National Bike to Work Day
This Friday, May 18, 2012 is National Bike to Work Day, and that got us thinking about cycling safety, particularly about ICE (In Case of Emergency) IDs for cyclists.
What’s an ICE ID?
ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency.” Whereas people with allergies, illnesses, and medical conditions wear their ID jewelry as medical ID jewelry, people without these issues often choose to wear ID so that they can be identified and their family notified quickly in case of an emergency. ICE IDs are a particularly good idea for people who are often outdoors and very active, those who live or travel alone, and small children who may panic when lost and forget their parents’ phone numbers.
Last week, I caught up with Ian, a northern California cyclist who wears an ICE ID and insists his son wear one as well.
Tara: Why do you wear an ICE ID?
Ian: As an active person, accidents happen. Period. I’ve been fortunate enough in all of my accidents to maintain consciousness, but I’ve been lucky. An ICE ID is cheap insurance. It gives me and my family a little peace of mind knowing that I’m going to be identified quickly, and they’ll be notified quickly, should anything happen to me.
Tara: Do most cyclists you know wear ICE IDs or medical IDs?
Ian: Any time I meet someone – cyclist, runner, mountain biker, whatever – and I get a little bit comfortable with them, I ask them [whether they wear an ICE ID]. And I'd say that for the most part, the answer is “no.”
Tara: But you always wear one?
Ian: Yes. There are people who are super cavalier about that stuff. But as a parent, I just can't be. I have to think about my family. There are a lot of things that can go wrong as a cyclist … the most obvious being collisions with cars … I know plenty of people who've had collisions with cars, and some of those people went to the hospital. Fortunately, most of them had other people with them who knew who they were, but even your close friends don't necessarily know your allergies, they don't … necessarily know who your medical proxy is, even if they're your best friend. Cyclists are often far from home. They're off riding at odd times. So, wearing an ID, it's kind of a no-brainer.
Tara: So, you always wear an ICE ID as a cyclist, and much of that has to do with being a parent. You mentioned your son also wears an ICE ID. Would you tell me a little about that?
Ian: Kai is eight now. When he was five, almost six, we had a scary moment when he wasn’t picked up from school and neither [his mother nor I] knew where he was. Kai couldn’t remember his own phone numbers, and it was the most terrifying moment of my life. So, after that, I decided that I wanted him to have ID on him all the time with our phone numbers on it so that he would have a constant reference.
Tara: How does Kai feel about wearing an ICE ID?
Ian: It was a little difficult to get him to wear it at first, and we had to find a way that he would actually wear it and not take it off. He was five when that all happened, and now he’s 8, and he still can’t remember his phone numbers, so I feel better with him wearing it.
Tara: What would you say to other parents who don’t necessarily think to have their children wear medical or ICE IDs because their children have no health issues?
Ian: I’d say, it’s a really good idea because you never know what’s going to happen to your kid. And you’re not going to be with them 24 hours a day, and even when you are, you can’t control everything. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, why not?