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First aid skills “as essential as a puncture repair kit” says charity

Who’s most likely to come to your aid if you fall off your bike? Other cyclists, according to St John Ambulance, which has just launched a first aid app aimed directly at cyclists and is encouraging cyclists to look out for each other by learning first aid.

St John Ambulance spoke to London road users and found that cyclists are nine times more likely than other road users to come to the aid of a cyclist, and respond at least three times quicker than motorists.

But if you have no first aid training, or your last course was a while ago and you’re a bit rusty, what do you do? The app gives you general emergency advice — handy as I for one can never remember what DRABC stands for — and specific advice for dealing with a range of common cycling injuries.

And best of all, it’s free.

The Android and iOS app was developed using the expertise of the charity’s medically trained staff and Cycle Response Unit. To run alongside this, St John Ambulance will also be organising cycle-specific first aid training across the country for cyclists.

The new app comes after the Department for Transport released figures indicating an overall rise in the number of cycling injuries. While the numbers killed and seriously injured were down, there were more minor injuries, and that’s where first aid can make a big difference.

Ashley Sweetland, National Cycle Response Unit Lead at St John Ambulance said: “Our app is specifically aimed at equipping the increasing numbers of cyclists across the country with first aid skills and should be as essential as a puncture repair kit.

“We know many cyclists have accidents on the road each year, sometimes resulting in injuries where first aid could have made a difference. As the nation's leading first aid charity, we want to ensure that the UK's cycling community is equipped with first aid knowledge, so that more cyclists can help where circumstances might need them.”

According to St John Ambulance, the most common injuries sustained by cyclists are to the limbs and head. Chest and abdomen injuries are less common but are often serious.

Limb injuries are common in cyclist casualties, with over 40% suffering arm injuries and around 25% suffering leg injuries.

Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries ranging from minor concussion and cuts to fatal skull fractures.

Chest and abdomen injuries account for just 5% of those seen by hospitals, but are often serious. When they do occur they are often accompanied by head injuries.

The app can be downloaded from Google Play and from Apple’s App Store.

St John Ambulance is partnering with on-site bicycle maintenance provider have bike for a cycling clinic at London’s City Hall on July 30 offering first aid training.

This writer has been very glad of his first aid training a couple of times. I can’t claim to have saved any lives, but I have managed to make injured riders more comfortable and stop them from bleeding all over everything. I’m quite glad I never needed the compression/immobilisation bandaging I used to carry in Australia in case of snakebite, though.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

12 comments

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shay cycles [346 posts] 2 years ago
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This is a good idea in general.

A bit dissappointing however that they've used a picture of someone washing a wound from a bottle at the roadside increasing the risk of infection.

If that wound were bleeding badly then stopping the bleeding is the priority, otherwise it doesn't need treatment from the first aider. If it is full of dirt, or it is a gaping wound then it will need professional attention.

Surey St John Ambulance know this stuff?

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shay cycles [346 posts] 2 years ago
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oops - sorry pressed Enter too many times!

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7thGalaxy [44 posts] 2 years ago
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"Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries ranging from minor concussion and cuts to fatal skull fractures."

I'd like to see these stats - I suspect that it's 40-45% of cyclists who are admitted to hospital have head injuries. The vast majority won't even need to go that far. Of those which do, a disproportionate amount will have head injuries.

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chadders [87 posts] 2 years ago
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How long till someone uses the app, gets it wrong then a law suit entails.

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fatbeggaronabike [838 posts] 2 years ago
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Chadders, you will not get sued for giving first aid/trying to help even if you get it wrong.

There have been cases in the past where people have tried to sue none of them (that I'm aware of) got to court.

I did my first aid with the British Red Cross who run some very good courses fortunately I haven't needed to put my skills to use on the road yet.

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Hasis [37 posts] 2 years ago
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"Chadders, you will not get sued for giving first aid/trying to help even if you get it wrong."

Indeed, and this week the likelihood got even more remote...

https://t.co/zJd9ZVWwmD

...although I fully admit to not being fully au fait with what "the court will take full account of the context" of heroic actions actually means.

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joemmo [1164 posts] 2 years ago
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the red cross first aid app is pretty good

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cube.rca&hl=en

and it has one of my favourite app reviews:

"Doesn't live up to expectations Since downloading this app I have not save anyone's life. For the next update I recommend GPS tracking of injured people to maximise heroism."

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I love my bike [171 posts] 2 years ago
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It would be nice to have a Windows Phone version as well.

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chadders [87 posts] 2 years ago
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Exactly the point, you have done first aid training, a lot of people haven't and will think they have a "knowledge" as they have the app. Knowing a little can be worse than knowing a lot!!
A knowledge of first aid is a life skill and should be promoted and an. app used as an add on

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Kim [239 posts] 2 years ago
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Talk about jumping on the band wagon! Surely first aid should be regarded as a life skill and not activity specific.

Then we get the usual nonsense about "Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries ranging from minor concussion and cuts to fatal skull fractures" with no analysis of the actual data. This aims to show cycling as being far more dangerous that it actually is. The reality is that over 90% of the quoted head injuries will be minor concussion and less than 5% will be serious. Then there is the cause of the serious head injuries, of which over 95% will be as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle. So you might as well say that all drivers should get first aid training to treat the victims of less careful drivers.

When are we going to see a pedestrian first aid app? I am sure a similar set of stats could be put forward pedestrians.

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leqin [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Kim wrote:

Talk about jumping on the band wagon! Surely first aid should be regarded as a life skill and not activity specific.

Then we get the usual nonsense about "Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries ranging from minor concussion and cuts to fatal skull fractures" with no analysis of the actual data. This aims to show cycling as being far more dangerous that it actually is. The reality is that over 90% of the quoted head injuries will be minor concussion and less than 5% will be serious. Then there is the cause of the serious head injuries, of which over 95% will be as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle. So you might as well say that all drivers should get first aid training to treat the victims of less careful drivers.

When are we going to see a pedestrian first aid app? I am sure a similar set of stats could be put forward pedestrians.

Could you please tell me your source for these percentage figures that you have quoted, only I would be really interested in further analysis of their original source. I understood the 'Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries ranging from minor concussion and cuts to fatal skull fractures' because that is NHS sourced data that is well known and thoroughly vetted by medical professionals, but the 'The reality is that over 90% of the quoted head injuries will be minor concussion and less than 5% will be serious. Then there is the cause of the serious head injuries, of which over 95% will be as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle' because I don't recognise those figures - link would be much appreciated.

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timfearn [40 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not sure if it still is the case, but a friend who took a first aid course in the US was advised by his instructor to make sure he learnt all the skills but to fail the test at the end so that he couldn't be sued if someone he administered first aid to died. That's pretty messed up.