Ride, But Leave Danger Behind
Riding a motorcycle, like most thrilling activities,
comes with its own set of dangers. The Emergency Department at Wake Forest
Baptist Medical Center alone treated 166 motorcycle-related cases during fiscal
year 2013. Fifteen of those patients died from their injuries.
Bullard, M.S.N., R.N., performance improvement coordinator for trauma/burn services
at Wake Forest Baptist, says there are ways to minimize the risks
of motorcycle accidents.
who is passionate about both nursing and motorcycling, teaches motorcycle
safety classes throughout the Southeast. She shares the following tips to keep both
solo and group riders safe:
Be prepared for
anything to happen:
One of the best things you can do as a motorcyclist is run through different “what
if” scenarios before traveling, i.e. “What if a vehicle is at the intersection?”
and “What if a dog runs out in front of the motorcycle?”
Wear a helmet: Make sure it fits
well and meets Department of Transportation standards.
over-the-ankle shoes can prevent ankle/foot injuries. Long pants and sleeves,
particularly those that are armored and/or made out of leather, protect from sunburn
and can minimize road rash should an accident occur. Reflective gear helps other motorists spot you on the road.
Be aware of road and
Maintain safe speeds, exercise caution when approaching gravel or slick
surfaces and always carry rain gear.
Communicate: Before a ride,
inform someone that you are headed out, what route you plan to take, and when
you anticipate returning. Before a group ride, inform fellow motorcyclists of
any health problems you may have or medications you may take. This impacts
health care in the emergency setting should an accident occur.
Take a safety course:
new to motorcycling or experienced, consider taking a motorcycle safety course.
They are offered by community colleges, motorcycle dealers and law enforcement
agencies and will provide you with in-depth riding techniques that will enhance
your performance as a defensive driver.
Have a game plan: On a group ride, members
should know who is responsible for calling 911, directing traffic and administering
first aid in the event of an accident. The better the medical attention a
victim receives prior to the arrival of emergency responders, the better the
“Keep the two wheels
down,” Bullard said. “The feeling you get while riding is indescribable;
however, it can change in the blink of an eye.”