“First on the scene” event at Bridge Motorcycles, Exeter

On Wednesday I had to forgo my usual `st-roll` with Alison and Jack. My Wife and I had to go around the garages and look at different vehicles to find which one we feel is the most practical for us to apply for on the Motability scheme. We had a look on the intersmut to get ideas and wrote down the vehicles which looked promising. From here we went to Taunton to the various garages and looked at the vehicles which we had chosen to look at. Some we dismissed before we had even reached the doors as we simply did not like the look of them but there were a couple of vehicles that we were very interested in and decided to go in to the showrooms for help. We found out the various specs on the vehicles and I tried to get in and out of them. Although I must have looked very awkward getting in and out of the cars I did manage it, this is something that I will get better at in time, and would have been easier to learn if I had been taught but anyway there were three vehicles that it came down to. The decider would be the deposit. Having found out how much the deposits were it then meant that we had to decide which of the three would be the best to get. There is a £1000 difference between the three vehicle deposits so it is important to weigh up exactly what you are getting for the difference, one of the vehicles had been unavailable for us to view when we were at the garage but when we got home the garage called to let us know that one had come in and although it will not have been prepared for sale, we were more than welcome to come and view it. We had come down to two vehicles now and one of them was the vehicle that had just come in, it would be Friday before we could go back to view it though.

On Thursday evening we decided to walk over to Ilminster, my Mother in Law had never walked the length of the cycle path to Ilminster and had only gone half way and so it was decided that I would go with her and the two older kids while Wifey and `Pickle` drove to Ilminster and would walk back towards Chard where we should end up meeting about half way. My Mother in Law is looking after `Spyke` which is Tom’s dog while he and Danielle are away on a holiday and so this was an ideal walk for both `Spyke` and `Duke` which is our dog. I took the opportunity to work hard and not go at the slightly slower walking pace. I did wait for them to catch up occasionally especially when it was time to cross over the road to meet with the cycle path at Watery Lane. Having to get two kids and two dogs across the road would not have been fair for me to just leave my Mother in Law to do it although she is more than capable, I did not feel it fair. I had actually been seven minutes in front of them which was quite good, but I have to admit that my arms were appreciating the rest while I waited. We crossed over the road and almost immediately bumped in to my Wife and `Pickle`. We all headed towards Ilminster with me again pushing ahead for a workout. We arrived at the Stonemasons where the Chucklebus had been parked and as it was past tea time, we decided to have tea there. I may have overdone it somewhat on the push over, there were little white dots flying around and I felt quite light headed. I always carry a Mars bar with me in my bag in case I feel a bit drained and so opted for a cup of hot chocolate and the mars while I waited for tea to be served. Note to self; if you decide to go for a `st-roll` to Ilminster or any distance for that  matter, have lunch or something to eat during the day. The food was cracking as usual and after squaring the bill away, we loaded in to the Chucklebus and headed off back to the Bungalow. A really nice evening which was finished off by playing on the games console on line against my Brother.

Friday saw us return to the garage in Taunton to have a look at the vehicle that had come in. It is nice and exactly as the salesman had described. It ticked the boxes but having the reduced height will make quite a difference. And so, having seen the final vehicle we were at last down to one which ironically is the first vehicle that we had enquired about some months ago. All that remains now is to wait to hear back from a department who we have sent paperwork to and then we can order the car. Unfortunately for us (and anyone else able bodied or not who wants one of these cars), we are unlikely to see it for some time as they are closing the factory where they are made and relocating it to Spain, to that end the staff are not exactly enthusiastic about getting things done and so it will not be ready for five to six months, brilliant. I am not going to change to a different manufacturer though as this is the car that tick all of the boxes.

Last night Darren and I went to Bridge motorcycles at Exeter’s Marsh Barton Trading Estate for an evening event entitled “First on the scene”. Members of the Ambulance service, Fire and Rescue service and Air Ambulance were there giving talks on what actions you should take if you were the first on the scene at a Road Traffic Collision (RTC) especially if dealing with a motorcyclist. We arrived and were given a sheet of paper with a number in it. This number corresponded to a group. The group would start at one of four locations and move round to each stand in order. The first stand we went to was the Ambulance service.

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The talk was but a brief introduction to how to deal with what you would be faced with and the importance of ensuring the safety of yourself before all else. I was amazed at some of the things that were being said, the biggest one being the removal of the crash helmet. Everything made complete sense though and he did say that unless you had done a course that you should NEVER remove a helmet from an injured person unless you have been trained. After speaking to our group and getting participation by asking us what we thought we should be doing he asked for a volunteer to put on a crash helmet and act as a casualty. He would then give a brief demonstration on helmet removal reminding us and stating very clearly that this was a demonstration and not him teaching the group how to do it and again reiterating that we were NOT qualified to do so.

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Another member of our group assisted the Ambulance medic for the demonstration which helped everyone to understand why the removal of the crash helmet is a two person task. It was a very good demonstration and talk which was very well presented. With the demonstration over, the volunteers returned to sit back down. He then spoke of a course which you can attend called icare.

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This is a course which teaches you about dealing with an RTC. Something he said was to me a very good point and summed up my current situation of being a biker who has had an accident and is automatically presumed to be at fault. He said, when an accident occurs it is always worded as “Bank manager is involved in collision with biker” or “Teacher involved in collision with biker” and that we are never a professional person, we are never a doctor or teacher or soldier or carpenter, we are always “BIKER” and this is so true. He said, imagine the headline being that a “Biker has saved the life of a Doctor during a Road Traffic Collision”.  I have asked for the details as I think it would be an amazingly practical course to attend. To have that knowledge to deal with the collision site until the emergency services arrive knowing that your actions could actually save someone’s life I think is priceless and as soon as I get the details for it I will advertise the details on the Blog. Think about doing it, it may be your own family member or friend that you are able to save! I am going to look in to it because although I am in a wheelchair, I could still tell people what they need to do even though I may not be able to do things myself. If I think it is something I could do, then maybe you could too.

