The bikers’ voluntary work has helped save many lives while also saving the taxpayer a lot of money since coming into existence five years ago.
It’s the middle of the night, it’s cold and it’s raining. The phone rings with news that an urgent package needs transporting between two hospitals. It could be blood, blood products, breast milk, test results or even transplant related tissue. It’s time for the Blood Bikers to come into their own.
Blood Bikes is a charitable organisation, established by motorcycle enthusiasts who extend their love of bikes to make a real valuable contribution to their local communities by helping to save lives. They transport urgent medical supplies between hospitals
and clinics around the country free of charge. Hospitals previously had to rely on expensive taxis or couriers to transfer urgent medical supplies out of normal office hours but since coming into existence five years ago the Blood Bikers’ volunteer their time to carry out this service so that the money
saved could be re-directed into other primary care areas.
Drawing inspiration from a similar service in the UK and also by a popular Channel 5 TV
series at the time called ‘Emergency Bikers,’ a group of bikers in Galway set about organising fundraisers, obtained two ex-police motorcycles which were adapted with customised livery and the Blood Bikes West group was officially launched in early 2012.
A chance meeting during an annual cross-Ireland, Dublin to Galway charity ride-out in the summer of 2012, between one of the founder members of Blood Bikes West, Mike Carty and another biking enthusiast, Pat McCabe, resulted in the forming of Blood Bikes East in October 2012. Following that Blood Bikes Leinster was formed in April, 2013, Blood Bikes South in May, 2013 and Blood Bikes Mid-West later that year. This led to the establishment of the Association of Blood Bikes Ireland, allowing for even better coordination and improved promotion of the valuable work that they do.
Today, the various Blood Bike groups work together by linking up on runs to deliver supplies across the country ranging from bloods and tissues samples, scans, emergency equipment (arterial bleed kits, scanner parts etc.) reagents, sometimes medication and very importantly the transportation of breast milk from both the Breast Milk Bank in Enniskillen, as well as directly between different SCBU’s on an individual need basis.
The Blood Bike Groups receive no State funding and their work is entirely done by volunteers through social and fun events, corporate sponsorship and by tapping into the generosity of the Irish public. They are operated by a dedicated number of volunteers with skills from Admin, IT, fundraising, controllers as well as the riders themselves. Training of the volunteer riders is key and Blood Bikes commit themselves to making sure they are trained to RoSPA standard (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents) and assessed by An Garda Siochana members.