Are you wearing proper ID when you go out for a ride?
By Bob Stephens
Jeff Peters was simply turning a corner, his bike under control, an easy maneuver he’d accomplished tens of thousands of times.
But this time was different.
Apparently, the front tire of Peters’ bike hit a rut in the road, causing him to crash. Peters fell hard, hit the pavement, and eventually woke up in the hospital with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and a concussion.
“I didn’t remember anything,” said Peters, 57, who lives in south Florida. “I don’t remember anyone stopping to help me, but they did. I don’t remember the ambulance coming, the paramedics putting me on the backboard and loading me, nothing until I woke up in the hospital. They said I was in a state of shock. But my primary physician was already at the hospital, even without me calling him. He walked in and said, ‘I heard you crashed your bike.’”
How did Peters’ doctor know he’d had an accident? How did he know which hospital admitted his injured patient?
The simple – but often critical – answer is that Peters was wearing a Road ID bracelet.
“When I came to my senses, the hospital knew who I was and had contacted my emergency contact and my primary care physician,” Peters said. “That’s why I wear my Road ID and always will.”
In addition to Road ID, cyclists can benefit from yikes ID and Xtreme Sports ID. USA Cycling members receive member-exclusive discounts on all three products. You can take advantage of these offers now through your "My USA Cycling" account.
“It’s important to have one,” said Bill Bailey of St. Joseph, Mo. “I think it makes riding quite a bit safer. I have my ID bracelet on me all the time now.”
Bailey crashed while mountain biking in 2005, landed on his head and fractured the C4 through C7 vertebrae in his neck, to go with three broken ribs and a broken left hand. He wore a neck brace for nine months and couldn’t ride for a year.
“Quick action from three riders who came by saved my life,” Bailey said. “I’m very lucky to be alive, or not paralyzed.”
Peters got his first ID, a simple one with his name and emergency contact information listed right on the ID, when he started doing 30-mile rides and was far from home.
“I was checking out lots of stuff, like clothing and accessories,” Peters said. “I saw ID being advertised on the Tour de France coverage and on their web site. It just makes sense. I got the simple one but upgraded later and I’m really happy I did.”
Peters now has the "Interactive" version that links his ID to his ERP (Emergency Response Profile), which includes more detailed medical info and history. When he suffered a pulmonary embolism – related to his bike crash two months earlier – Peters said it was much easier to deal with physicians thanks to his Road ID.
“I simply handed the attending physician my medical info/history from the Road ID,” he said. “I even use it for non-emergency situations, like when I go to the doctor. I keep my info on a flash drive and just give it to them instead of filling out their forms.”
Peters said he pays $30 for three years worth of updates on his medical info/history, which can be vital.
“They knew what meds I was allergic to, and what not to give me,” he said.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a total of 1,348 cyclists were killed on the road in 2008-09, which are the most recent figures available. And 51,000 were injured. Clearly, as any cyclist will attest, there is great risk when taking to the road or a rough trail.
Dr. Stephen H. Katz sees the benefits of ID from both sides of the spectrum.
“As a 100-mile per week cyclist, I often cycle alone and never leave my house without the peace of mind of wearing my Xtreme Sports ID bracelet,” said the resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Having the ability to relay your personal and life-saving medical information to EMS and hospital personnel after a life-threatening trauma or medical emergency can make all the difference.”
William Dunkum III found it a relief not to deal with the hassle of providing information when he was under duress from a bicycle crash in British Columbia that left him with spiral fractures of his tibia and fibula bones in his right leg.
“When they finally got me down the hill to the clinic, the nurses were on me about insurance and all that jazz,” Dunkum said. “I was coherent enough to answer their questions but realized I didn't have to. I just showed them my wrist and they had all the info they needed.”
“The clinic sent me on to Vancouver to get my leg fixed and the Xtreme Sports ID band was handy once again. I can't say it saved me life or anything really dramatic but it did save me some hassle and reminded me of how useful it could really be. I hope not to ever use it again but it is nice to know that it really works, even in Canada.”
Other cyclists swear by their yikes ID, including Steve Donaldson, a USA Cycling Cat 3 competitor.
“Racing is hard enough as it is, so I definitely don’t want to forget about safety as I ride,” Donaldson said. “I have a yikes ID on all of my bikes and helmets. I refuse to ride without my yikes ID. I feel it is more important than a cell phone in case of emergencies. Yikes ID should be mandatory equipment as part of your riding.”
Marc Spivey, a Cat 3 cyclist from Redondo Beach, Calif., likes the convenience afforded by his yikes ID.
“I ride my bike almost every day,” said Spivey, who has competed in more than 60 races, with a dozen top-10 finishes. “Often, I’m by myself or with others who wouldn’t know who to call if I crashed. I am usually wedging my rides into my busy schedule, often in the dark, and my ride prep is super quick. The last thing I need to worry about is remembering one more thing to carry on my ride. yikes ID is the perfect answer.
“I attached my yikes ID to my helmet the day it arrived. I never have to think about remembering an identification and the yikes ID is easily visible in an emergency.”
Are all the cyclists in your house, or club, equipped with proper identification? If not, or if it’s time to upgrade your ID, then check out your member benefits, including the discounts you get on Road ID, yikes ID, and Xtreme Sports ID. You can take advantage of these discounts now through your "My USA Cycling" account.