Who Is He?

Who Is He?

When I crashed on Tuna Canyon a few years back, once the first-responders arrived they started asking me a battery of questions. One of the questions was whether or not I had lost consciousness. And then the paramedic asked me a doozy.

“Are you sure?”

Fair question, right? I mean, he could verify my name with friends. They could call my wife and verify plenty of other information. But consciousness? There wasn’t anyone present who could back me up. So I told him that it was in my best interest to give him the best information I could. And also that, honestly, I’d prefer to be unconscious.

He took me at my word, more than less.

But what if I had been unconscious? And what if my friends weren’t there. What if I’d been alone? I didn’t have any ID on me. Imagine the news reports on TV. Imagine my poor wife wondering why I hadn’t picked our son up from school.

There have been a number of products that give cyclists a way to carry ID without slipping our driver’s license in our pocket. Road ID has been the most popular so far, but I know some people remain opposed to them due to their connection to Big Tex.

ElevenGear is a company offering an ID with a slightly different take. Their product, Crashtag, is an ID tag cut from titanium and then laser etched with the information you choose to include. Also etched into the tag is a QR code which can be scanned to reveal even more information about you. The upshot is that it’s virtually indestructible.

Crashtag also speaks to one of my personal quirks. It can be worn in a few different ways, none of them being a wrist strap. I don’t like wearing stuff that’s not clothing. I don’t wear a watch unless I’m putting on a suit, and I don’t have any piercings. Hell, it’s a struggle for me to wear a wedding band. So while I wasn’t interested in the ball chain or magnetic lanyard to wear it like a dog tag, there was an option with a 6-inch metal cable with a threaded barrel closure that allows me to attach it to things with me, like my hydration pack, my bike or even my helmet. I could even just stick it in my pocket if I chose.

And in a world where multitasking is king, Crashtag comes with a, “Wait! Don’t answer yet!” Cut into the titanium is a bottle opener. I’m sincerely hoping that I use it more for beer than records. They also offer a shorter version that does away with the opener.

At just $29.90, I should probably buy a half dozen of these and clip them to each of my helmets or saddles. I’ve gone out too many times with too little information about who I was. Crashtag is an easy way for me to rectify that without having to wear something I’m dying to take off.

Final thought: More useful than photo ID.


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    1. Author

      I don’t really want to get into the reference. I don’t want to give anyone else a reason to dislike them. I think they have a great product, but I’ve encountered people passionately opposed to them and I simply wanted to leave some space for that. Acknowledging some readers’ sensitivities without waving a banner is tricky business. I suppose diplomacy always is.

  1. Steven S

    My guess is that some people do not support Road ID because they give a portion of their profits to a non-profit organization founded by an athlete from Texas that fell from grace.

  2. Mike E.

    I have a RoadID, but I use the ankle bracelet…I haven’t worn a watch in over a decade and hate things on my wrist, but I’m already wearing socks and don’t even notice the RoadID is there…half the time I forget to take it off when I stow my shoes in the kit bag and don’t notice I still have it on until I am undressing to shower.

  3. Brian

    I got a RoadID after i was hit by a car riding my road bike, and used it when I was out on my road bike, was of the bike for 3 months. Then a few years later I went to the post office and which was 5 min away on bike, of course I didn’t wear a helmet but it took me a couple of days to get back. I was out cold for over half an hour and still can’t remember what happened, couldn’t do a thing for around 3 months. After that I wear it all time, because you never know what’s going to happen.

  4. Matt Chapek

    I have 3 RoadID’s (the original version that has just the info, no annual subscription) and I’ve cut away the wrist-strap portion of all 3 and glued them (two words here: Shoe Goo) to the Velcro shoe straps on each set of cycling shoes. I figure IF I ever crash bad enough that EMS shows up they will (hopefully) see the ID on my shoe strap (I have red and yellow, so they stand out pretty good) and will thus have my personal info. Also I figure that if I ever crash bad enough that my shoes are gone, then likely the info won’t help much except to identify the body. I like this product, but don’t think I’d care for it strapped anywhere on my helmet, and can’t really figure out a good place to put it that’s sure to be seen by EMS if I’m unconscious. Cool product tho…who doesn’t love Ti? And a bottle opener? BRILLIANT!

