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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 23:58 GMT 00:58 UK
Paramedics take to pedal power
Ambulance bicycle makes its way through the busy streets of London
Bikes will free ambulances for serious incidents
London paramedics plan to beat the capital's traffic jams by using a fleet of bicycles.

The Cycle Response Unit - which is led by a former European BMX champion - is being launched on Wednesday after a successful trial two years ago in the West End.

A team of three ambulance technicians and three paramedics will patrol the streets during the summer in their specially adapted mountain bikes to attend non-life threatening 999 calls.

If it is successful the London Ambulance Service (LAS) will consider continuing the service through the winter.

Ambulances diverted

The bicycles will be sent to answer calls at the same time as normal ambulances.

They are fitted with blue lights and sirens and have panniers carrying life-saving equipment.

Previous trials in an area around Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Soho and Covent Garden found the bikes arrived at 88% of calls before normal ambulances.

A third were able to cancel the ambulance, meaning the vehicle could be diverted to more serious incidents.

'Saves lives'

The scheme is the brainchild of former BMX UK and European champion, Tom Lynch, who has been an ambulance technician for nine years.

He carried out the trial and trained the other members of the team.

He said: "The main thing about bicycle ambulances is that they enable us to get to a job very quickly, especially in the heavy traffic of central London.

"To us every second counts and this can help save lives."


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See also:

09 Jul 02 | England
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