Being safe out on the roads is a pretty big deal for most bike commuters. Many of us wear helmets, brighten up the night with blinkies and headlights, wrap ourselves in reflectives, etc. One other safety item folks may overlook, though, is some means of communicating emergency contact or medical information to first responders in case of a crash.
There are a number of products on the market, from bracelets to shoelace tags. A new one is the QR Code-based QRide Advanced Emergency ID. Warren Schimizzi, president of QRide, Inc., graciously offered to send us a trial pack of the QRide’s “QStick” Mini Helmet Stickers for review.
Basically, the QStick minis are a pair of thick reflective stickers with a unique QR code printed on them. On the back of the packaging is an eight-character identifying code.
Once the QRide stickers are purchased, the user simply navigates to the QRide user submission form (on their website) and completes the fields. QRide sends a verification email and then you’re on your way! It’s really simple and takes no more than a couple minutes to activate the account.
Why a sticker instead of a bracelet or something? Well, those of us who have emergency ID bracelets don’t always wear them. I almost never forget my helmet, however…in fact, I can only think of one time in the past decade that I forgot my helmet before getting on the bike. A helmet sticker is perfect for me! And, since the stickers come packaged as a pair, the other one can be added to something else you aren’t likely to forget. In my case, I adhered the second sticker to my Jersey Bin, which always travels with me in a jersey pocket.
How well do they work? I scanned the stickers with the excellent QR Droid as well as Ebay’s “Red Laser” scanning utility. The QRide code scanned quickly and easily with both apps, and directed me to my personal information page instantly.
I asked Warren about concerns with information security and with HIPAA .
Jack: I want to ask how user information is secured…since it has medical info, do HIPAA concerns have any effect on what QRide does to secure the information?
Warren: Good question. The user is completely responsible for the information that is included on his or her QRide profile. We’ve placed a disclaimer at the top of the online form where this information is gathered that states all info submitted can be viewed when scanned by a smart phone and is essentially “public”. If the user is comfortable putting a certain pre-existing condition or medication (or anything else for that matter) on there they are free to do so, but none of the medical info fields on the form are required.
On the online front; we do not have an online database of users that could be compromised. Each user’s record is an individual URL. We use a large, well-established web host and have every confidence in their security protocols and firewalls. They are protected from hackers and DDoS attack (UDP flood). Their servers are fully PCI compliant to protect user’s credit card information for online purchases as well.
QRide’s QStick Minis retail for $19.95, which includes a year’s subscription to the online information record. Renewals are an additional $19.95 per year. I’d say that’s reasonably comparable to the prices other such emergency IDs charge. Where the QRide might really shine is for folks who travel a lot or relocate frequently (such as myself — with my wife in the USAF, we go where they tell us to). Buying a new bracelet every year or two with revised addresses gets expensive quickly; meanwhile, with the QRide, all you have to do is log into your account and update your info. Easy peasy.
Overall, I am quite impressed with the simplicity and ease of use of the QRide system. I hope I never have to test them FOR REAL…if you know what I mean…but if I do, I’ll be glad that first responders will have quick access to my innermost details.
QRide offers other sizes/formats of stickers. Visit their website for more details.
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