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.
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.
Why use a bike? #Paramedic Hayley was able to cycle across the #heathow terminal getting 70kg of medical equipment to the plane door treating a sick patient quickly. That’s why! Fantastic work Hayley! #TeamLAS @HeathrowAirport #heathrowairport #London #mondaythoughts pic.twitter.com/lyIQY0Hih3
— LAS Cycle Team (@LAS_CycleTeam) August 8, 2022
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.
This bike cycled 1.5 miles to a 999 call for chest pain, carried out checks and an ECG👉diagnosed a heart attack, cannulated and gave treatment. Ambulance arrived and patient was ready to go to hospital. Wow- what a pre-hospital experience and life saving work! #sundayvibes #NHS pic.twitter.com/XkgAWDsy8W
— LAS Cycle Team (@LAS_CycleTeam) August 7, 2022
The paramedics on bike have a custom-built custom-built Specialized Rockhopper, fitted with blue lights and of course, a siren!
And that’s a wrap! The awesome Amelia & Patrick are going back to their #TeamLAS roles after their secondment with @LAS_CycleTeam has ended. Thank you both for your enthusiasm, positivity and generally being great!#FridayFeeling #Paramedic #Cycle #fridaymorning #London pic.twitter.com/iL9S97W53R
— LAS Cycle Team (@LAS_CycleTeam) August 5, 2022
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.
The bike ambulance is apparently preferred as a 4 wheeler can’t go to small villages. So instead of having 108 ambulances on main roads, we have these jugaads running around with no paramedic and poor suspension carrying patients. pic.twitter.com/JBrOTdP6e5
— Niks (@niks_1985) July 23, 2022
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.”