WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

What your gear choices say about you

By James - 1/14/2007

While doing some research I came across an article about motorcycles and CPR titled “Must you do it?“.

“MUST you perform CPR if you know how and it is apparent that it is needed? Let me bring this into clear focus for you: You find someone that is DEAD and believe you could revive him using CPR. Must you try?

My OPINION is that nothing - no law, no moral obligation, no ‘contract’, and no force of nature - forces you to perform CPR.”

I was a bit shocked that someone would have such a cowardly view, especially a so-called biker and MSF instructor. I gave him the benefit of a doubt, maybe he is just covering his ass in this litigious society, so I read on . . .

“If you happen upon a motorcyclist who appears to be a victim of a motorcycle accident and that person is not wearing a helmet, you have EVERY RIGHT to conclude that since he is so cavalier about his safety when riding a motorcycle he may well also be cavalier about wearing condoms. Maybe that’s true, and maybe it’s not true, but you have the right to decide NOT TO ADMINISTER CPR for whatever reason you choose, including that one.”

This really shocked me. You have no right to look at a rider’s gear and assume that he has a death wish. Most cagers make this same false assumption about all motorcyclists. But the final conclusion that Mr. Davis comes to, that you have every right not to help a downed biker, “for whatever reason you choose” is a sad commentary on the values of a lot of people.

According to a handful of studies I found, no one has ever transmitted HIV during CPR. According to TulsaCPR

“The probability that a rescuer will become infected with either the AIDS or hepatitis virus as a result of performing CPR is minimal. There have been no cases to date of transmission of AIDS or hepatitis during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If you are still concerned, there are face masks and shields available that you can place over the victim’s mouth to provide a physical barrier during mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Some of these are small enough to be carried on your keychain.”

You are more likely to contract a disease while treating a cut than giving CPR. Regardless, you cannot tell if someone is sick by looking at them. I am in awe of Mr. Davis’ ability to predict people’s medical history from the gear a motorcyclist choses to wear. Is wearing sneakers while riding a predictor of dyslexia? Does not wearing a back protector tell potential rescuers that I am lactose intolerant? Are you afraid you might contract these while providing medical care? I wonder whether he would help ANYONE who does not share Mr. Davis’ “healthy” completion.

I am not a masochist, I understand the fear of ill health or lengthy lawsuits. But an irrational fear based on ignorance is bigotry. Someone who half-asses it when another biker is hurt is cowardly and selfish scum. Mr. Davis, I can assure you that if you are ever hurt and I am passing by, I will stop and do everything I can to help. I hope you can pick up some $5 CPR safety products and rejoin the human race.



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  1. Mr. Davis sounds like a most self-centered, uncaring and litigiously paranoid individual.

    Frankly, I surprised he’s an MSF Instructor as he is obviously not motivated by a sense of caring for others.

    I would never ride with the like of him, because, very simply stated, You can not count on him to be there for you at a time when you would most need him.

    Back in 1988, I came upon a single vehicle wreck on I65 between Birmingham and Huntsville Alabama. The male driver of the truck had fallen asleep and drove off the road and flipped his truck.

    He was thrown through the windshield and his truck rolled over him.

    He was laying on his back in the middle of the North bound lane, badly broken up and bleeding profusely.

    Traffic had stopped but no one had checked him to see if he was breathing.

    I got down next to his head and talked to him verifying he was conscious and breathing, but before the Paramedics arrived he went into shock, probably from blood loss, and stopped breathing.

    Elevating his legs was not possible as they were both broken in several locations and were twisted up next to his torso.

    I started CPR and within 10 minutes the Paramedics arrived and relieved me.

    They called in Life Flight and flew him to a Trauma Center.

    He lived, and 3 months later I got a call from his Wife. She got my contact info from the Police Report and just wanted to say thank you.

    I have never regretted intervening.

    Comment by Dave Dragon — 1/16/2007 @ 6:06 pm

  2. I am ex-army and learnt first aid there and done refreshers a number of times since. I have never needed to use CPR for real but would have no hesitation in doing so. What is wrong with using a piece of cloth if you are that worried. As for litigation I think the best form for defence, should it arise, is “he was dead, now he isn’t". Maybe some time in the future he may be the person to get me out of the mire, or maybe someone he has saved will be. Does the MSF instructor want people to leave him in that situation - maybe he should have “Do nor resusitate” tattooed across his forehead.

    Comment by Sean — 1/17/2007 @ 7:13 am

  3. I was shocked when reading about this. He doesn’t really care about others. If he did, he would know that there are mouth guards you can use for CPR to protect you. I know a few motorcyclists who have actually bought them, as this sort of thing concerned them. They wanted to help others, so they actually bought this guard, unlike the above MSF instructor.

    Comment by Biker Betty — 1/17/2007 @ 12:42 pm

  4. Wow… I don’t know what to say but “Disgusting!” Some people are just scary.

    Comment by Dan — 1/25/2007 @ 8:26 am

  5. I am as stunned as the rest of you. If you have a valid CPR Certification, 1)You are protected from most litigation under the Good Samaritan Law (provided you act reasonably and responsibly while administering), and 2)If you are on the scene before EMTs or Police, YOU ARE the First Responder, and are required to take any and all action necessary until help arrives - even if the victim appears to die under your care. Continuing care will also help your case in the event someone does try to sue.

    I carry a first aid kit (including a CPR mouth shield) in both of my cars and on my bike. I always want to be in the position to act, without fear, to the best of my abilities.

    The best thing for Mr. Davis to do would be to voluntarily surrender his CPR Cert. Then he won’t even have to worry about a downed rider’s sexual habits.

    Comment by don — 2/2/2007 @ 10:05 am

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