by Vicki Sanfelipo, Executive Director ASMI, Co-Founder Road Guardians
I remember my first ride to the Sturgis Rally in 1987. I was so excited and imagined that I was a cowgirl jumping on her horse with just a sleeping roll and a few dollars in my pocket. I climbed on board my 1979 sportster and away we went. I got about 150 miles down the road before my first breakdown occurred. Just a starter, nothing a push or a screwdriver couldn’t fix! Thank God I had 6 guys with me (wink)! Sure is different today. The crowd has changed and the area has become much more prepared to handle the crowds. Full Throttle Saloon didn’t even exist and Buffalo Chip was the place to be for a raw look at the Sturgis experience, it was not the meca it has become. Broken Spoke was downtown but One Eyed Jacks and Easyriders Saloon were nowhere to be found. While there was bike traffic in the Hills it was nothing like you see today and while you heard of mishaps you certainly did not experience them as frequently as you do today.
After doing a radio interview for Wide Open Radio and a Presentation for Allstate’s Rider Protection Zone, Cat and I were heading back to Keystone for the evening. We came upon a traffic jam where cars and bikes were backed up for miles. I threw my strobes on and to the front we went. We got to the levee area of Pactola Lake and saw several bikes down. Emergency vehicles were there and we were informed that Flight had already been there and gone. While our help was not needed it seemed a perfect time to talk about ASMI and I educated and handed out PACT cards.
Little did we know that my husband, Tony Pan was at another scene, assisting a Canadian who was severely injured. He assisted until the gentleman was taken away with Flight for life. When he arrived at the corner he saw a couple people in the ditch. He threw his strobes on and parked his bike to signal caution. He grabbed his trauma pack and went into the ditch where two paramedics were talking to the person. They were happy to not only see Tony but even happier to see that he came with supplies!!! They suspected that the injured had a broken leg but did not know the extent until Tony used his trauma sheers to cut the guy’s pant leg. What they saw changed their focus from broken bone to life threatening bleeding. They applied a tourniquet and assisted the EMS with a difficult transfer to the long board. The only thing Tony wishes he would have done different is to get the phone number of the guy who was injured. To this day he does not know the outcome.
The most likely person to be at the scene of a motorcycle crash is another motorcyclist. While we are out enjoying ourselves, someone may need our help. Are you prepared to help others? Are they prepared to help you? If you have not already taken the time to take a one day class focused on the most important things you should do to reduce injuries and fatalities you should make training a priority. Have you already been trained? Make sure those around you are trained as well.
Visit www.accidentscene.org/schedule.htm to find a class near you or www.accidentscene.org/instructors.htm to find an instructor.