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 1962 when Margaret Ryerson formed the "Emergency Volunteer Service" (E.V.S.) in Surrey, South London, England. This was followed by the 'Freewheelers' action group in Stevenage, England in 1969 who initially served hospitals in Stevenage, Luton, Dunstable, Bedford and Hitchin. These originals groups are no longer operating, but they inspired other groups to provide a similar service.
The third group, which still operates today, was the Yeovil Freewheelers, founded in 1978, and this was followed by SERV in 1981 (SERV formed shortly after E.V.S. disbanded also in Surrey, South London). Other groups followed, with new groups continuing to be created.
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
- Leicestershire and Rutland Blood Bikes
- Lincolnshire Emergency Blood Bikes Service
- 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
- Blood Bike Leinster (Ireland) 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.