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In the worlds of film and television, a motorcycle riding hero tends to fall closer to the “loner, plays by his own rules, uneasy relationship with authority” end of the spectrum. Real life motorcycle heroes tend to BE the authority, a group of riders who use their machines to help keep us safe and pick up the pieces when things go wrong. Bikesure, the Freethinking insurance broker takes a look at how motorbikes help the emergency services save lives.

"Motorcycle paramedic London Ambulance Service" by Derek Blackadder from Cobourg, ON, Canada - IMG_3162. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - paramedics

The sooner medical treatment is able to begin after an accident, the better the patient’s chances of a full recovery. Motorbikes are far better at making fast progress through busy cities than cars or ambulances, enabling paramedics to cut that vital time to first response by a significant degree. In recent years Channel 5 broadcast “Emergency Bikers”, which raised public awareness of their work and the dangers it can involve.

Medical couriers

Every night of the year, a national network of volunteers waits to transport urgently required blood, tissue samples and other vital medical supplies between hospitals. The National Association of Blood Bikes is a coalition of charities that provides a free courier service to the NHS outside of work hours. Blood can only be stored for transport for a maximum of 4 hours, making every second count when moving it between hospitals. Blood bikes have doubtless saved many lives since they were started in 1969 and provide an invaluable service to the NHS and the country.

"West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service fire bike" by Tom O'Connor from London, UK - Fire Bike!Uploaded by Ultra7. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - Bikes

Since 2010, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service became the first fire service in the UK to deploy fire bikes equipped to fight fires. The specially adapted touring bikes are fitted with two foam-and-water canisters and a 30-metre hose in order to fight small fires, thus freeing up the fire engines for larger cases. While a few other authorities use motorcycles in some form or another, the UK is lagging behind other countries in using bikes as fully operational fire engines. Fire services in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong deploy motorcycles as their size and manoeuvrability makes them ideal for a high intensity urban environment.

Police Bikes"Bedfordshire Police Motorcycle" by Acather96 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

The use of motorcycles by the Police took off with the advent of motorways. As with the other services already mentioned, bikes allow officers to bypass stationary traffic or other holdups and get where they need to faster even than a patrol car with its blues and twos on. The Historic Police Motorcycle Group is the place to go if you want to discover more about the many different models used by the police, not just in the UK but around the world.