london bicycle unit speeds medical response

velojoy street scene

Bicycles provide fast and efficient transportation, so why not use them to extend the reach of motorized ambulance service?

While wandering the back courts at Wimbledon in London on Tuesday, I met (above, from left) Gabriel and Alastair, volunteers manning the London District Cycle Response Unit of the St John Ambulance. This radio-dispatched team can speed to medical emergencies on the Wimbledon grounds to render medical treatment or stabilize patients until an ambulance arrives. Their Specialized Hardrock mountain bikes are fitted with custom-designed panniers stocked with equipment for resuscitation, pain relief and first aid. EMS Star of Life bike bells (below) stand in for sirens. (Note to the United States Tennis Association: What a great idea for the U.S. Open.)

On Monday, when temperatures at Wimbledon reached the high 80s F., the ambulance service tallied its highest single-day number of calls on record: 247, mostly heat-related.

According to the St John Ambulance website, 42 volunteers staff six first aide posts to provide care to visitors from around the world who crowd The Championships. St John is a not-for-profit organization that teaches first aid to community volunteers and provides ambulance service to large public events.

photos: velojoy

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