There are many benefits to cycling, including improving health, reducing your carbon footprint by not using the car, and saving money on petrol. However, accidents involving cyclists happen all too often and they can result in serious injuries being sustained. One of the risks of being involved in a cycling accident is injuring your spine or spinal cord.
These injuries can cause dramatic changes in a person’s life, including paralysis. Thankfully, these injuries do not occur in the majority of cycling accidents, however, if you suspect someone has sustained a spinal injury, there are some things you should do.
- Do not move them – it is important that if someone has sustained a suspected spinal injury they are not moved unless clear instructions have been given by a medical professional. This is vitally important, as any further movement could compress, or sever the spinal cord and can even lead to death. Although it is tempting to rush in and move someone out of the way of danger, you should instead make the environment as safe as possible surrounding the injured person.
- Try not to panic – try to stay calm and keep the injured person calm too. Beginning to panic over injuries and the situation will only make matters worse. Try to take deep breaths and do not make any conclusions about any injuries until the injured person has been seen by a medical professional.
- Seek medical advice straight away – if you or a loved one have been involved in a cycling accident and you suspect there has been any risk of a spinal injury, you should visit your nearest emergency department immediately. Spinal injuries can be unpredictable, so it is important you are checked over by a medical professional, even if you feel fine.
- Gather information about the accident – although it may be the last thing on your mind if your loved one has been seriously injured, you should try to gather as much information as possible in relation to the accident circumstances. This could help if you decide to proceed with a claim for compensation. You should take photographs of the location and try to get the contact details of any witnesses.
- Don’t be afraid to ask – it can be extremely daunting if you, or a loved one, have sustained a serious injury. If you do not know what is happening, what your injuries are or how you will be treated, you should ask! The nurse or doctor will be happy to explain the situation and answer any questions you may have, big or small. Do not suffer in silence. Remember; if doctors are still treating your loved one then leave them to do their job. Once they are finished they will inform you of what is going on.
- Do not reuse any equipment – this is particularly important in relation to any cycling helmets that were involved in the accident. Any knocks to the helmet can reduce the integrity of the structure and impede any protective properties they may have had. Also, the bike itself may have become irreparably damaged in the accident and may not be safe to use.