Biker Down is the UK Fire and Rescue Services’ response to a safety concern they identified amongst Bikers, namely that as we (Bikers) often ride in company, the first person ‘on scene’ at a Motorcycle accident is often another Biker! One of the hardest issues trainers and safety advisors face is changing peoples’ behaviour and our experience shows that motorcyclists and drivers are particularly difficult to influence in this area. Shock tactics may work for some, but with the high number of fatalities and casualties involving motorcyclists on our roads, another approach is clearly needed.

Back in 2010, Jim Sanderson the Course’s founder and an Operational Crew Manager with Kent Fire & Fire Service and member of the Kent Fire Bike Team, witnessed a Motorcycle accident whilst off duty and used his own training as a Fire-fighter to assist at the scene, on reflection he realised the skills and knowledge he had would be well shared with fellow Bikers, hence the Biker Down scheme was born.

Consisting of 3 modules over a 3-4 hour session, the idea is to offer people the ability to train in essential life skills and the knowledge (based on operational Fire-fighters training) to help them cope should they encounter or be involved in a road traffic collision, rather than just give them information on the consequences.

We believe this will bring about more of a sense of responsibility when out on the road and hopefully a change in attitude that will keep them safer, both in their riding technique and how they react at the roadside. The Course is FREE to all bikers of all ages and abilities so that there is no financial barrier to taking part. Specifically, the course includes the very latest advice surrounding the thorny issue of helmet removal. Explore each Module by clicking on the tabs at the top of this web page.

Module One – Incident Scene Management; usually presented by Operationally experienced Firefighters focuses on on how to ensure the safety of responders, the fallen rider and anyone else involved in offering first aid, as well as advice on alerting the emergency services.

Module Two – Casualty care; delivered by qualified Life Support Instructors looks at dealing specifically with motorcycle-related first aid including typical trauma and mechanism of injury to legs, dealing with major bleeds and basic life support, CPR, managing spinal injuries and crash helmet removal.

Module Three – The Thinking Biker, this input looks at the way the brain interprets data sent by the eye so that what’s visible isn’t always seen, examining phenomena such as motion camouflage, saccadic masking and looming, and offers some positive advice on how to make the most of our chances of being seen. It puts the point over quite clearly that hi-vis clothing, day riding lights and retro-reflective materials don’t guarantee we’ll be seen by other road users!

The course is highly interactive with plenty of lively discussion and questions, plus the hands-on experience of the first aid module. At the end of the day, participants receive a certificate of attendance as well as an ‘aide memoire’ to help remember the content of the course, a Medical Data Carrier ‘Crash Card’ for medical details to be carried attached to the Rider’s helmet.

In this format, Biker Down teams have been delivering the course at Fire Stations across the Country, with courses run both for motorcycle clubs and groups of all backgrounds from Harley owners to advanced riding groups, as well as for individuals. There are now thousands of Bikers out there riding, who have this basic training, and we’ve already had feedback from several who’ve attended not just bike accidents but also car crashes and put their skills to good use. The Biker Down scheme has a large following on social media, with a regularly updated Facebook page providing an online resource for motorcyclists

Nationally we have 47 teams around the UK and one in the Canada, (at the moment) mainly from Fire and Rescue Services but in some instances other Road Safety Practitioners and two Police forces have also started delivery in their own areas where Fire Services have not been recruited.

In 2021 we launched Biker Down in North America, if you would like more information on this then please get in touch with either Biker Down UK or Biker Down North America, email addresses for these can be found at the top of the ‘Directory’ page. 

Biker Down was recognised at the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Awards in December 2012 when it collected one of the 12 awards and one of only two in the motorcycle category, It went onto win a National ‘Alarm’ Award in August 2013 and in 2019 Jim was recognised with an Award from the MOD for the work he has done with Biker Down and the roll out to the Military.

For further information or to sign up for the course contact us at bikerdown@kent.fire-uk.org or you can make contact via Facebook by searching Biker Down UK.