As bikers, we are generally a bunch of positive individuals that only see blue skies and fun when we get on our bikes, but as we have probably all experienced, shit happens and a quick, well-known route can suddenly pop a surprise when you least expect. And before you know it, you have an emergency!
You know the old saying - bikers are split into two groups; those that have had an accident and those that still have to have an accident. But that doesn't mean that your accident has to make headlines and attract gasps of horror because even a noob fall-over on your stationary bike could have unexpected consequences, and bikes break-down and some of us even get lost.
A good example of unexpected emergency is the number of 'lost biker' appeals that we've seen on social media in recent weeks. In some cases, the biker wanted to be lost and ended up taking his life, but in others, they were eventually found after extensive searches. A few years back, a good friend was returning from Cape Town to Johannesburg via the Northern Cape. It was extremely hot and although he had given an indication of his route, he passed-out on his bike from what we believe was heat stroke and was only found two days later, dead in a farmer's land after the farmer had gone to fix his fence. That was a perfectly survivable death that could have been prevented by the use of a workable and advanced on-board tracking system with emergency response.
Its also true that most insurance companies today offer emergency response, but very few offer an end-to-end case management system on your behalf. They tend to direct your call to a third-party and merely act as a switchboard between you and the service provider. Emergency response system are also quite useless if they require the user to push a button or call a number to get help. Unless they are perfectly conscious and not confused or under duress, physically summoning help in an emergency wastes precious time and faces a host of problems like physical condition, language, location, signal and package price. What is needed is a system that speaks when you - the biker, cant and which automatically alerts a control centre of an accident or crisis. It's control room must automatically assume the worst and start the response process while trying to contact the biker and in that way, reduce delays in getting emergency teams to the site.
Very few response systems in South Africa come anywhere near this standard and this places the lives of bikers - in particular, in danger after often survivable and 'stupid' falls. But falls and accidents are not the only emergency we face. Roadside breakdowns and out-of-contact routes pose their own challenges - particularly when you are unable to get a connection or your cellphone is flat. And this doesn't even take into account off-bike emergencies that you or your family or friends may have.
When selecting an emergency tracking and response service, look around at what is available. Don't jump at the first satellite-based system because you have heard their names mentioned in a bar and have lots of money to waste on expensive forex fees. Or select one that acts as a mailbox between you and the local emergency services that may never arrive or even get the message.
Look for one that offers both satellite GPS coverage and a GSM connectivity that is itself linked to a 24/7 control room that creates a case file and guides and tracks the recovery teams to your location. One that doesn't close the file until you are safely home or in good emergency care. You need one that doesn't simply hand-over your call to some overpaid local official who might or might not respond.
Accidents happen at the most inopportune times and they represent the full range of crises from a broken finger to unplanned bush excursions on your bike. Much like we should choose helmets by how well they protect the grey matter in our skull - rather than how much they cost, good emergency response systems should be selected on the value you give to your life - not false promises and vague support.
About Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel is a locally developed and operated motorcycle emergency support system that automatically detects a fall and initiates emergency response without you even having to press a button. It speaks when you are unable to and it even allows our experienced and qualified control centre to remotely activate your cellphone camera and microphone to listen and look at the situation when you cant reach your phone. It offers exceptional coverage across southern Africa, linking directly to the SAPS and most private security companies and makes use of over 900 emergency response teams across the country to get help to you in the quickest and most effective way possible. It also offers a full off-bike emergency service to you and your family for emergencies that take place in your home, car or when you are away from your bike. Its handy 'follow-me' service also provides an added level of safety by actively monitoring your travel and regularly checking on your safety until you reach your destination. Ideal for lone-riders and ladies.