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article imageIrish bikers rev up Blood Bikes for new emergency blood service

By Robert Myles     Apr 2, 2013 in World
The Irish Republic is still trying to recover from the financial crisis which cast the nation’s banking system and with it the Irish economy into turmoil in 2008, but a group of Irish bikers are making their own contribution to Ireland’s recovery.
Ireland remains a nation suffering from high unemployment and deep public expenditure cuts in the wake of the financial crisis five years ago but a group of around 70 bikers decided to make their own effort to help the nation. On learning that Ireland’s health service, the Health Service Executive, was incurring taxi charges in excess of an estimated €20 million per year transporting blood supplies and other emergency medical supplies around the country, the bikers have started an emergency blood service in the east of the country staffed entirely by volunteers.
So successful was an initial scheme in the west of Ireland, called Blood Bike West, which was set up by volunteer bikers last October, that steps have now been taken to roll out a similar scheme in the province of Leinster in the east of Ireland.
This Friday will see Blood Bike East take to the highways and byways of Leinster, the Irish province that encompasses the capital, Dublin. Speaking to, Blood Bank East founder Pat McCabe said, “We're just trying to put a bit back into society. We're just trying to cut the bit of the hospitals' budget that goes into taxi services. It's the one thing that we as volunteers can do."
Both Blood Bike East and its sister organisation Blood Bike West are charitable bodies staffed entirely by volunteers. Biker couriers are carefully vetted and each organisation transports blood, blood products, breast milk, x-rays and test samples and results between hospitals and blood clinics in their respective areas.
Blood Bike East volunteers getting ready to take to the roads of Leinster in Ireland
Blood Bike East volunteers getting ready to take to the roads of Leinster in Ireland
By permission - Blood Bike East, Ireland
Blood Bike East has adopted the same positive ethos encapsulated on the Blood Bike West website. Instead of the stereotypical big hairy leather clad biker, pelting along at scary speeds, both groups aim to promote good practice from their entire complement of volunteer motor-cyclists. All courier volunteers are required to go through rigorous advanced riding qualifications before being let loose on a Blood Bike. Both Blood Bikes and their riders are highly visible on Ireland’s roads with the day-glo bike colours being matched by the high visibility biking gear of the volunteer riders.
The high visibility of both blood bike and volunteer has the added bonus of raising the volunteer organisations’ public profiles. According to the Blood Bike West website, when the Irish public see Blood Bike Riders carrying out their blood collections or deliveries, they are amazed the organisations exist and are enthusiastic about the work carried out by volunteers.
The new service operated by Blood Bike East officially starts in Leinster this coming Friday, April 5. Blood Bike West now has its own Facebook page as does the new organisation Blood Bank East.
More about Health Service Ireland, Blood Bikes, Irish blood bikes, Bikers, Biking
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