Motorcycle Paramedics: Should America Use Them?

In the United States, emergency medicine is alive and well. As with many systems, however, there is always room for improvement and advancement. One of those advancements is the use of motorcycles. On one hand, paramedics showing up on a two-wheeled vehicle may seem like a step back from what is needed. After all, there would be no capability for transporting a patient and the amount of equipment that could be carried on a motorcycle would pale in comparison to what will fit on an ambulance. Despite these limitations, the motorcycle, as used in European emergency medicine, has increased patient survivability.

One of the primary things emergency medicine can do for a patient is beginning treatment sooner rather than later. The second thing to be done is either getting the patient to a hospital quickly or making the determination that the patient doesn’t need transportation via ambulance under local protocols and ending EMS care on scene.

EMT BikeIn the case of a patient not needing ambulance transport to a hospital, the motorcycle really shines. Nationwide, about 20% of 911 calls are non-emergent and do not require the use of emergency medicine calls. Being that it is impossible to tell which calls are non-emergent and which ones are, EMS crews respond to every call. Should the patient not be taken to a medical facility, the patient won’t be billed, meaning every penny used on that call will come from tax dollars for city run services and out of the pocket of future patients for private, non-tax funded, ambulance companies in the form of higher rates billed. If a motorcycle responds first and can determine that the patient does not need an ambulance, one paramedic operating a fuel efficient vehicle is used rather than an ambulance with a minimum of two workers driving at least one truck the guzzles gas by the gallons, keeping costs lower.

The remaining 80% of calls that involve transport can still be helped by having motorcycle medics available. In many cases, a paramedic on scene capable of providing advanced life support quickly is very important. The sooner a medic can arrive, the better chance of survival the patient has. While the ambulance is snaking its way through rush hour traffic, the motorcycle can race to the scene and begin CPR or other life-saving procedures. By the time the ambulance arrives on scene, the motorcycle medic can have placed an I.V. in the patient and have them ready for transport. Should it turn out that the patient does not need an ambulance, the motorcycle medic can cancel them en route, saving money and time while leaving an ambulance in service that can provide care to a patient who does need the service.

One of the main benefits Australia noticed from the use of motorcycle EMS was that when a call took the providers to an area off road, such as parks, hiking trails, and remote homes, the motorcycle could bypass anti-vehicle pillars, travel down narrow paths, and access docks and bridges incapable of supporting the weight of an ambulance to begin treatment of a patient while the ambulance crew walk the remaining distance with a gurney to move the patient. This, again, reduced the patient’s wait time for care to begin.

While there are a few localities in America that use such services, it is far from widespread, which is a shame. By using such services, we can save our cities and patients money while losing less as medical providers, render faster care and bring a new level of service to the field.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt
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2 thoughts on “Motorcycle Paramedics: Should America Use Them?

  1. I do believe in the use of motorcycles for EMS. I work for the PR State EMS and they can travel faster, get there quicker, start meds faster than an ambulance or other first response unit. Here where traffic is the order of the day, using these units, the response time is less than half of an ambulance, plus they can go to non- emergencies so that the ambulance can go to those cases where it’s needed. God bless those angels on two wheels!

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