There is need for extensive first aid training among motorcycle riders in the country, seeing as they are often the first responders in road accident scenes. That is among the guiding principles behind the push by a community-based organization in its efforts to empower bodaboda riders and the general public in road safety.
To start with, we have identified a major problem on motorcyclists who have very little if any knowledge on handling accident victims yet they are the ones who will either be causes or first to arrive at accident scenes and handling victims.
We have been at the forefront in preaching the gospel of road safety in the entire Nyandarua County, where we run regular classes to teach residents on the ways to stay safe on the road. At the core of its curriculum is first aid training, which the organization has been offering for more than a decade.
We do this in collaboration with partners, and sometimes we do it ourselves. And once we train people, those people become trainers.
The organization views motorcyclists as a key driver of its empowerment agenda. Motorcyclists are everywhere, and play a crucial role in most accident scenes by offering relief to casualties, or even transporting them to health facilities in some cases. Sadly, not every motorcyclist is well versed in key first aid techniques, which sometimes worsens the situation when inexperienced hands rush to provide assistance.
Additionally, motor vehicles in the country are required by law to have a first aid kit on board. Most boda-bodas, however, do not carry first aid kits, and this is among issues the organization has been addressing.
“As we train them, we give each of them a starter first aid kit,”
So far we have dished out more than 3000 first aid kits, in an ongoing project that we hope will permeate every nook and crook in the county. Basic items in the starter kits include some antibiotic, bandage, Elastoplast, a pair of gloves, methylated spirit, a pair of scissors, and wet and dry wipes and recently a face – masks and hand sanitizers are included in the package.
Overall, the training empowers bodaboda riders on road usage, knowing what to do in an emergency, being equipped to do CPR when necessary, knowing first aid and helping others understand blood-borne pathogens. The training sessions are intense and interactive, with each participant taking part in practical assignments given during the training.
We all know that first aid is a great necessity on our roads and most people are unaware of basic first aid techniques. They could easily watch as a victim bleeds or otherwise suffers to death.
Merciful International Guild emphasizes the observance of ten basic tips for every road user. For starters, it discourages the use of your mobile phone whilst driving, even when one is using a ‘hands free’ phone. It also urges the public to belt up, not to drink and drive, drive slowly, and take special note of children.
“Children often act impulsively. Take extra care outside schools, near buses and ice cream vans when they might be around.”
We also ask the public to take an occasional break from driving, noting that tiredness accounts for more than 10% of road accidents. “Plan to stop for at least a 15 minute break every 2 hours on a long journey.”
Pedestrians are urged to walk safely. “When crossing a road always use a pedestrian crossing if there is one nearby. Help others to see you by wearing fluorescent or reflective clothing in poor light conditions.”
As a road user, you should also observe and anticipate other road users and use your mirrors regularly. In addition, one should use child and baby seats, which should be fitted properly and checked in every trip. You should also keep your distance, by ensuring there is a two second gap between you and the car in front.