Motorcyclists and emergency healthcare

Most of us when hearing ‘emergency healthcare’ and ‘motorcyclist’ in the same sentence would assume the worst and expect the motorcyclist to have been involved in some sort of road accident. Unfortunately this is far too often the case and backed up by the alarming statistics that although they are only 1% of road traffic, they account for around 20% of road deaths and serious injuries.

Fortunately however, their association with healthcare doesn’t end there. In the UK, motoring organisations use motorcycles in major cities and in remote areas to get quick access to incidents, such as helping stranded drivers and their passengers out of potential danger and back on their way often before the breakdown van could arrive (although clearly motorcycles are not much good for towing). There are also the brightly coloured (Battenburg) emergency services or police motorbikes, and a class of un-marked bikers you don’t necessarily see, who are riding around for the good of us all.

Many fire officers choose the bike over the car to get to their pump unhindered when called out, especially at peak times, as motorcycles are more able to get through traffic quickly by the nature of their size and agility over any other powered vehicle.

More directly relating to emergency healthcare, there’s the motorcycle paramedics who are highly trained in their field and also hold a police class 1 riding license. They are called as first responders to RTC’s and other trauma incidents and are invariably first on scene carrying essential life preserving tools & medication. When trauma is involved seconds count. The additional time for an ambulance to arrive may be the difference between saving a life and, well, not.

To complement the paid services of these knights of the road all around the UK, there are regional groups of volunteers who are generally known as Blood bikers. These groups organise the collection and delivery of blood, blood products and donor breast milk through the night by volunteers on their own un-marked machines, at their own cost, to help save the NHS paying millions of pounds to local taxi firms. Blood bikers have been around since the 1960s but have continuously grown and now cover almost the entire British Isles through the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikers. Our local group is SERV Suffolk & Cambridgeshire. What I find equally warming is that collectively, biker groups of all kinds, all ages, styles and sizes raise millions of pounds every year for life saving charities, hospices and care centres. One that springs to mind and which is heavily supported by SERV, as well as several local bike groups and clubs, is the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

And if all that isn’t enough to love thy biker, there’s always the chap on his moped who will bring you that lifesaving pizza on a Saturday night, on time or your pizza’s free.

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