    1. Author

      Is it fair to surmise you haven’t moved in a while? It seems like a great idea. However, if I did it, authorities would be sent on a goose chase far worse than wild.

  5. Vagabond Cyclist

    I just always carry my driver’s license–have a small wallet that I uses all the time so I just throw in a waterproof bag and it goes into a rear pocket: even for races. It could get ejected during a crash, but like Padraig I’m not crazy about wearing things around my wrist when cycling. A neck version is appealing, but apparently not enough since I haven’t purchased one yet.

  6. TomInAlbany

    I’d like to hear form someone in the EMT/first responder community about what’s best. From my point of view, it would seem that the bracelet is where they’ll look first for medical conditions. I’m willing to take on some discomfort in the interest of expediency and saving my sorry butt.

    1. Adam

      I’m an EMT student, so I don’t have decades of experience or anything, but I can tell you how this works:

      If a patient is found unresponsive, their clothes are coming off. One of these around your neck or on a bracelet isn’t a bad idea. Helmets and shoes aren’t great because they may be left at the scene. If they are going on a backboard (which you probably will) their shoes are coming off. EMTs will look for a wallet later if there’s no bracelet.

      What they need to know in the ambulance and what I would put on the tag in print:

      Name / DOB
      Allergies: Anything. Food, latex, meds, whatever.
      Medications: Whatever you’re on and dosage, it’s important. Even if it’s just a baby aspirin every day.
      Past medical history: High blood pressure, heart attack 3 years ago, family history of stroke — anything serious. Broke your ankle last year? That doesn’t matter.

      Sorta useful:

      ICE Contact: Not a bad idea, but it isn’t going to save your life.. Only put it on there if you have room.
      Preferred hospital: This is more useful for a medical emergency than a trauma, especially if you have any ongoing care with a certain doctor/facility that would be good to know.

      Not important:

      Where you live. They will figure that out later. They’re not taking you home.
      Insurance info. Same reasoning.
      Organ donor. Chances are minuscule this will be a factor. I wouldn’t bother putting it on there.
      Blood type. Waste of space. Ambulances don’t carry blood, and NO ONE will give you blood without testing your blood type first. Basically they’re not going to trust a little tag because if it’s wrong, you die.
      DNR / Advanced directive. If you carry one around with you, you could put a note on there I guess, but EMTs will always perform treatment unless a valid DNR with a physicians signature is shoved in their face right away.

  7. Scott

    I use the Road ID web app, which serves as my lock screen. In event of a crash I’m fairly certain someone will pick up my phone and the contact info is right there. I also wear at least one and sometimes two actual Road IDs (wrist and neck – long story short, bad accident, medivac, they covered up my wrist Road ID with the hospital band, which didn’t have any info on it)

    1. Adam

      *This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor.*

      Neck and wrist are good for vitals. (See my other post)
      I’d recommend ICE contacts and “long-term” info on the phone like insurance or whatever. Basically don’t assume anyone is going to see it for a very long time. Hey, a phone can get damaged in a crash too, don’t forget.

      Think of it this way: Patient is found unresponsive on the side of the road. EMS is going to strap them to a spine board and hook them up to the cardiac monitor, possibly oxygen, and get them undressed. Patient’s shoes/helmet/phone/pockets/etc. will either be left at the scene or buried on the floor of the ambulance. As they scream at 60 mph to the hospital they are NOT going to be digging through the patient’s stuff trying to find a phone, especially if the patient is critical. There is likely only one paramedic in the back with the patient, and one driving. They are kind of busy. When they will go looking for phone/wallet/ID/whatever, is in the emergency department when they have the patient stabilized and start wondering who the heck they are.

