Motorcycle Accident – My First Emergency Trauma Response

Not an actual picture of the incident. Taking a pic was far from my mind and probably wouldn't have been appropriate

I recently found myself responding to a potential medical emergency in the middle of a highway in the Denver area not far from headquarters.

Ultimately, it didn't end up being all that traumatic but there were some lessons learned that I thought I would share with you today.

Training and Preparation

This truly was for all practical purposes my first time responding to a potential trauma situation since launching Mountain Man Medical as a brand extension of our company. Certainly the first time I've done so in which I was the first responder with any medical training.

I'm not the subject matter expert at Mountain Man Medical. Our combat medic and twice over EMT Brian McLaughlin is the SME, but being a part of the brand has exposed me to not only a conscious awareness of the importance of medical skills and gear but also has given me the opportunity to study and to take various training classes.

I've sat through several Stop The Bleed classes and also been through Stop The Bleed Instructor training and have since been certified to teach the class though I don't feel experienced enough to teach that class. Further, I've been through a TCCC certifying course on 2 occasions as part of CarryTrainer's S12 event.

The relevant takeaway for the purpose of this article? I've had a fair amount of in-person training, dedicated learning, and hands-on practice relating to responding to an emergency trauma situation HOWEVER, I've never been in one.

What Happened?

Driving home from our office/warehouse last week I found myself westbound on US Hwy 285 in the Denver metro. This section of road is 3 lanes wide and has a speed limit of 55 or 60.

This is the stretch of road where this occurred. Courtesy of Google… I didn't take this while driving.

Traffic was suddenly backed up. Only about 3-5 cars in front of me were stopped and I could see that beyond them the road was clear. Looking more closely I saw there was a motorcycle in the fast lane that was on its side and without a rider.

I moved my truck over into the shoulder and moved cautiously forward until I could see that the motorcycle driver was on the road, about 20-30 meters in front of his bike in the middle lane. I put on the emergency lights and grabbed my medkit from the truck and went to help.

The driver was in the recovery position (perhaps by chance) and there were at least 2 other people there before me. One on the phone with 911 and the other talking to the injured driver.

I opened my medkit and put the gloves on and while doing so asked one of the Good Samaritans what his name was. She in turn asked him and he responded. My thinking was that my training told me establishing if the patient is conscious and lucid was important in the beginning. Several more questions were asked about where he lived and where he was going and he was able to respond to all of them.

As this was happening I started to look for injuries. His exposed shoulder and arm looked pretty cut up. Some blood but not much. Mostly just some major cuts and scrapes. He said the only thing hurting was his shoulder (the one exposed) so I grabbed my trauma shears and cut away his outer and inner shirt.

I had noticed his outer shirt sleeve had been rolled up considerably but the shears cut through everything without any challenge at all. His exposed shoulder looked fine. Certainly no major bleeding.

From there I did a very basic overall assessment looking for other serious injuries and didn't find any. Somewhere about then I noticed there were other people who had stopped to help included 2 people who were directing traffic and one person who had a backpack with him with a CAT TQ strapped to it, who was watching me closely.

The medkit I had with me. It's basically the Mountain Man Medical Wind River kit but with a splint in place of the included cold packs.

The EMTs showed up in what I think was less than 5 minutes and I told them the relevant details about him being aware and lucid and complaining of shoulder pain and then I got out of the way. They got him onto a stretcher and took him away in the ambulance. Firefighters showed up at some point after the EMTs as well.

Some Takeaways Worth Sharing

After the heat of the moment had passed, and I called to tell Brian all about what had happened, I stopped to consider some takeaways. Here are several lessons I learned from this rather simple and frankly gimme situation I was in.

My experience with dealing with actual trauma when I ran into that situation was zero. Now, a few days later, its still about zero. I have some training and can offer help better than the average person but I came to find out that the guy who showed up with his own medkit and was watching me is a paramedic.

I really wish he would have said something and announced himself as I frankly would have happily have turned it over to him or at least asked his opinion. Let the person with the most relevant experience and training take the reins.

One respect in which I reflect with some pride on the situation is with my calm demeanor. I think I was thinking clearly and was able to reflect on my training and worth through the steps I've been taught. I'm not former law enforcement. I'm not a military vet. My experience with high-stress situations is pretty limited so I'm grateful I was able to remain in full control physically and mentally. How would you do in that situation?

In less good news it took me a solid 20-30 seconds to get my nitrile gloves on. It was frustrating. Why won't these dang gloves just go onto my hands??? Thinking about this after the fact I realized that I have hundreds of reps putting on a tourniquet, dozes of reps putting on chest seals, a good amount of practice packing wounds, but never have I with any urgency attempted to put on Nitrile gloves. Have you?

I felt confident because I had the gear and the training. I absolutely felt I could be helpful and having the kit in my hand made a difference in that regard. All I ended up using was a pair of gloves and some compact shears but the point is that I was confident in my ability to help because I had the gear and the training. Do you keep a medkit in your car? Do you have one in your home? How far would you have to go to get it?

Lastly, my own personal takeaway is that you will never get me on a motorcycle. I've seen two deaths happen in person from motorcycle accidents earlier in my life. In this incident, the guy probably didn't sustain any serious injuries but there can be no doubt he is a lucky one haven flown about 20 meters through the air. I say no thank you.

Many of you reading this have been part of a more significant and higher number of trauma incidents than my pitiful example shared here. Feel free to share your takeaways below in the comments. What do you wish you had known before that happened?

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.


  1. Clark Kent on April 16, 2024 at 12:13 am

    As my late father so accurately stated: ‘While riding a motorcycle you are the bumper’.

  2. Randal Totten on April 18, 2024 at 12:14 pm

    I guess one of the fortunate ones … been riding motorcycles for 20+ years and no accidents, thank God.

    • Clark Kent on April 27, 2024 at 11:38 pm

      Better quit while you are ahead. See my previous post.

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