There are plenty of courses available to bikers to help them with improving riding skills, awareness and basic maintenance – you can join an IAM training course or sign-up for a Bikesafe workshop, for example.
However, one we recently joined was the Biker Down! course, which is aimed to give riders a basic understanding of first aid. The main objective from the free session is to give motorcyclists (and others who may be pillion or just interested in learning more) a bit of guidance as to what to do if you're first on the scene of an incident.
We attended the event at Shefford Community Fire Station, where the course is run by firefighters and is split up into three parts. By the end of the session you're taught:
- How to keep yourself safe
- How to call the emergency services (which may seem obvious, but, what happens if you're in the middle of the stix with no service?)
- The different typs of hazards at an RTC (Road Traffic Collision)
During our half-day with Biker Down! we also picked up some vital knowledge on basic first aid, including:
- The principle of a two-person motorcycle helmet removal
- The information medical professionals would like to receive
- The meaning of D-R-C-A-B (Danger, Response, Catastrophic Bleed, Airway, Breathing
When taking part in a full, advanced casualty assessment course, the full acronym is:
- D - Danger
- R - Response
- C - Catastrophic Bleed
- A - Airway
- B - Breathing
- C - Circulation
- D - Disability
- E - Exposure
What are fire bikes used for?
Earlier in the year we were paid a visit from several Fire and Safety bikers, some retired and some still in service, to raise awareness about the fire bikes and Biker Down!
Speaking to MCN, Gary Willoughby, Community Safe Watch Manager South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: "In South Yorkshire we don't use our bikes for operational incidents, our bikes are purely for road safety education. We may use them on what we call KSI (killed and seriously injured) routes to try and help slow traffic down.
"We also use our bikes to raise awareness to other bikers and show them you can ride a big bike at the speed stated on the road."
Gary, like many of the other bikers who visited the MCN office, doesn't tend to have a particular rota in which he rides his fire bike or runs a Biker Down! course. They simply do it in their spare time, all-year round.
Top 3 tips to keeping you safer on the road
- Stick to the speed limits
- Be aware of the hazards around you
- Look ahead and plan how you would react in certain incidents
Gary also spoke to us about introducing more into car-licence tests about motorcyclists, cyclists and even lorry awareness.
"I think some services in London are trialling courses where they'll get a cyclist and put them into a cab of a lorry and a lorry driver onto a bicycle, so that each gains more perspective of what the other person would be seeing and doing on the road," Gary said.