Road safety crash accident motorcycle focus bleeding ambulance ride paramedic
Most of the images in this article are from the ARRB seminar

Stop bleeding to save riders’ lives

Quick application of a proper tourniquet to stop bleeding could help save the lives of crashed riders, according to a two-time Australian Road Safety Awards finalist.

Janine Nicholas of the Rider Down motorcycle first-aid skills program says bleeding control is the single most important skill that will save lives of motorcyclists. 

“We know that the majority of injuries that occur to motorcyclists involved in an accident are to the arms and legs,” Janine says. 

“We also know that major blood loss is the leading cause of preventable death and that with the use of a tourniquet, we may have an opportunity to be saving many lives.”

She says Rider Down is licensed to teach the international Stop the Bleed campaign which was launched in the USA in 2013 by the Hartford Consensus. 

Training the trainers

Bleeding Rider Down
Janine teaches riders about first-aid

The Stop the Bleed component of Rider Down was this year commissioned by the National Institute of First Aid Trainers to train first-aid trainers around the country in the use of commercial tourniquets and haemostatic dressings.

“A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss in less than five minutes,” Janine says. 

“So no matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, it will always be the first person on the scene that will be able to quickly stop the blood loss.”

Rider Down has been training motorcyclists for the past two years in first-aid procedures, including Advanced Bleeding Control. 

The Rider Down program also includes skills such as accident scene management, patient assessment, emergency helmet removal (1 and 2 person/rescuer), dehydration and safe rehydration, and first-aid kits for motorcyclists.

Courses and costs

Most courses are organised by groups such as motorcycle clubs, Motorcycle Safety Week, the Defence Department, police and security companies.

Programs scheduled for open enrolment are listed on the Rider Down website.

Rider Down course:

1. 8½-hour First Aid Nationally Recognised unit of competency (HLTAID003 Provider First Aid) contextualised for the motorcyclist – $160.

2. 4½-hour workshop – $120.

Motorcycle clubs may qualify for a discount of up to 20% on training and equipment.

About Janine

Janine is the founder and managing director of MED Response Pty Ltd which owns Rider Down and offers a range of first-aid and pre-hospital education and services.

“I am an internationally certified emergency medical service (EMS) provider and educator with experience in Australia, North America and the Middle East,” the 25-year medical professional says.

Janine grew up in Tasmania and has been riding for “as long as I can remember, both on-road and off-road”.

She now lives in Western Australia and rides a BMW R1200 GS.

  1. Torniquets are a powerful and dangerous tool that can kill off a leg or an arm. A pressure bandage (or manually applying pressure) is a much safer option. Never apply a torniquet unless you believe it necessary to save a life from loss-of-blood. Remember to loosen/readjust regularly (15 minute intervals when I last studied), because it is easy to cause loss of a limb, especially riding in remote areas where help may not arrive quickly.
    If you’re not 100% clear on this, take a first-aid course.

    1. Dave – this is old information and no longer applies – also, the use of arterial tourniquets are not usually taught in first aid courses that’s why people need to undertake specialised training with qualified and skilled instructors. It is always life over limb but with the correct training and correct information, you will find that tourniquet application is the gold standard for major bleeding control and is the current Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation [ANZCOR] guideline.

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