The Bike List

St John Ambulance launches First Aid app for cyclists


Charity launches new app to create world's largest first aid-equipped cycling community.

St John Ambulance has today launched a new free first aid app for cyclists, following research that shows they are nine times more likely to stop and help fellow cyclists than other road users in an accident. With three million people now cycling three times a week or more[1], the nation's leading first charity has created the app to ensure cyclists are equipped with the essential skills to help others in an emergency.

St John Ambulance research found that on average,

cyclists took the least amount of time to come to a cyclist's aid, just 1 minute and 28 seconds compared to pedestrians' 1 minute and 51 seconds.

Overall cyclists have the shortest response time and respond at least three times quicker than motorists. St John Ambulance has therefore launched their campaign to build the world's largest first aid equipped cycling community so that every cyclist knows how to help when an accident happens.

This comes on the day the Department for Transport[2] announces a rise in the number of all cycling casualties, up 2% from 2012, with a falling number of injuries/fatalities for all other road user types. The highest increase in casualties is amongst adults aged 18-59 years reporting a 5% rise. Overall killed and seriously injured figures have come down (by 10%) but slightly injured figures have risen by 3%, and this is where first aid can be the difference.

Ashley Sweetland, National Cycle Response Unit Lead at St John Ambulance said:

"Our unique, free app, launching today, is a new tool specifically aimed at equipping the increasing numbers of cyclists across the country with first aid skills and should be as essential as a puncture repair kit."

"We know many cyclists have accidents on the road each year, sometimes resulting in injuries where first aid could have made a difference. As the nation's leading first aid charity, we want to ensure that the UK's cycling community is equipped with first aid knowledge, so that more cyclists can help where circumstances might need them."

Figures on cycling accidents[3]

  • Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas
  • There have been 364 injuries involving Barclays hire bikes from 2010 to January 2013 alone, with one fatality[4]
  • Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads
  • 75% happen at, or near, a road junction
  • 80% occur in daylight
  • 80% of cyclist casualties are male
  • Almost one quarter of the cyclists killed or injured are children
  • Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries.
  • Actual law-breaking by cyclists is implicated in less than 5% of cyclists injuries[5], for example, ignoring a red light or riding illegally down a one-way street

Common injuries experienced by cyclists

  • Limb injuries are common in cyclist casualties, with over 40% suffering arm injuries and around 25% suffering leg injuries.
  • Chest and abdomen injuries occur much less frequently (5%), but are often serious. When they do occur they are often accompanied by head injuries
  • Head injuries, ranging from fatal skull fractures and brain damage to minor concussion and cuts, are very common injuries to cyclists. Hospital data shows that over 40% of cyclists, and 45% of child cyclists, suffer head injuries

The app was created using the expertise of the charity's medically trained staff and SJA's Cycle Response Unit, their team of highly trained first aid volunteers who use specially equipped mountain bikes, and can be first at the scene of an accident.

The free "First Aid for Cyclists" app is available to download now on Google Play and the App Store.

About the app

  • The "First Aid for Cyclists" app has unique advice and first aid techniques for cyclists - such as what to do to make a scene safe on the road, tips on how to improvise with bike clothing and equipment, and easy to navigate options for dealing with common cycling injuries.
  • The app can be used by cyclists at the scene of an emergency, or for cyclists to read and learn from in the comfort of their home.
  • The advice in this app is based on advice from St John Ambulance's medical team, and Cycle Response Unit - experts in both cycling and first aid.
  • It is available on the App store now, just search for "First Aid for cyclists".
  • For people interested in learning more first aid, they can download the St John Ambulance first aid app, covering a huge range of essential first aid techniques for any emergency situation. Search 'St John Ambulance' in your app store to download.

[2] DFT 2013 annual report