Accident scene management

I got this from an American motorbiking site. I’ve seen a few accidents here. And we all know how poorly triained the Ambulance workers are…so I thought some of you might be interested in knowing what to do.

Accident Scene Management

As motorcycle riders we are all aware of the inherant dangers and risks that we take when we mount our bikes and head out to enjoy a good ride. Yes, it is that part of our shared passion that many of us don

Cheers fella. I’ll be printing that off and handing it out to all and sundry.

I’m always more than willing to stop at an accident scene and help out, but lack the necessary procedural skills you’ve just posted.

Will read and memorise as best I can. My Chinese (or ‘ability to commuicate in Mandarin’ for some of ya) is a bit shoddy, but it wouldn’t stop me doing my best to help out, in whatever way.

I got rammed off my CB some years back, and the person I was most grateful for was the person who brought me warm sugar water, called my mom, and (practically) dragged my bike into his yard.

Peace out…

As an afterthought, I’ve been told local drivers are reluctant to stop at accident scenes as they may be implicated in some way, down the line. Can anyone confirm this ‘rumour’?

Great post, Mordeth!

In my 10 years here, I’ve been told by locals many times that you should not stop to help, as some victims (perhaps in their confusion or shock, or perhaps for worse motives) may finger you as the cause of the crash. However, not stopping to at least see if help is needed is too great a violation of my own ethics, moreso having received CPR and first aid training. And as a motorcyclist, it’s easy enough to stop at a small distance, leave your bike on your helmet (oops, did I really type that?) and walk over as a pedestrian. Mordeths reminder to be aware of traffic when you stop and do so safely is of course a good one.

If you don’t stop, at least note the location and call for assistance. Nothing could be worse than having everyone assume someone else has done so, while a motorist bleeds to death or something. Better to risk duplicate calls to the authorities, no?

People here don’t tend to stop at accidents because they know they’ll get nailed. Ask Dangermouse about his experience in this regard. It is far from uncommon. Happened to me too, once.
I heard that doctors in the states are also reluctant to stop at accidents for the same reasons (lawsuits).
In Britain, doctors are required by law to stop and offer assistance.

That’s why I suggest stopping in a way that makes you look like a pedestrian, e.g., turn the next corner, pull over, stop, get out, and walk to the accident. You can tell the police you were walking by and saw the aftermath of the accident and went to help.

Ethics have got to prevail over selfish interests if we’re to make a better world.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a pedestrian or not. You’ll still get nailed if they can place you next to the victim at all.

Dangermouse, myself, and a few others have stopped to help people after accidents…if I remember correctly. And none of us had any problems with someone trying to pin it on us…correct me if I’m wrong.

Dangermouse, myself, and a few others have stopped to help people after accidents…if I remember correctly. And none of us had any problems with someone trying to pin it on us…correct me if I’m wrong.[/quote]
Depends what you mean by “wrong.” Dangermouse almost got himself incarcerated.
Anyway, that’s not to say you shouldn’t try to offer assistance, just that you should be aware of possible repercussions.

"Dangermouse almost got himself incarcerated. "

Pray tell… what happened?

[quote=“Dragonbones”]"Dangermouse almost got himself incarcerated. "

Pray tell… what happened?[/quote]
Came across an accident in the country. Helped the (very drunk) guy. Guy blamed Dangermouse for the accident. Cops believed the guy. Dangermaouse had to do some very fast talking indeed.
Very similar thing happened to me about 10 years back, except the cops gave the prick my address and he sent some hoodlums to my door, to whom I had to vigorously show my hunting knife to make them go away. You won’t catch me stopping at the scene again.

I don’t stop at accidents here either, for the same reason. I ended up in court here for something that was not my fault and believe me, whether you’re involved or not, a person who wants to make trouble for you can drag you through the courts simply in the hope that you’ll pay just to get rid of the hassle. Not worth it.

I always stop…

I even had a guy die on me after I took him to the hospital back in 88. He was laying in a ditch on the Kuandu side of the bridge. Took him to the hospital in Tamshui were he passed away during the evening. The police came to ask some questions, but never then or now was there any threat of trying to place the blame on me. The doctor in the ER figured he’d been laying outside for the better part of a day with hundreds of people driving right past him.

I’ve helped dozens of people since then, and have never had a problem. I figure one day it might be me disoriented and bleeding on the ground.

It’s the right thing to do…

I stop also.

