No matter how much experience you have in cycling, accidents can happen to us or to someone we’re cycling with. So it’s good to have some first aid basic notions, so we know what to do while waiting for professional help.
First and foremost, it’s important to isolate the area and immobilize the cyclist until professional help arrives. Of course, first aid starts even before an accident, with preventive measures, like letting someone else know about your route in case you’re cycling alone, using every safety equipments available, and caring for your bike’s maintenance.
1. In case of an accident, remain calm
Both for you and for who’s injured, it’s fundamental to keep calm, and not do anything before thinking carefully. Examine the victim and try to comfort him or her. If the victim can move and stand up by himself, that’s a good sign. Otherwise, there may be a serious injury, in which case you shouldn’t move him and instead call 112 (our national emergency number). Marking the location is also important – try to make a warning sign as to prevent further accidents.
2. Check the vitals
It’s important to thoroughly check the victim’s vital signs. Ask him where it hurts, and gather all possible information, such as age, name, address and telephone, as these are very important for professional help. If the victim is unconscious, check their breathing and pulse, always trying not to move him.
On small bleeding cuts, it’s enough to disinfect and cover the wound with a band-aid. For big cuts that keep bleeding, the most effective way to stop it is to apply pressure on the wound. If even doing this you can’t stop the bleeding, elevate the limb or surround it in a piece of cloth, pressing down on the bleeding, and releasing the blood flow for a minute every fifteen minutes.
4. Fractures and head wounds
If the victim has a fracture, you shouldn’t move him at all. Don’t try to realign the limb as it must remain immobilized. What you can do to help is to improvise a splint using pieces of wood and cloth. In case of a serious head wound, never let the victim fall asleep – always try to keep him conscious until a rescue team arrives.
The victim should remain lying down, and the lower limbs should be raised 30cm above the body. The head should be tilted on its side as to prevent the tongue for blocking the airways, and clothes should be loosened. Try to moisten the victim’s head and neck, but don’t ever offer him liquids.
If you follow all these directions, you’ll assure the victim is kept safe until professional help arrives. The same goes for yourself, in case you fall on a ride alone (which we advise against).
Riding a bike is a wonderful activity, as our tours surely prove, but never skip on safety. Preventing an accident is always better!
Happy cycling 🙂