The Creepy Card That May Save Your Life

I remember that one of my work mates once saw me printing out a small card and came closer to see what was going on with it. After reading the text on it, the chap looked at me with a rather crept-out face and asked what I was going to do with that small card.
“Why, I will wear it around my neck, in the same plastic slip bag with my press card,” I replied. The guy was now really making a weird face: “But… it’s so creepy! Why would you do such a thing?” “Well, you see, because I still want to get a decent chance to make it back home even if one day my luck runs out completely,” I smiled back at him and went back to cutting the card along the dotted line I had drawn.

These days I am once more printing that card, just as I do every time I leave for a longer bike trip all by myself. On it, you can read: “In case of emergency, please call my brother Cristi (phone number). I have blood type AB+ and non-insulin dependent diabetes.” Even some riding buddies of mine said that placing this small cardboard tag around the neck must feel creepy… and it does, at times. But I know I will be riding in the wake of danger and that silly piece of paper might save me when the going gets really, really tough.

Honestly, in a way, it really feels reassuring wearing this tag under my jacket. It is a constant reminder that I am not alone on the road, and some of the fellows with whom I share the road are maybe unaware of my presence. It reminds me that sometimes I am invisible, despite riding with the high beam on in broad daylight, and sometimes with the off-road auxiliary lights on, as well. It reminds me that an unexpected obstacle could be waiting for me around the next blind turn… and it reminds me that I may make costly mistakes, with all the tens of thousands of miles of road I left behind. And this keeps me aware.

Many wise, weathered riders I talked to confirmed in multiple occasions that we are in danger. Almost all of them were also driving cars, trucks and other vehicles, and they were long past the riders-cagers antagonism… and they all said that we could never lower the guard while on two wheels. I have grown to understand the truth in their words and accept that this danger is one of the things we must learn to live with, because it’s a part of being a true rider.

I will skip past the DNR tattoos affair and the often ridiculed and downplayed matter of organ donations, and speak about this simple extra chance fallen riders might have when the paramedics reach them. It’s been more than once when riders involved in a crash had medical conditions nobody knew about, and the wrong treatment was applied, sometimes with very sad consequences.

The technologies used by the first response medical teams have evolved quite a lot, so the blood type and Rh aren’t maybe that important, but there are a lot of other things impossible to detect on site. However, the “creepy card” (as I’ve decided to call this tag) is much more important in case riders suffer from other afflictions, involving regulate medication, allergies and intolerance to certain medical substances.

Funny or not, these guys are those who should take courage in writing everything down on the creepy card, so that the emergency units know what to do in case the fallen rider is no longer able to communicate. This way, they can stand an extra chance, slim as it may be, to pull through the nasty event of a crash. Needless to say, riders who need permanent and regulate medication should do well and carry their treatment for the whole length of the ride with them, in special watertight small cases, with labels and other info (hour of medication and quantity) attached to them.

Paramedics are not carrying a whole pharmacy with them and have no way of finding out what dose of medicine X you should take and when. However, if you have the medication with you and all the info associated with it, the creepy card will instruct them on how to act. And you will have a slightly bigger chance to live to tell the story.

As far as the creepy card emergency contact, it’s best to choose some of your relatives or friends who can actually help you in the hour of need. That is, choosing a guy who is stern in the face of such news, and who will not panic. Panic reduces his or her capability to react and make the best (sometimes life-saving) decisions, nulling the scarce advantage you may have gained with the creepy card contact.

At the same time, your emergency contact should know that he or she is on your creepy card list, and even more, you should share your medical data with them. It’s not a problem if he or she tells the medical team to be careful with certain aspects. In case they already know these details from your creepy card, they’ll just say “thanks, we already know this,” no harm done. And in case they miss something, reminding them only raises your chances to avoid being treated the wrong way.

Your emergency contact(s) must also be people who can be reached. It’s no use having a creepy card contact who shuts down his or her phone after 10pm, or who is out fishing or hunting often, in areas with no service. Make a smart choice and make sure the emergency team or police have the best chances to reach your contact.

Finally, an old guy who was riding with an engraved tag around his neck had added a red-lettered “Thanks, sorry for the mess” ending to his rather lengthy medical brief, proving that there was indeed a way to make things sound funny even when the line between life and death is becoming a bit blurred. As for the rest, it’s obviously advisable that we all did our best to avoid the situations where the creepy card becomes useful.

Ride far, and ride safe!
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