes, and it falls to Tim to put all this useful advice into a usable format in the OP. :)

  • And of course, if somebody really doesn't want to accept help just keep an eye on them from a distance until you are sure they are fine.

    this...I got doored a couple of months ago and was all "don't worry about me, I'm fine etc etc" despite having a pretty vicious head injury.

    The guy who picked me up out of the road could see I was refusing to be sensible and sit quietly for a bit so when I sniffled that I was going to walk to my fella's just round the corner he said that if I insisted on walking anywhere he was coming with me.

    It was only 5 or 10 minutes but he wouldn't go until he deposited me with my bf. Kindness of strangers certainly goes someway to helping!

  • Excellent post. I am always wondering what I would do if I were to come across a situation like this. I think learning first aid is a must for everyone not just people who feel that their choice of transport for the commute puts them in a higher risk bracket.

    Regardless of blame for either cyclist, ped or driver you have a duty to ensure victims of accidents you are involved in are cared for properly

  • I cannot tell you enough how reassuring it is to know first aid. Chances are you will never need to use it but sometimes life can throw the odds slightly...I've had to use it three times from a heart attack in the office to a ped hit by a car requiring CPR.

    As a keen mountaineer, I try to make sure I can do as much as possible for an injured climber given that help can take time to arrive. As a cyclist, it is different. It is unlikely that the victim will have to wait long for professional help so our focus should be on ensuring the safety of the victim, others involved and controlling the situation rather than immediate life saving first aid.

    If the victim is female and refusing an escort home and you are male, you can sometimes convince a female rider or passerby to escort them to their home or office depending on where they were going. Depends on the situation and the individual really. And I suppose how trustworthy you look!

    Heres the contents of my mini first aid kit.

    It is tailored for road rash. Anything worse than that and I'd want a paramedic to be calling the shots.

    The savlon iodine spray is for myself really should I ever need it. Its great stuff for road rash.

    The rubber gloves are strictly not necessary. I'm not squeamish about blood etc but sometimes, in the unlikely situation that you are at the scene of a very serious accident and the emergency services are not there yet, it is sensible to try and ensure that further wound contamination does not happen should you need to stem bloodflow etc. I'm probably overcautious here but its a bit of a bee in my bonnet from some stuff I have seen and heard in the past. Yes, you theoretically could be protecting yourself from infections but this is more to do with the wellbeing of the victim.

    Not sure how the 50p crept into the photo but lets pretend that is for a cup of tea.

  • 50p is fopr a phone call isn't it, i'm sure that's why we had a 10p in our scouts first aid kit (well pre-mobile phones), last time i looked at a phone box 50p would just get you a quick call!

  • if you are interested i would suggest asking at work to pay for a HSE approved Emergency First Aid at Work Course. All workplaces must have staff that are trained properly, very useful i reckon.

    http://www.aid-training.co.uk/courses/Em­ergency-First-Aid-at-Work-Course.asp

    it would be great if every child was taught basic first aid as a life skill at school.
    Also i believe we should have a law where first aid kits must be carried in all vehicles as part of the MOT. I think this is the norm in Germany.

  • from experience, someone just holding your hand and being calm has an amazingly calming effect. also there was an off duty nurse talking to me, and just having someone just distract me was calming. she asked me loads of questions, like my name, where was i going, where did i work. anything to stop me thinking about what was currently happening to me. she also managed to get my phone out of my bag and call my mum (i couldn't remembed anyones number) and i was so pleased that as she did it she walked out of earshot - i knew my mum's reaction would not be great. apparently she also didnt give my mum any real details, just that I was involved in a collision with a lorry but was talking and paramedics were on their way. i think my mum would have had a nervoud break down if she had said i was crushed under the wheel.

    having someone in calm control of the situation makes a huge difference. also someone who is patient but firm with you when you try to do silly things that you shouldn't. you might get annoyed at the time, but after are so grateful. also someone to stop the driver doing somethign silly, even if they are trying to help. they are likely to be in shock and not functioning properly either.

  • Hey Jemjah

    Funnily enough, Pippa said exactly the same thing about having somebody there after her accident.

    I suppose the salient point is that even if you don't have any first aid skill at all, a bit of chit chat and hand holding goes a long long way.

    Unless of course the rider down is called Bruce and has a scraped knee. Probably a bit of overkill to hold his hand and tell him everything is going to be ok.

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2011-02-11 - Rider Down, Richmond: How to help?

Posted by Avatar for branwen @branwen

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