Nobody likes to think about it, but there are genuine risks in motorcycling. I believe that a full, rich life involves managing risk, not avoiding it or ignoring it. That’s why I carry a first aid kit on my motorcycle trips.
A motorcycle first aid kit is a little different than a general kit or a car kit. Minimizing size and weight are important considerations. A motorcycle first aid kit is more about stabilization than long-term treatment. Think about what it will take to deal with the likely injuries you may encounter during your trip. What can you carry that will give immediate remedy, and what can you leave behind?
RoadGuardians.org, a website devoted to accident scene management, has some good suggestions to help you figure out what to bring along in your kit. They identify five types of injuries you might encounter on the road (or experience yourself): burns; rye injuries; cuts, abrasions and scrapes; fractures; and trauma to the head, neck, spine chest and abdomen.
In response, they have put together a Motorcycle First Aid Checklist that includes:
- Nitrile gloves
- Anti-microbial Hand Cleaner
- Sting Relief & Burn Gel
- Antibiotic Ointment Packets
- Steri-strips or Butterfly bandages, Adhesive Sutures
- Large (4”x4”) Sterile Gauze Pads
- Rescue Breathing
- Emergency Blanket
- Sterile Saline (with a squirt tip for irrigating)
- Instant Cold Pack(s)
- Burn Cream or Gel
- Glow Stick(s)
- Heavy Duty Zip-lock Bags
- Sample Packets of Anti-Diarrhea Tablets, Anti-Acid, Antihistamine (like Benadryl or Claritin), Pain relievers, Electrolytes
- Triangular Bandage
- Trauma Shears
- 1 or 2 rolls of 2” or 3” Roll Gauze.
You can find motorcycle first aid kits online with a Google search, and they can be a quick start toward building an effective kit. Make sure that everything in the kit is essential and that you know how to use it – or else it’s just taking up space. Supplement with additional supplies as needed and make sure to keep it fresh. If you’re lucky, you may never need your first aid kit. But when you do need it, you want to make sure that your supplies are in good condition and ready to use.
Another essential first aid item to bring on every ride is a charged mobile phone. If you encounter a serious accident during your ride, unless you are trained in accident scene management or you’re a medical professional yourself, the first thing to do is to call for help. A 911 operator can connect you to expert help to assess injuries and recommend immediate action to take until the pros arrive.
Finally, knowledge is power. Consider taking a first aid course at your local Red Cross or YMCA. Learn about accident scene management. Take a CPR class (especially if you’re riding with an aging riding group). You’ll be much calmer and able to help if you know what to do in an emergency.
First aid kits are part of our mantra, All The Gear, All The Time (ATGATT). Ride safely, ride intelligently, and help others. Carry a good first aid kit, and you’ll be a very valuable asset to any motorcycle journey.