We generally accept that it is simply good sense for mountain bikers and competitive cyclists to carry a basic first aid kit attached to their bike frames. But what about commuters?
Do people whose primary cycling activity is commuting on a daily basis really need to have a first aid kit on hand? No. No one absolutely has to carry a first aid kit. But it is still the smart thing to do.
Accidents do happen. Bike commuters hit the streets every single day just assuming they will get where they are going safely. Most do, but most are not equal to all. Every single day cyclists are injured on their way to wherever. Those whose bikes are equipped with basic first aid kits tend to be better prepared when those injuries do occur.
What Is in a Good First Aid Kit?
Assembling a good first aid kit is not hard. If you don’t want to do one yourself, there are plenty of top-rated UK approved first aid kits available for sale online. The point is to buy a kit you always take with you on your bike. A good first aid kit contains the following:
- Wound pads
- First-aid packets
- Gauze bandages
- Adhesive bandages
- Plaster strips
- Tube bandages
- Dressing bandages
- Tweezers and scissors
- Rescue blanket.
A first aid kit is not meant to carry everything you might need to handle a serious trauma incident. First aid supplies are intended to temporarily treat things like abrasions, lacerations, insect bites, and broken bones.
What Should the Carrying Case Look Like?
You are going to need something to carry all of your first aid supplies in. Perhaps the best way to go is a waterproof nylon or canvas bag. Both materials will do an adequate job of protecting your supplies while still remaining fairly lightweight and flexible.
If nylon or canvas is not your thing, consider parachute fabric or even a hard-plastic shell. Whatever you choose, it is going to have to be mounted on your bike frame with some sort of bracket or hooks. Keep that in mind as you shop around.
Does It Have To Be Waterproof?
It is not absolutely necessary that your first aid bag be waterproof, but why would you choose something that isn’t? Using a bag that is not waterproof is just inviting trouble. A heavy rain shower could soak all of your bandages and render them useless. Water inside your first aid kit could cause scissors and tweezers to rust. Nothing good can come of choosing a bag that isn’t waterproof.
Why the Rescue Blanket?
Nearly every commercially available first aid kit includes a rescue blanket that may appear as nothing more than a thin piece of fabric covered with aluminium foil. Also known as space blankets due to their association with space travel, rescue blankets serve a vital purpose in first aid scenarios. It is all about something known as shock.
In the aftermath of an accident – even a minor accident – the body can go into shock. The medical condition known as shock is one in which the body attempts to preserve internal organs by reducing blood flow to the skin. This is not good in that it prevents the body from maintaining its proper temperature.
A rescue blanket helps keep an injured person warm. As such, it is a life-saving piece of kit that should be in every first aid bag.
How Often Should My Kit Be Restocked?
You may put together a bike commuter’s first aid kit and never use it. Hopefully, that’s the case. It is better to spend money on first aid supplies you will never use than to be caught unprepared without them. At any rate, your kit should be restocked every time you use it. You should also check your supplies every few months to ensure their integrity. Any items that no longer appear up to the task should be replaced.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
Keeping a basic first aid kit on board your bike is a smart idea. If you do not mind adding a little bit of extra weight, consider stocking your kit with a few additional items not listed here. These might include splints, eye wash, burn cream, and an antibiotic ointment. The more prepared you are, the more effective your first aid kit will be.
One last thing to note is that it’s wise to have a basic understanding of first aid procedures. In other words, knowing how to use your kit appropriately is smart. You can take first aid classes in your local community, perhaps even free of charge in some cases. The combination of the right first aid supplies and a solid understanding of first aid procedures could someday prove invaluable.