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FIM Road Safety Award

The Ambulance Motorcycle Club

Often the very best ideas are the simple ones! Paramedics (like police and fire officers) are also often motorcycle enthusiasts too. The Ambulance Motorcycle Club in the UK is a club for riders who work in the health service in the UK.

Paramedic and motorcyclist Ian Burrell had the idea for a Crash Card that could be distributed to riders for keeping inside the liner of their helmets. Then, if the rider ever has the misfortune to be involved in an accident, the card will contain basic but helpful information. Name, date of birth, any medication being taken and any allergies the holder may suffer from.

Helmet safety card campaign

As professionals the Ambulance Club members know the things that need not be included because they will always be checked for at any accident and emergency unit. A good example of information not included is blood group. In the FIM we first heard about this from the south east of England. The next place we heard about it was in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is also home to Dr David McManus Director of the FIM’s international medical commission the CMI. We spoke to him about this and he was able to give expert comment not only as a Doctor of Medicine, but as an Accident and Emergency specialist. He drew attention to the kind of helpful information that can be given by a rider – for example a person suffering from diabetes. Prior knowledge of this type of medical condition can be very helpful in an emergency.

Since we first reported on this initiative two years ago in an FIM newsletter, things have gone from strength to strength. In giving this award the FIM Road Safety judges also wish to commend the organisation Rider Alert in the United States of America which has taken up the cause there. – Working in partnership with their UK colleagues. As we go to press the latest reports show that over three quarters of a million cards have now been issued across the world.

The last year has seen Sweden join in, and the Swedes are now about to issue their second edition. How does a paramedic know there is an information card inside the helmet lining? In the UK a simple green dot is added to the outside of the helmet. 

Others who have produced cards (the Swedes for example) have added an information sticker to be used on the exterior of the helmet. Of course this is specially produced in materials compatible with the helmet itself and the helmet industry was consulted before the stickers were printed to ensure they are the correct type.

Paramedic and motorcyclist Ian Burrell said: "The idea came from paramedics talking and it suddenly clicked. It's an incredibly simple concept.

"Without the card if a biker is injured and unable to talk coherently because of concussion or even unconsciousness, how would the ambulance crew find out who the patient is, what medication they take, or medical history?

"How can a passer-by help the rider who is injured without making the situation worse if they did not know about any pre-existing medical condition or suchlike?

"The card was designed to be an aid to both the person making the 999 call and the crew who attend. One side carries hints which will assist the 999 call taker. The other side has the rider's name, date of birth and medication.

"If rider has a card they fit a small green dot alongside the visor on their helmet.

"Riders get an information letter with the card.

"The letter also makes it clear that only experienced emergency personnel should ever remove a helmet following an accident."

This is the third edition of this FIM award recognising achievements in road safety to help motorcyclists. The FIM wishes to extend particular thanks to the independent judges who have assisted in selecting the winner for 2012: Mr Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director, European Transport Safety Council; Dr Luciano Iorio, Chair, United Nations ECE Working Party on Road Traffic Safety; Mr Tim Buche, President Motorcycle Safety Foundation, USA.

For 2012 the FIM is delighted that Dr Rohit Baluja, President of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, India has joined the panel of judges.

Thanks are also due to FIM Board member Mr Andrzej Witkowski who chairs the FIM Awards Committee and to Mr Jesper Christensen Director of the FIM Public Affairs Commission.

More information on this work can be found at
For the United States campaign at: