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These ambulances on bikes are saving lives

Paramedics are reaching those in need by pedal power, sometimes quicker than motorized vehicles

Photo by: LAS Cycle Team @LAS_CycleTeam

The London Ambulance Service’s Cycle Response Unit is helping sick people and doing it faster than motorized vehicles can. The unit has been around for two decades, and provides quick attention when it’s too difficult for a car or ambulance to reach people.

This British plumber traded his van for a cargo bike

The cycle response unit has paramedics on bikes and allows them to get through narrow streets, pedestrian-only areas and malls much faster than a motorized vehicle. They can even ride through airports, travelling across Heathrow airport, fully loaded, to treat someone.

The goal of the unit is to reach patients as fast as possible, administering life-saving treatment, as the ambulance heads over. Once stabilized, the patient can then get on an ambulance and head to the hospital.

The paramedics on bike have a custom-built custom-built Specialized Rockhopper, fitted with blue lights and of course, a siren!

Although the capacity for medical equipment is less than an ambulance, the cycle responders still carry a bevy of gear. They carry a defibrillator oxygen, entonox, a pulse monitor, a blood pressure monitor, adult and child bag and mask resuscitators, adrenaline, aspirin, asthma and diabetes drugs, bandages and dressings, rubber gloves, and cleanser.

There are some cities in Canada that have ambulances on bikes, but not the extent of London’s fleet. Regina, for example, added bikes to their team of emergency vehicles. It’s in part to reduce its carbon footprint, and also for accessibility.

“We’re on the bike its small the paramedics are able to interact with people a lot more readily as opposed to being in the ambulance,” Mike Slater, a paramedic with Moose Jaw and District EMS told CTV. “That’s where it provides a very huge benefit.”