Back a couple of months ago I was invited to attend a run in the southwestern tri-state part of Wisconsin and since I was already planning to be in-state and would have a bit of free time, I signed on without paying much attention to the particulars. My plan was to just show up and enjoy whatever was going down because I was sure it would be a great ride along the muddy Mississippi spent making new friends.
Accident Scene Management and its support group, Road Guardians, is an organization that trains riders on how to act as first responders if your buddy goes down while you’re all out cruising on a Saturday afternoon. Or anytime you come up on an accident or any combination of possible scenarios where there’s an emergency. The training covers everything from directing traffic to keeping an accident victim calm and safely removing a helmet. An eight-hour class is required to be certified and course materials are included. Graduates are encouraged to carry an emergency kit on their bikes that has a variety of safety/emergency items that are handy at an accident scene. I tell you this because it turns out that ASM, founded back in 1996, was the promoter of the River Run and I was to learn the background about what a relevant and necessary organization this is.
As their 18th annual fundraiser, it was clear that there’s a bit of history to the company and I spent three days during the River Run riding around enjoying the group’s hospitality. Hanging out with first-responder, safety-minded bikers was a first for me so trust me, there was a lot to learn. First impression was that I’d be sharing a lane with folks who were focused on having fun and celebrating the group’s success but helping others was always at the forefront. One of the first members of the “family” that I’d meet went by the road name “Twinkletoes” and I immediately found myself curious about what it takes to get such a handle. Turns out she’s a girlie girl who likes her bling and is notorious for her penchant towards sparkly footwear. Jamielynn was a new bride when she came out to support the River Run in 2011 and her energy, enthusiasm and “sparkle” had everyone embracing her as the little sister of the fold. She had jumped in and volunteered to block traffic at intersections and help with other organization details in the past and was busy doing just that when a cager decided she was tired of waiting for the bikes to pass and pulled out into the pack. She hit Twinkletoes. Another rider behind Jamielynn put her bike down in order to avoid running over her friend and both girls were hurt. Twinkletoes was face down on the pavement when her friends got to her. Accident Scene Management founder, Vicki Roberts-Sanfelipo, tended to Jamielynn as other well-trained riders immediately took over to manage traffic and look after Juliann. Twinkletoes’s injuries were serious and included a shattered pelvis, broken ribs and more. She was life-flighted to the local hospital where emergency medical staff got busy stabilizing her as her husband, who was not a rider, was informed that recuperation would be long and painful, but she would heal. Their plans for a family, however, were put on hold at the suggestion of doctors who weren’t sure she’d ever be able to have children. After a while Twinkletoes was sent home and the newlyweds settled into a life of bed rest and healing. In typical fashion, however, fate had plans unbeknownst to the young couple. Lo and behold, a year later, on August 10, 2012, miracle baby Amelia Jordan was born. Less than two years after that, a second baby girl blessed their lives. Payten Jayde came into the world to join the family in May of 2014.
Flash-forward to 2018 and both Juliann and Jamielynn have healed up and carried on from that horrific day seven years ago. For this year’s River Run, Jamielynn arrived on a new bike. Her husband, also named Jamey, made a family adventure out of the run by bringing the little girls along on four wheels and they were joined by Jamielynn’s sister, Jolene, riding her Yamaha. The first thing Twinkletoes did was volunteer for traffic control again. Her thoughtful offer was met with a loud and resounding, “Hell no!” Happy to see her beautiful, smiling face, nobody was willing to put their precious friend at risk of another negligent cage driver or any other possibly hazardous scenario.
As I followed the pack along the winding back roads of the banks of the Mississippi River through Wisconsin and Iowa’s farm country, I found myself musing at the wonder of life. Just consider the miracles that came from being educated, prepared and capable that fateful day. Accident Scene Management-trained riders didn’t just save two lives back in 2011, but due to their selfless, precision actions, they also provided for the lives of the next generation. In essence, four lives were saved that day. What a sobering testament to the need for us all to take a medical training course. Accident Scene Management provides instructor-led classes around the world and schedules for classes near you can be found on their website. For blended learning options, requirements and history, go to roadguardians.org.