For many of us, motorbikes are our weekend pleasure. They’re a chance to get out on the open road and blow away the cobwebs at our leisure. However, it’s a very different story for Blood Bikers, a vital community of volunteers who carry urgent medical supplies across the country.
With the UK the third most congested European country, Blood Bikers navigate busy streets on their narrow, agile bikes to deliver vital supplies such as blood, platelets and breast milk to hospitals. They primarily work during the night as stand-ins for daytime NHS workers, although they are responsive around the clock.
According to the National Association of Blood Bikes, there are 27 individual member groups across the UK, with a total of 2,870 unpaid volunteers working towards the common goal; to deliver vital supplies to hospitals when they are needed most. In fact, in 2015, UK Blood Bikers answered over 39,000 requests from the NHS. In 2013, this figure stood 4,000 lower at 35,000, clearly illustrating how growing NHS pressure is making Blood Bikers increasingly important.
Motorcycle helmet retailer Custom Lids is one company which offers a discount to this invaluable service – they have looked into the service to reveal just how invaluable their work is.
Benefits of Blood Bikers
Keeping costs down is a priority for the NHS. In a world where it seems like costs are continually on the up, Blood Bikers deliver a completely free service to the NHS. Without them, the health organisation would have to pay taxis and couriers to transport the supplies, adding extra costs to the NHS’s already long list of expenses.
Depending on taxis also raises another issue; transporting medical supplies isn’t their main priority. If there are life-threatening situations where hospitals are depending on these vital supplies to save lives, the NHS can’t afford to be queued up behind nightclub drop-offs and home pick-ups. Time is of the essence and urgency is required — something Blood Bikers deliver.
Likewise, further delays may arise with the size of taxis and courier vans. Unlike Blood Bikes, they’re more likely to get caught up in congestion on British roads, which could delay the arrival even further.
Supporting Blood Bikers
Clearly, Blood Bikers play a vital role in our society. Because they provide their services for free, Blood Bikers are 100% reliant on donations, whether from public fundraising activities to contributions from charitable groups and local companies.
Each Blood Bike is owned by the group and display high-visibility markings to ensure they can be easily identified. They have been modified to offer increased protection from adverse weather conditions and increased luggage capacity for their vital supplies. Personal bikes cannot be used.
Although Blood Bikers are asked to provide some of their uniform themselves, key items are supplied by the groups themselves. However, this is an additional expense that could impact the charity’s performance. As such, many companies offer discounts for Blood Bikers to reduce costs and maintain this vital service.
They may be the unsung heroes, but there’s no denying that Blood Bikers play a pivotal role in our society. Whether you become a biker yourself or donate to this worthwhile cause, show your support for your local Blood Bikers today — who knows, you could rely on them one day.
To donate to your local group, visit the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes website to find the contact information you need.