Upside-down bikes: Slow down and prepare to stop
- Monday 12 July 2021
Sometimes crashes happen and sometimes the casualty is badly enough hurt that they can’t be moved until the professionals arrive. The last thing you need when you are dealing with one incident is more trouble landing on you, either literally or figuratively, so protect yourselves by setting up a warning further up the trail. The simplest and quickest tool for this is the one you have with you – your bike. Turn your bike upside-down and place it across the trail in a place it can be seen by oncoming riders.
Updside-down bikes (left) and a medic attending to the casualty (right) © Al Shaw
Obviously at a trail centre you will only need to put a bike on the bit of trail before the casualty, but if you are on a bi-directional trail you can put a bike either side of the crash site. The idea is that people coming have time to spot the bike and slow down or stop before they reach the crash. So, in the example in the picture the bikes are at the bottom of the jump with the casualty on the other side. What you can’t see here is much of the context – this is actually quite a fast-rolling part of the trail but there is good visibility from the previous jump to the bikes and plenty of time for approaching riders to scrub off their speed. Obviously exactly where you put the warning bike will depend on the trail.
This is the biking equivalent of the crossed skis or poles in skiing – something is happening ahead. You don’t even need to know what that something is, just slow down and be prepared to stop.
This is what was happening the other side of the jump. Before the medics arrived the casualty was lying on my leg as it was the most comfortable position for him. He could not be moved further off the trail. He was there over an hour. And despite the bikes across the trail we still had people riding round them and over the jump. Please don’t be that person, and spread the word.
Our thanks to the staff at Leeds Urban Bike Park, especially Jay, for help, and to the wonderful NHS who came and rescued a broken man and are currently sticking him back together.