As reported in Israel21C, Israel’s national ambulance, blood-services, and disaster-relief organization (Magen David Adom – MDA) recently launched a new emergency response unit called “Life Riders” that consists of emergency response personnel being equipment with electric bicycles (“e-bikes”).
Each of the 1000 members of the voluntary unit is provided with resuscitation equipment and other medical supplies such as batteries for AED devices and can be summoned to scenes within a radius of 10-kilometers as first responders. The additional of e-bikes will allow unit members to reach very crowded areas, or areas where ambulances and Medicycles can’t drive through, such as boardwalks, markets and alleys.
Life Riders marks the first time electric bikes have been used for first response anywhere on an organized basis. The idea is that they can maneuver in tight spots better than motorcycles and ambulances.
“MDA has a wide variety of lifesaving vehicles compatible with a variety of scenes and conditions. In order to cut emergency response times, we’ve decided to integrate electric bikes into our array of vehicles – something that’s unheard of in any other EMS organization around the world,” said Eli Bin, MDA Director General.
MDA first piloted the electric-bike squad near the light-rail construction zones in Tel Aviv, the Bat Yam boardwalk and the market in Petah Tikva.
“As a volunteer in the Old City, we often face alleyways and narrow streets where regular ambulances can barely reach,” said Yosef Kasuto, an MDA emergency medical technician who lives in the Old City of Jerusalem. “The new bikes will definitely help us save more lives.”