Blood bikes is the informal name for a type of emergency medical service in the United Kingdom and Ireland, who provide voluntary motorcycle courier services to hospitals and other healthcare providers, to help with the transport of urgent blood, tissue and organs.
Blood bikes have been in operation since the establishment of the 'Freewheelers' action group in Stevenage, England in 1969. They initially served hospitals in Stevenage, Luton, Dunstable, Bedford and Hitchin. This original group is no longer operating, but they inspired other groups to provide a similar service.
The second group, which still operates today, was the Yeovil Freewheelers, founded in 1978, and this was followed by SERV in 1981. Other groups followed, with new groups continuing to be created. In Scotland one of the newest Groups to achieve Charitable status are Lifesavers Scotland.
Groups are largely independent, and operate in collaboration with their local healthcare providers, but most are represented through the National Association of Blood Bikes (NABB).
List of current groups
There are a number of groups currently operating:
- England and Wales
Blood Bikes Wales - South and West Wales
- Cornwall Freewheelers — Cornwall
- Devon Freewheelers — Devon
- Freewheelers EVS — Somerset, Bristol, Bath, West Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire
- Midland Freewheelers — West Midlands
- North West Blood Bikes Manchester
- North West Blood Bikes Lancs & Lakes
- Northumbria Blood Bikes - Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham
- Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes - Nottinghamshire
- SERV — Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Northamptonshire, London, Oxfordshire, South Wiltshire, Surrey, Sussex, Suffolk
- Severn Freewheelers — Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire
- Shropshire & Staffordshire Blood Bikes
- White Knights EVS — North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Cleveland
- Yeovil Freewheelers — Somerset, Dorset
- ScotsERVS - Scotland, all areas
- Blood Bike West (Ireland) — Western Region
- Blood Bike East (Ireland) — Eastern Region
- Blood Bike Leinster (Ireland) Mid Leinster Region
- "Top award for volunteer couriers". BBC News. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "Chairman congratulates 'unsung heroes' who help transport blood to injured patients". Press Release. Bath and North East Somerset Council. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
- "Operational Blood Bike Groups". National Association of Blood Bikes.
4. ^A day in the life of Blood Bike Leinster Dec 12, 2013 Mag Ireland