I remember picking up one young guy who came off his bike in quite a spectacular way on a lonely stretch of road one morning. I picked up his bike and pager (yes, it was a long time ago - a time when everyone had pagers!) etc, plopped him on the back of my bike and dropped him off at the nearest emergency department. He was in shock of course, and as I left him at the front door to the emergency room he looked at me in a kind of stunned way. I couldn’t work out if he was trying to think of how to thank me, me being a foreigner and all, or whether he was stunned that I was just leaving him there and riding off into the distance. I don’t even know exactly why he came off the bike and nor does he no doubt, and I guess that there is a possibility that as I had been the one to help him that he may have thought that I must have been the cause of him coming off his bike. All of my Chinese friends at the time said that I was very lucky, but I couldn’t have lived with myself if I had just ridden past and left him laying on the road. Helping the guy was instinctive and not something I even thought about. The biggest insult - my employer docked me for being five minutes late for work, even after I explained why.

I would think that the chances of ending up in jail for this type of thing would be very, very slim. Possibly getting saddled with medical expenses injustly is likely to be the biggest punishment for the crime of helping someone, but as others have pointed out, more often than not there are no repercussions.

I am not a religious person, but I do believe in ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. I would like to think that by helping others when they have accidents that I am increasing my chances of getting helped should I be so unfortunate as to need help in the future. The sight of foreigners helping Chinese will also hopefully shame the onlookers into possibly taking the initiative to help in future. Should we all decide that it is too much of a risk and just drive on past, then I hate to think what kind of place this would be!

Having said this, I can understand the concerns of those who choose not to help, but possibly you guys may change your mind one day. Afterall, the most you probably have to lose is money, but assuming that the worst doesn’t happen, think about how good you will feel to help someone at a time that they are in need.

I need to confess that I did once leave a guy lying on the road. He was on a bicycle and was crossing a section of Roosevelt Road against the lights. The car hit him at full speed and the old guy was catapaulted across the roof of the car and thrown clear across the intersection, a distance of at least 40 meters. He did some serious damage to the front of the car and lay motionless on the ground. I figured he was dead and chickened out of helping him as I was afraid of what I would find. I was on the other side of the road and so I sat at the lights until they changed, thinking the whole time that I should help, but when the lights changed I drove off with a very, very guilty conscience. I went back the next day and asked some of the nearby shopkeepers about the guy and they said that he was talking by the time the ambulance arrived, which made me feel a bit better. If I could go back again - I have no doubt that I would have stopped! The guilt of just driving on past is just too much for me.

Mordeth - You’ve been the butt of some negative comments in the past, but thanks for posting this as it is really helpful and will hopefully get us all thinking. :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo:

I understand if you’ve been burned you might be reluctant to help again, and I can’t judge you for that. But I’d have trouble living with myself if I found out the guy slowly bled to death because I didn’t stop and put pressure on the wound. And I’d rather take a 1/3 chance of getting saddled unfairly with a $5000NT medical bill than let someone die.

Cultural changes are clearly needed here to increase assistance by bystanders, so rather than deciding not to help, why don’t we instead try and think of ways to help while covering our own asses too?

For example, I mentioned parking away from the scene and walking over. In some instances, the fact that it was a vehicular collision will be evident, so the cops won’t blame a pedestrian. When you approach the person, you can tell them you saw some car hit them and flee (or whatever is applicable), so that the victim, if a bit foggy due to the impact, is less likely to blame you out of confusion.

Or call the cops first on your cell phone and tell them you saw an accident or see the aftermath. If you saw who caused it, tell them who caused it (e.g., a car now speeding away). That way, they begin the situation with that assumption, and are less likely to blame you.

Second, get acknowledgement from another bystander that they’ll be your witness that you’re merely a helping hand.

In many instances, however, the accident will already have 2+ vehicles present and there won’t be any opportunity to blame you. At a minimum, consider pausing to evaluate that before making a decision to just keep driving, no?

If we do get blamed, as foreigners we might be able to argue that it is part of our culture to stop and help, in some places it is even the law. You can cite your Boy Scout oaths or your religion if you like. Hopefully that will help set us apart from the ‘only the guilty stop’ mentality here.

And finally, if we can take an active role in promoting politeness, non-littering, line queuing, stopping to help, and other positive values, perhaps we can be a positive influence here, and change the culture for the better. We could even bring this issue up in editorials, or in letters to the mayor asking for public education on the issue.

Sandman is absolutely correct that I have been blamed for an accident by stopping to help, but I couldn’t live with myself if I drove past a fresh accident - leaving somebody to die a lonley death on the side of the road next to a betel nut stain would haunt me forever - I still stop.

Moredeth, this is a great contribution and it offers some good advice in the event of an accident.

