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How to help an injured motorcyclist

If you're out on the road somewhere in sunny California and you witness a car strike a motorcyclist right in front of your eyes, do you know how to respond?

It's human nature to want to help someone who has been injured. However, you need to be careful that you don't end up making the situation worse -- or getting hurt yourself.

Here are some tips for handling the situation when you see a motorcycle accident, according to the California Fire Authority:

  • Call 911 immediately. Your first concern should be getting first responders to the scene as quickly as possible.
  • Secure the area from other drivers. You may need to block the road with your car or ask others to help redirect traffic so that the accident victim isn't further injured (and neither is anybody else).
  • Turn off the bike. If the bike is still running, turn it off so that it doesn't pose an ongoing danger.
  • Do not try to move the injured rider or take off their helmet (if they're wearing one) because you can cause additional injuries to the victim's head or spine. Leave that to the paramedics when they arrive.
  • Take note of the driver and car that caused the accident. If possible, snap pictures of the scene even before the paramedics arrive, including a picture of the car's license plate (just in case the driver tries to flee).
  • Comfort the motorcyclist as much as possible. You may not be able to do more than staunch any bleeding or talk to the cyclist and keep them calm, but that's a help.

Make sure that you stay around long enough after the authorities arrive to give a statement to the police and make certain that they have your contact information for the police report. While the motorcyclist may not be thinking about the future right at that moment, you could turn out to be a very important witness if there ends up being a lawsuit against the driver.

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