Review by Joe Michaud
[Medic Alert Tags for Motorcyclists was originally published in the December 2009 issue of Rider magazine]
The average age of the riding population is creeping up, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. As we age, our health concerns rise. How many of us require daily medications? And, of those who do, how would those meds affect us—and our care—should an emergency occur?
I have recently been prescribed some medications which can impact emergency responders and the care they may need to provide me. We all understand that motorcycling has some inherent dangers, and in the event of a serious problem some medical data may need to be known. How can we be sure that important data will be available regardless of our condition?
There are medical alert products that provide such peace of mind. Some are passive…that is, they require written notations carried in a wallet or inside a medic alert object. Some are more high-tech with a USB connection that can be opened with any Windows-based computer. Many ER responders have laptop facilities on board.
SOS Alert Products provided three products for our review. One is a simple plastic bracelet called Emergency ID Bracelet on which written information can be added with any ball-point pen. It has spaces for name, medical condition, emergency contacts, relationship and phone number. Once the ink is dry, this wristband is waterproof.
SOS Alert LifeBand Dog Tag is also waterproof. It looks like a simple military dog tag, but closer examination reveals a hollow space inside between the two plates that contains a medical form for appropriate information. It comes with a neck chain.
The Lifeband Silicone Bracelet is a rubber wristband not unlike the various wristbands for charities, etc. It does have a metal front piece with the medical caduceus symbol, the universal symbol for medical information. This wristband has a notation that says “See Wallet Card.” Important information can be added or changed as needed on the card.
Three high-tech products came from UTAG in England. They use USB chips to store up to four pages of information. One page is open to anyone with a computer. Three additional pages are password protected on which personal or sensitive data can be stored. The first page has spaces for personal ID including a photo, doctor contact info, all meds, allergies, blood type and medical insurance information. The three protected pages can be filled with anything else necessary. If you travel, you could add a passport scan, a travel itinerary, a driver’s license or further medical information. This encrypted data can be instantly auto-translated into Italian, German, French, Dutch, Spanish or Portuguese, depending on one’s travel plans.
UTAG Dog Tag comes with a neck chain and a water-resistant rubber seal. It is listed as water and dust resistant. Also provided was a UTAG “Micro Tag,” a wristband with hook-and-loop closure. This has a USB device and medic alert logos prominently displayed. The USB device can be removed and worn as a neck tag. I also looked at the UTAG ICE card. This is a similar USB device but in a credit card size for wallet use. All three products came with helmet stickers that tell any responders that medical alert info is carried by the rider. A nice touch.
UTAG products are used by the Renault F1 team as well as MotoGP riders Nicky Hayden and Chris Vermeulen. Their products were developed specifically for motorcyclists by former British military personnel for civilian use.
Medical mistakes happen. Riding is inherently dangerous. Wearing these products gives me (and my family) peace of mind.