I do however have to disagree with one (well two, actually) aspects of this information and that is where it says that you should go straight to the victim(s) of the accident - This goes for any accident you happen to encounter, motorcycle, truck, car, skateboard, Scalelectric - whatever.

If you are first at the scene must stress that the most important thing is to protect [color=red]yourself[/color] and the [color=red]scene of the accident[/color] .

Never turn your back to oncoming traffic…ever. If possible, never drive past an accident - if you have enough time stop well before the accident and walk to it like Dragonbones pointed out earlier.
Use your vehicle as your primary source of defence. Place it in a spot where other drivers will see it in good time if possible, and angle the vehicle so it is slightly slanted compared to the road - ie: so it’s side is visible to oncoming traffic. This will make your vehicle more visible to traffic and its odd angle will alert other drivers that something is wrong.
Don’t forget to activate hazards and lights. Motorbikes can also be used in this fashion.
By the time drivers have driven past your vehicle they will be travelling at a slower speed when they reach the scene.
By leaving your vehicle away from the scene, ambulance and fire access will be made easier.


The time you have between [color=darkblue]walking[/color] from your vehicle to the accident scene will provide valuable seconds to assess the crash scene - what’s been spilled? How many victims? Who is the most injured?

Keep an eye out behind you!

Spillages mean Hazards.

Always approach upwind from a spillage - the fumes could kill you.
Never walk on a spillage.

A true story:

A 23 year old nurse came across an HGV accident (incidently with a motorcycle and two other cars). The cars were crushed by the HGV trailer and the motorcycle rider was thrown clear of the site and was sitting on the grass holding his leg.
The lorry driver was slumped in his cab and seeing as he was the most accessible victim (I presume) she went to attend to him first. She ran across the spillage.
Witnessess to the accident reported that the tyres of the truck and the cars underneath were steaming and bubbling. Bits and pieces of wreckage were throthing.
The nurse, fixated with the accident and helping anyone she could, didn’t assess the situation properly.

The nurses shoes began to melt and she started to cough from the fumes. By now she was pretty close to the tanker. The witnesses heard screams as the nurses shoes melted and the acid started to burn through her feet.
Unable to run and overcome by the fumes she fell over.

By the time police and fire arrived there were a few bones left. They collected the fillings, a pelvis and part of her skull for the burial after they made the scene safe

1). Never rush to an accident, even a small one, until you have had time to assess the situation. Even a small thing like being too excited and leaping off your bike or out of your car into traffic coming from behind can ruin your day.

2). Always protect the scene. Drivers are stupid. So stupid that one driver in a country such as the UK, where drivers are generally very switched on, collided with one of these very colourful cars

which was attending an accident with full blue lights flashing, parked across the road in broad daylight.
The driver said he didn’t see it. He was going 60mph on a dead straight road with the police car visible for 1 mile.

I hope I’m not sounding like a know it all here, but these are things which I was taught were good practice. I was also there when that motorist hit the police car. If someone can do that in England, you’re sure as hell they can do it in Taiwan.

Dangermouse -
Thanks for the info, very good points.
A small personal anecdote.
Last week I went to the Chungwah office to pay my tele/internat bill. It was around 1000 hrs and fairly busy, lot of scooters parked on sidewalk and entrance ways to the office.
As I’m leaving I was backwalking my scooter to exit onto the street. Some guy, middle-aged binlang chewing bozo, is in such a hurry that he pushes past my scooter and knocks over 2 others and keeps on walking.
I just shook my head, noticed no one else was going to do anything, so I parked my scooter and got off to pick up the knocked over scooters. As I setting right the 2nd bike the girl who owns its comes up and see’s me picking her scooter up. She looks at her bike and sees that the seat has been torn open by the fall. I think it caught in the centerstand of the other bike whebn it fell.
She immediately starts giving me hell. I just look at her, she gets madder and madder. Other people are now gathering around. One woman who saw the whole episode trys to explain to her what has happened (she speaks a little english-my Chinese is very basic). I have not said hardly anything as of yet. Finally one of the Chungwah security guys walks over, the girl just goes wild on him pointing to me, making gestures and pointing to her torn seat. I then pantomime what happened and the other woman tells him what happened. He asks me to wait one, he goes and gets another security guard.
Now theres 2 of them. They discuss the situation. They tell the woman who speaks a bit of english something. She turns really red in her face and says to me…“They say you should give her NT$2000 for the damage to her seat. Don’t do it.”
I look at both of them, look at the girl, and politely and calmly say…“You are fucking crazy. All I did was pick up the two bikes. I am not giving you a damn thing.”
The woman does a diplomatic translation for them. They once again huddle, tell the girl she’s pushing her luck.
Then they come back to me with, via translator, “OK, she says she will accept NT$200 for the damage to her seat.”
I then look at them and say, once again with a pleasant smile on my face - “No fucking way. I told you both what happened. I am now leaving.”
The woman translated to them and the girl. They started giving the girl hell and then turned to me, spoke in english to me - “OK, we will take care of things here. Have a nice day”
I thanked the woman for her help, made my way the street and rode off just shaking my head. Quite funny actually, but I do feel bad that her seat got torn-up.

