100% Biker 211

100% Biker 211
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Although you may be familiar with its yellow and blue logo, not everyone is sure quite what the Biker Down programme is all about. It is, in short, a Good Thing.

Biker Down was started by Jim Sanderson, a firefighter with the Kent Fire and Rescue Service who, as well as having ridden bikes for years, is both a DSA motorcycle instructor and a road traffic collision instructor. The idea of Biker Down came about after he happened upon the scene of a serious bike crash while off-duty and realised that he automatically relied upon his fire service training. Reflecting on that later, he also realised that many people wouldn’t have the benefit of that training and knowledge and that, given that folk often ride together, those most likely to be first on the scene of a motorcycle accident would be other bikers.

So, along with Kent Fire and Rescue Service, he set about creating a course which would be specifically for bikers and that became Biker Down. None of us ever knows quite how we would react and cope on the scene of a serious accident, particularly one involving a motorcycle, until it actually happens, and Biker Down is designed to give people the tools and confidence to deal with that first response.

The Biker Down course is divided into three sections. The first involves incident scene management and sees members of one of the many FireBike teams—the nationwide Fire Brigade project to improve rider and road safety—take people through what they might expect at the scene of an accident, advising how to protect the casualty and to manage the scene. The second part is delivered by qualified life support instructors with motorcycle first aid-specific expertise, and covers trauma and mechanism of injury, basic life support, CPR, managing spinal injuries, as well as the perennial questions and difficulties around removed a helmet on a victim. Finally, a session deals with how to be seen while on a bike without wearing a complete luminous high-visibility cat suit!

The initial Biker Down scheme in Kent proved to be such a success that it has been adopted across the United Kingdom with more than 25 teams operating the course. The rather wonderful thing is that neither Jim Sanderson nor the Kent Fire Brigade had to do this, but, as in many other counties, motorcycle riders form a frighteningly large percentage of Kent’s road traffic casualties. Despite being just 1% of all road users, bikers constitute 25% of deaths or serious injuries on the county’s roads. The fact that Kent’s fire service decided to both create and implement a course aimed at bikers should be admired and applauded.

And the price of this course? Nothing. It’s absolutely free; all you have to do is book a place by contacting your local Fire and Rescue Service or visiting the Biker Down Facebook page. It will take just three hours of your life; it could save someone else’s.