Road traffic collisions are Magpas Air Ambulances most attended incident type after medical emergencies. Of which, 22% of the patients treated are injured in motorcycle incidents.
It’s no secret that motorcyclists are more at risk of being involved in a road traffic collision, and of suffering serious injuries if an incident occurs. That’s why Magpas Air Ambulance is proud to work with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service to provide the uniquely tailored first aid course: Biker Down.
As a motorcyclist himself, Magpas Air Ambulance Doctor Luke Staveley-Wadham is almost as passionate about this initiative as he is bikes! So we sat down with him to find out more…
Luke lives in the Tamar Valley, Devon, with his family and has extensive pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM) experience, including working in the military; pre-hospital-oriented fellowships overseas; educational projects both in the UK and internationally and lots of observer placements. These fuelled his passion to secure a national PHEM training post, which provided him with the opportunity to work for Magpas Air Ambulance earlier this year.
So Luke, how and when did you get into motorcycles?
I started riding motorbikes in my early twenties and since then I have spent years travelling on bikes all-year round to hospital placements across the country—which for many years involved covering well over 15,000 commuting miles per year.
What motorbikes have you ridden in the past, what’s been your favourite?
When I first started riding it was on sports bikes, which included a Suzuki GSXR and Kawasaki Ninja. After many winters spent commuting I then moved onto adventure bikes, including a BMW F800 GS and Triumph Tiger 800 XR, with my most recent bike a BMW 1200 GS Adventure. My favorite bike to date was one of the first-generation BMW F800GS!
Motorcycle accidents are fairly common incidents within the world of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), how do you find this being someone who rides motorbikes yourself?
Whenever I get onto a motorbike, I always try to take a moment to acknowledge the greater element of risk that comes with riding one. Working in HEMS has graphically served to reinforce this respect and ongoing awareness of the possible consequences of riding motorbikes.
Have you ever witnessed a motorcycle incident while not on duty?
Yes, I have witnessed numerous motorbike incidents over the years, and during my medical training I have assisted in the initial phases of accidents, as well as stopped to help the emergency services at the scene.
Why are schemes like Biker Down so important? What do they entail?
Biker Down is an absolutely tremendous scheme. It equips participants with some of the essential core skills to ensure initial scene safety and management, appropriate lifesaving skills and a greater understanding of some of the risks posed to motorcyclists and importantly how to mitigate against them. The course is highly interactive and covers three core modules; incident scene management, casualty care and ‘the thinking biker’. On completion, participants receive a certificate, a very useful aide memoire and a medical data carrier (or ‘crash card’).
Why would you recommend motorcyclists to complete one of these courses?
I highly recommend completing a Biker Down course! Unfortunately motorcycle incidents are common and often result in extremely serious if not fatal consequences. Biker Down will provide you with the knowledge and skills to initially manage not just the scene, but also the casualty—which will provide reassurance to all those initially attending a motorbike accident, and may even save someone’s life!
If you’re a motorcyclist who wants to find out what to do if you witness a fellow rider have an accident, find out more and book onto a Biker Down course now.