Blood Bikers: The Unsung Heroes & their vital service – words Amy Turnbull
As a chance to get out on the open road and blow away the cobwebs, riding our motorbikes is a much-loved pastime for many. However, it’s a very different story for Blood Bikers.
They are a vital community of volunteers who carry urgent medical supplies across the country. Here, motorcycle helmet retailer Custom Lids shines the spotlight on these two-wheeled heroes.
The UK was recently named the third most congested European country. With much traffic to contend with, Blood Bikers navigate busy streets on their narrow, agile bikes. All 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. They are though responsive around the clock.
In total, there are 27 individual member Blood Biker groups across the UK. They have a total of 2,870 unpaid volunteers working towards the common goal. That is 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. This clearly illustrates how growing NHS pressure is making Blood Bikers increasingly important.
The importance of Blood Bikers
In a world where the NHS is constantly battling rising costs and limited budgets, keeping costs down is high on the list of priorities. 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.
In addition, transporting medical supplies isn’t the main priority for taxi drivers. 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. This is something Blood Bikers deliver.
The size of taxis and courier vans can also prove problematic. Unlike Blood Bikes, they’re more likely to get caught up in taffic on British roads, which could delay the arrival even further.
The lifeblood of blood bikers
It is evident that Blood Bikers’ role in society is critical. 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.
Displaying high-visibility markings to ensure they can be easily identified, each Blood Bike is owned by the group. 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.
Despite Blood Bikers being asked to provide some of their own uniform, the group supplies many key items 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.
Labelled the unsung heroes, it’s clear that Blood Bikers and their volunteer motorcycle riders play a vital role. 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 such as Blood Bikes North West and Blood Bike vacancies visit the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes website to find the contact information you need.