NOTICE: This page is written by medical professionals solely for the use of NCC Ride Leaders in case of an emergency. If in doubt, immediately call 911 for professional assistance.
Accidents and emergencies may occur during any bike ride. NCC ride leaders should be prepared to take action, such as the steps described below.
As a leader, some of the initial steps for you to take if there is an accident are:
- Remain calm
- Attend to and assess the condition of the injured rider
- Assign leaders to:
- Direct traffic around the site
- Get all cyclists off the road
- Do not overwhelm the injured
- Get details of the accident from other riders
If necessary, call 911 and be prepared to:
- Describe the emergency
- Give the proper location (use your cue sheet or cellphone map app)
- Give 911 your cell phone #
- Listen to any instructions by the dispatcher
- Assess for any visible bleeding/bumps without moving the injured rider
- Ask the rider: “Do you have any pain and where?”
- Ask the rider: “Where are you?,” “What is your name?,” and “What month is it?”
- Hold up two fingers and ask “How many fingers am I holding up?”
If the injured rider has pain, assess further and evaluate the need for an ambulance. If the injured rider is unable to answer any of the above questions correctly, 911 should be called immediately. Always err on the side of caution; do not let the rider determine if help is to be called.
If emergency help is summoned, the rider is not to be moved at all and should be encouraged to stay still until help arrives. Under no circumstances should the rider’s helmet be removed or should they be given food, drink, or painkillers.
If it is determined that the rider is to be taken to the hospital, give the person who is accompanying them the rider’s emergency contact information and have that person get in touch with the emergency contact person once the location of the hospital is known. Also, have that person give you any details that they obtain at the hospital so that you can complete an accident report and inform the group of the situation.
IMPORTANT: If someone on your ride needs to take an ambulance to a hospital, one of the leaders should either go with them or ensure that another responsible rider goes with them in the ambulance unless it can be determined that the injured person’s family will meet them at the hospital. In the case of a serious injury, someone should accompany the rider to the hospital even if one of the family members says that they will come to the hospital. The person going to the hospital with the injured person will be the injured person’s “patient advocate.” The patient advocate should stay at the hospital until the logistics are taken care of. It is also the leader’s responsibility to ensure that the injured person’s bicycle is taken to a safe location. Many times the police will be able to take the bicycle to the police station where it can be picked up later, or the leader can ask a neighbor to hold onto it. Of course, the bike of the patient advocate must also be taken care of. The leader and patient advocate must also figure out a way to get the patient advocate and their bike home. Given all these responsibilities, it is clear why having a co-leader is highly recommended.