Bravo TainanCowboy. You sure handled that in a calm manner. I don’t think I would have been able to control my frustration. Pardon my expression, but I would have slap that f**king biotch. So typical here to blame first and ask questions later.

Very good post. Unfortunately your fighting against the tide and x thousand years of Taiwan culture

The proper procedure is to gawk unless you’re friend or family. For the reasons stated in the above posts, plus the GHOST issue (victim will come back to haunt YOU), do not help in any way or form. If you’re blocking traffic, so much the better, you get a bigger croud. If your the latter; if the victim is incapacitated, then pick victim up by the ankles and arm and sling into taxi. If they are walking wounded, then just stuff into taxi. If they are still under truck/car, and the victim is still obviously alive, do not wait, just back up. If not obviously alive, then do nothing.

Witnessed x times in LuZhou & SanChong. Got so that it felt like combat fatigue - it was inevitable - my number was going to come-up anytime.

Some great tips here especially from Mordeth and Dangermouse. But I can’t agree that people never help others out here.

A friend told me she came across an accident scene. A scooter rider had become trapped under a car. Bystanders tried to lift the car to free him. Other motorists, seeing what was happening, stopped to help too.

I stopped the other day. A woman had been knocked off her scooter. She just had some cuts and bruises, and the police turned up within a minute of me stopping anyway, but she was grateful that I stopped to help.

I agree with MJB: stopping (safely of course) is the right thing to do if at all possible.

It’s interesting to read that some have had negative situations stopping for an accident to help. I’ve asked a few other foreigners if they have ever had one and the ones I asked, not many have.

When I was first here, I was driving one afternoon when this kid ripped past me and about five meters right in front of me he all of a sudden flipped right off of his scooter. He turned to quick, it flung him right up and he went straight down on his head. I quickly stopped as soon as I saw him fly off of his scooter, but it was all so quick all I could do was watch as he hit the pavement and listen to his neck snap. I pulled over and went to the guy, couldn’t have been a day over eighteen, I checked his pulse and there was nothing. I was getting a little pissed seeing everyone fly past as I stood there with a dead kid, I went and picked up his one shoe that flew off and had gotten run over a few times and put it back on his feet, and I pulled his body more close to the side of the road to avoid more accidents.

I spotted this lady and her husband running a little food stand close to where it happened and where I was and motioned for a phone to call someone, they just looked at me and turned away. Getting more pissed by them for ignoring the situation I sat down next to the kid and waited for someone to come so I could try to tell them what happened. A cop on a scooter rolls up, get’s off and instead of going to the kid, he comes right to me. I at the time could only say and understand like five words in Chinese so I asked him if he spoke English. He was looking at, then the kid and he all of a sudden started yelling at me, pointing at the kid and then at me. My understanding didn’t have to be fluent then and there to see I was getting blaimed. I jump up and start yelling back, it was all I felt I could do seeing I tried to help this kid as best as I could and was staying to be a witness to what happened to him, the cop was getting more mad and I figured I was going to be spending the rest of the afternoon in a police station awaiting a translater or lawyer, when all of a sudden the old couple who I asked to call someone came over, started yelling at the cops and saved the day for me. I wasn’t sure what they told him, but the cop looked at me and told me to go. I did and spent the rest of the day brooding over the waste of the kids life and the situation I was in.

It was a terrible thing that happened to the kid to go like that, still later on I have stopped and helped a few other times when I have been close to an accident, none have been as bad as the first luckily, and none have blaimed me when I have. I don’t have a statistic for the amount of people involved in accidents in Taiwan but still, the amount of people on the roads here, most have been in some type of accident at least once, and many still have the mentality of keep going when they see one. I personally would like the cops to explain to me in full details of what happened if they showed up at me door to tell me my kid was dead or for them to be able to tell my family what hapened if I was gone. Were all strangers to someone, but it only takes a moment to stop, check and see if someone is ok or needs help then to ignore them. I have yet to meet anyone from any race, creed or economic background that hasn’t need help some time in there lives. Selfishness only takes you so far till you are in a situation looking around and begging for help in some form or another.