As a mountain biker, there's a good chance you've probably come across an incident on the trail, or you've been involved in one yourself. When accidents occur involving a casualty, the ideal course of action is to get the injured party medical attention as soon as possible. Although due to the nature of the sport, it can take emergency services some time to get up the mountain and to the site. So how can we work together to protect that person until help arrives?
Avid mountain biker and writer, Hannah Collingridge, draws from a recent experience to raise awareness and understanding of what upside down bikes on the trail mean. While riding with friends at Leeds Urban Bike Park, an incident occurred on the landing of a jump where the injured person could not move or be moved off the trail.
Two bikes were turned upside down to warn oncoming riders and placed well ahead of the incident and in the view from the trail in advance. While this may sound strange, it's actually common practice in other sports, such as skiing, where crossed poles or skis on the slope suggest there's a hazard ahead. But, as Hannah explains, "you don't even need to know what that something is; just slow down and be prepared to stop."
upsidedown bikes on trail upside down bikes mtb hannah collingridge 002.jpg, by Jessica Strange
When dealing with a casualty, the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of riders hurtling down the trail. Hannah's friend, Daz, who was unable to move safely off the trail, had to wait over an hour for medical help to arrive, during which some eager riders ignored the caution and proceeded to ride the trail at speed. Thankfully, medical assistance arrived on the scene to help get Daz to safety, who's now healing up from surgery to pin his hip back together.
So, don't be that person, one who could make a terrible situation worse or cause injury to yourself and others. If you see an upside-down bike on the trail, it's not a feature for you to overcome or placement for an Insta-banger. Slow down, be prepared to stop and help out if needed to ensure the trails remain safe for everyone.
All photos by Al Shaw.