Motorcycle accidents are an unavoidable part of any riders' riding history. Sometimes, they teach us a lesson in humility in the case of a minor 'off', but in other cases, they prove life-threatening and yes, even fatal.
But they will happen and the very least that we as bikers can expect is to hope that help reaches us as soon as possible to minimise long-term damage and repercussions. This is not a problem when travelling with friends or in a pack, but those that like to travel roads less travelled - and on their own, even a simple crash or miscalculation can prove fatal.
Many of us have heard of cases where riders are knocked-off their bikes by motorists, with the rider landing in long grass only metres from the road and staying there for hours and even days before being found. Then there are cases where a rider runs out of skill and overcooks a corner, landing in the bush over the edge of the road. Statistics of the number and nature of bike accidents in South Africa are no longer being tracked, so its difficult to digest the nature and type of accidents that we have.
However, in countries with similar demographics in respect of bikes, riding habits and even age groups, less than 30 percent of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle..! That's a scary statistic. This means that over seventy percent of bike accidents are 'self-inflicted' through a combination of skill, speed, lack of awareness or simply being careless and it is these accidents that generally (not specifically) result in survivable incidents.
For this reason, bikers have increasingly been attracted to emergency medical response services that are primarily aimed at motorists. And as we have seen over the past month, one with over 1000 bikers under its cover has decided to stop covering motorcyclists with their emergency medical support and care packages from the end of this year. So what will these riders do now that they no longer have the safety-blanket provided by emergency response services? Well, they need to look around and find another service provider - and there are many. But, if you are a rider, you should look at what you are being offered before once again jumping into bed with someone that fails to understand how bikers think or feel.
Firstly, unless the service has an automated crash detect functionality, avoid it like the plague. If you have been involved in a bike accident, chances are that you are unable to activate the help button on your bike or phone - either because you have injured yourself or are unconscious, or your phone has been tossed away from from the impact. Most car-based systems require some form of manual activation and those that have crash-alert functions don't recognise the G-forces generated by a motorcycle crash when compared against a car.
Then, look for the system that ensures that medical help is dispatched even while they are trying to make contact with you. Again, you may have been separated from your phone or unable to hear or answer their call. This wastes valuable time in the 'golden hour' that most survivors have and it limits the response time of emergency teams. And while you are at it, look for a scheme that gets the emergency response and evacuation process going before getting authorisation from your medical aid. Again, this wastes time and could mean the difference between life, death and long-term disability.
And finally - find a scheme or service that provides evacuation and/or hospital cover that makes a difference. Insurance companies are traditionally not emergency response companies - they all outsource this function, and they therefore don't always understand the process. They also have reams of fine-print that none of us reads anyway, and often what we get is nowhere near our understanding of their sales pitch. Get a service that provides emergency response and evacuation guarantees and that offers a hospital benefit in the event that you don't have medical aid (as much as sixty percent of riders don't - would you believe). Bear in mind that a survivable accident could cost you anything between R100 and R600 thousand Rands, and choose wisely.
So, if you are one of those riders that has been affected by the recent pull-out of a well-known accident emergency brand, get yourself covered with one that understands what biking is all about. It can make the difference when you least expect.
Guardian Angel is a motorcycle emergency accident response service that automatically recognises and reacts to a biker-down situation. Our state of the art telemetry systems are monitored 24/7 and we have established ties with medical evacuation and response teams countrywide. Our inbedded guarantees ensure swift response by EMS teams and we offer extensive hospital cover for those that choose.
But Guardian Angel is also far-more than just an accident emergency system. The same technology provides one of the most effective early-warning and alert systems designed to minimise theft of your bike and we are partnered with the country's leading vehicle recovery system in the unlikely event of theft. Guardian Angel has been developed by bikers for bikers - we understand your priorities and what you need in the event of an accident, theft or loss.