      Worth noting: For a trauma patient not many of these details aren’t even that important. However if a patient has a medical emergency (heart attack, etc.) on a ride, they can be crucial. For example, if the patient took so much as a Viagra last night (lucky gent!), well now they can’t give him nitro for his chest pain. That kind of info can save a life.

      *This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor.*

    2. Adam

      Man I can’t type today, sorry.
      Correction: For a trauma patient, many of these details aren’t even that important. Treatment is going to be largely the same no matter what.

    3. Scott

      Thanks Adam – my strategy is really three-fold. The wrist ID is for fellow cyclists, the phone app lock screen is for non cyclist passerbys,, and the necklace is for EMS.. It surprised me that my hospital band covered up my wrist Road ID and referred to me as “WM54557”, but thought maybe that was HIPPA related? I also thought that since I have the “slim” version they may have assumed it was a “Lance type” band and ignored it, which is why I got the necklace version

  8. Mike

    I have a Road ID that I wear every day. I found that if I don’t wear it all the time, I almost always forget to put it on before a ride. Also, I spoke with a friend who is an EMT and he said that they are trained to look for some type of ID right away. He really liked the idea of a Road ID because it would be easy to see and find, although any type of ID is better than none.

  9. cb

    I like the crashtag and am considering getting one but have a simple solution that I have been using for years. Get an index card, write or print critical info on it, cut to minimum size, laminate with clear packing tape (overlap past the edges of the index card), put in pocket when heading out for a ride. Heck, make 10 of them at once so you always have a spare if one doesn’t survive the laundry. The only downside to this is whether or not a random roadside responder will think to look in back jersey pocket for ID.

    1. John Borstelmann

      That’s weird; I thought I just posted a comment. I have always used a sticky address label with ncessary info inside my helmet for years. No cost. Adam’s info is valuable.

  10. JHSteve

    Pet ID tags could easily have the necessary emergency information for a fraction of the cost of the ones you mentioned above. Most pet ID tags I have seen are less than $4 and they last a long time.

  11. TomInAlbany

    Thanks for your input, Adam. I assume first responders always look for a medic alert bracelet firstish – obviously if they can since things like a latex allergy can alter what they do – unless they all have given up latex gloves, that is…

    1. Adam

      They pretty much have. It’s extremely unlikely you’ll ever see latex gloves any more. Now they are all nitrile. It’s still good info to know though.

  12. Kevin


    Glad I read your second post. This is what I’ve always thought.
    If I (mid 30s, ectomorph in spandex) go down and lose consciousness, its most likely going to be the result of a collision with the road or a motor vehicle. The first responders aren’t going to assume that I had a cardiac event and THEN got all bloodied up. I have no allergies and don’t take any medications. Are there any treatments for traumatic injury that an EMT would only consider after knowing that the roadID/med bracelet, dog tag etc is entirely negative for medical information?

    Sure, I could have a heart attack or stroke at my age and health, but its not terribly likely.

    Any ER physicians or RNs around to weigh in on how the hospital staff would alter their treatment?

  13. Tim Guthrie

    Great reminder. I just bought a new dog-tag style from well known outfit based near Cincinnati (very local to me).


  14. Mark Green

    I asked my son about this as he is a firefighter and has responded to more than one accident involving a cyclist. First off, if the victim is seriously injured and unresponsive they will look for ID and the more obvious it is the better. Shoes are not the best place to have your ID as they will often be removed and won’t stay with you. Making your blood type obvious is a good idea. I like Rick’s stuff and the Crashtag looks like a good product but if it was me I would want it on my body in some way. Maybe around the neck or wrist. I have a ROAD ID and just realized that without a phone or internet connection its of little value. A couple of years ago we were riding the Fondo and on the road from Occidental out to the River we came across a guy laying face down in the road unconscious. He was fortunate because my son was with me and another guy showed up at the same time who was a paramedic. We DID not have cell coverage out there so my Road ID would have been useless. While the hospital may call the number on my ID the first responders and ambulance likely will not.

    I’ll be changing my ID to have more pertinent information available to the first responders.

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