Hints & Tips

How to: First Aid for Cyclists

Basic first aid tips for some of the most common cycling injuries.

A recent study conducted by St John Ambulance showed that cyclists are the first to assist other cyclists in the event of an accident. If you are out on your bike regularly, it really is a good idea to have basic first aid knowledge. We asked St John Ambulance who has recently launched a first aid app which provides basic first aid for cyclists:

First Aid for Cyclists: Cuts and grazing

• If a small cut is dirty, clean it by either rinsing with cold water or using alcohol free wipes and use a gauze swab to pat the wound dry. Then cover it with sterile gauze

• With soapy water, clean the area around the injury.

• Try and wipe away from the wound and use a clean swab with each swipe

• Remove the wound covering and apply a sterile dressing or plaster

• Seek medical advice if you are worried or if you think that there might be a risk of infection

• If the wound is large or bleeding heavily, apply direct pressure to the wound to stem the bleeding and raise the injured area above heart level

• Apply a sterile dressing to maintain pressure on the wound and lie the injured person down with their legs raised to offset shock

• Call for an ambulance

First Aid for Cyclists: Dislocation

• If the injured person has a dislocated shoulder, try to keep them still, while supporting their arm in a comfortable position.

• You can immobilise the injured arm with a sling if they will let you. For extra support, secure the arm to the chest by tying a broad fold bandage right around the chest and the sling.

• Arrange for the injured person to be taken to hospital and treat for shock if necessary, laying them down and raising their legs.

First Aid for Cyclists: Bruising

• Raise and support the affected area into a comfortable position

• Using a cold compress, such as an icepack wrapped in a cloth, apply firm pressure to the bruise for up to ten minutes.

First Aid for Cyclists: Strains/sprains

• Help the injured person to sit or lie down comfortably, with some padding underneath their injury to support it.

• Cool the area with a cold compress/ice pack to help reduce the swelling and pain

• Apply comfortable support to the injury, by placing a layer of padding over the cold compress and securing it in place with a bandage

• Support the injured part in a raised position if possible

• If the pain is severe or they are unable to move he injured part, arrange to get them to hospital

First Aid for Cyclists: Fractures

• Advise the injured person to keep still, while supporting the joints above and below the injury with your hands until it is immobilised.

• For arm injuries, you can secure the injured arm with a sling. For leg injuries, secure the uninjured leg to the injured one with bandages. You can also place padding around the injury for extra support.

• Arrange for the injured person to be taken to hospital – an arm injury can be transported by car, but when dealing with leg injuries call 999/112 for emergency help.

First Aid for Cyclists: Head Injury

• Head injuries can be potentially serious and should be treated with care.

• If someone has experienced a head injury, and they are fully conscious, help them to sit down in a comfortable position.

• Give them a cold compress to hold against the injured part of their head and monitor their condition.

• If the injured person becomes drowsy, confused or complains of a worsening headache, vomiting or double vision, call 999 for emergency help

• Anyone who has lost consciousness, even for a short period of time should be seen by a doctor.

First Aid for Cyclists: Dehydration

• If someone you know becomes dehydrated, help them to sit down comfortably.

• Give them plenty of water to drink. You can also give them oral rehydration solutions if you have them.

• Advise the person to rest and, if they are suffering from cramp, stretch and massage the affected muscles

• If they remain unwell, seek medical advice.

Like this First Aid for Cyclists? Also worth a read: 

St John Ambulance First Aid App Launched

CTC Crash App is a Valuable Resource for Commuters

6 Healthy Bites for the Bike



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