From here we moved to the Devon Air Ambulance crew. Here they reiterated some of the information we had been given by the Ambulance stand which was good, more of the group were able to answer questions having absorbed and retained the information from the previous stand which was good. Being an instructor myself I know the importance of information being retained by students and unknowingly, our group was being taught but because it was not being presented as teaching and they had not gone on a course, it was naturally sinking in. In addition to the normal things that are related to the RTC you now had a helicopter to consider. But what was there to consider now? This I was already aware of because of my military training and because I  have actually had to call in a helo for a `casevac` on the moors for an injured soldier, but you could tell by people’s faces that they had not thought of the downwash and what this can mean amongst some of the other facts. Not knowing where you actually are is always a problem especially if you are in an unfamiliar place, the emergency services know this and so they have devised an app for mobile phones. The one for the Air Ambulance is currently only available on the iphone. If you go to the iTunes store and search Devon Air Ambulance Trust or DAAT you will find the app. It is free and could just save someone’s life so please, if you are an iphone user then look for it and download it. Essentially it shows you exactly where you are to let the emergency operator know and they can tell the helicopter crew. They also have a facebook page devonairabulancetrust and twitter @DevonAirAmb check them out. They had a `dummy` with them which is what they teach people on how to check for pulses and breathing. This talk was again very informative, very well presented and I am very glad that they were there to give a presentation.

 

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Our next stand was the equipment stand.

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The guy was explaining about standards and testing of crash helmets, and the advantages and disadvantages of full and flip face helmets. The testing explanation was quite interesting but as I always say, my Blog is an honest one and so I make no apologies for my interpretation of this stand. It seemed that the guy was very bias towards one make of helmet. The fact that the test where the spike does not go through the casing of the helmet until the fifth attempt is great and shows true strength, but having had a major accident, in my opinion the helmet is most important on the initial impact. The first helmet he told us about only took one blow from the spike but if hit with a hammer how would it have stood up? My head hit a car door whilst I was travelling at around 35mph.

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A bad end to the day.
A bad end to the day.

My head therefore I would assume would have hit the car door at a similar speed. My helmet undoubtedly saved my life and was not of the brand that the guy repeatedly referred to, whilst I did suffer a shattered eye socket and a tear to the brain sac my skull was not damaged and so therefore I am confident in the decision I made when buying my crash helmet.

Aside from this I was taken aback by something he said. “I would rather save you money on a jacket and sell you an **** helmet as the difference between a £100 jacket and a £300 jacket is not much really”. My jacket had a thick interlocking plastic spine protector in it. I doubled over with such force that it popped one of the interlocking splines, I broke my back in eight places, if I had not had the spinal protector in the jacket which would undoubtedly have offered some protection during the time my body was being subjected to the collision, I shudder to think what my outcome would have been had I not had it.

 

Me in a coma.
Me in a coma.
Rods inserted to support spine.
Rods inserted to support spine.

To that end I disagree with what the guy said about the jackets. Again, I had all of the protective padding in my jacket and still managed to tear open my elbow so what would have been if I did not have this?

 

That`s actually my elbow.
That`s actually my elbow.

I could not help but notice that some people had arrived on their motorcycles wearing jeans, I do feel that the guy should have promoted the wearing of leather trousers with the padding in the correct places, those places being on the knees and thighs. I feel he could have said about how leather will slide down the road for a long time before it wears through which is not the case for jeans. Wearing a leather or tough material jacket with the protectors in and ZIPPING it to the trousers will stop the jacket riding up your back if you come off thus preventing the skin being stripped from your back. There was no mention of gloves and how having gloves with hardened knuckles or having tensioners on the gloves can be the difference between loosing all of the skin from your hands or not. Boots was something else which the guy did not speak about. You do not have to spend an absolute fortune on a pair of boots but boots offer protection more so than trainers. A pair of riding boots will have various levels of protection which will help. Having hardened areas on your ankle bones as it is an extremity, your toes can have a `slider` which can protect by stopping your boot from gripping the ground if you were to lean too far or you were unfortunate enough to slide down the road on your side. Torsion bars can prevent your foot over extending in the wrong direction thus preventing the ankle from breaking. I do feel more could have been put in by this guy to educate the people in the group on the importance of protective clothing instead of pushing his favourite manufacturer of crash helmet.

From here we went to our final stand which was a talk by the Fire and Rescue service. They again went over some of the things that had already been covered by the Ambulance and Air Ambulance stands but this went to show how the common ground lies with the emergency services. They added something called the green dot which is an initiative for motorcyclists to have a green dot on their crash helmet and a crash card inside. This tells all the emergency services what thy need to know from blood group to allergies. Again, when I get details of this I will put it on the Blog as I think it is a fantastic idea. They also told us about their smartphone app called P.A.N.I.C It is available on iphone, android and Blackberry and is a step by step guide of what to do but is on your mobile phone so it is to hand. Punch it in on your app store to find it and install it. It took seconds to do and again may just save someone’s life.

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The event was really good and I commend the guy for organising it. I hope he and other motorcycle shops will do another as it is very important and informative. I hope that more people would take the opportunity to attend and I hope that those who did attend last night’s event will take the courses that have been spoken about. Similarly I hope that you will download the apps that I have mentioned in the Blog that I learned about last night. I thank the organiser at Bridge Motorcycles in Exeter for putting on the event and would encourage other sales premises to do similar things.

Laters

 

 

 

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