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Riding to the rescue

November 19, 2017

Road relief

Road relief:  The First Aid Bicycle Team rides to an accident scene to provide first aid, reducing the workload of ambulances and hospitals.

Fully equipped

Fully equipped:  Auxiliary Medical Service Operations & Training Officer Lee Kai-yin shows the medical gear carried by team members.

Volunteer work

Volunteer work:  Team members David Ma (right) and Charity Lui (centre) patrol a cycling track in Tai Po.

Expanding operations

Expanding operations:  Auxiliary Medical Service Staff Officer Leung Chung-bo says the team will grow to meet demand from the building of more cycling tracks.

Cycling in the countryside is a popular pastime in Hong Kong. However, accidents can happen and riders can get hurt. When they do, swift help is at hand thanks to a benevolent crew of fellow cyclists.

 

The Auxiliary Medical Service First Aid Bicycle Team provides immediate assistance to people injured on cycling tracks in the eastern and northern New Territories every weekend and public holiday.

 

The volunteers ride to an accident scene to provide first aid, reducing the workload of ambulances and hospitals.

 

Their patrol area covers six first aid stations along cycling tracks running from Sha Tin to Sheung Shui.

 

Professional equipment

Before each patrol, they load up their bicycles with equipment and supplies.

 

Auxiliary Medical Service Operations & Training Officer Lee Kai-yin said the gear includes a semi-automated external defibrillator, the most compact on the market, to help people suffering a heart attack.

 

They also carry an oxygen regulatory system for people with breathing problems, turpentine to ease muscle cramps, and eyewash for cyclists with dust in their eyes.

 

Mr Lee said: "Every first aid bicycle has a side bag. We put all the equipment in it."

 

The bag carries about 10kg of gear, so First Aid Bicycle Team members must keep fit to cope with the additional weight.

 

Team member Charity Lui said: "As a girl, I must ensure my physical fitness. Usually in my leisure time, I adjust the gears on my bicycle for a higher resistance, so most of the time I have to use more strength to ride. This can train my leg muscles so I can cope with the heavy equipment when I am on duty."

 

Auxiliary Medical Service members can join the team after passing the First Aid Bicycle Skill Test.

 

David Ma joined in 2011 and gets great satisfaction from serving the public.

 

"Accidents on cycling tracks are usually not too serious. Our work can mitigate the pressure on ambulances and hospital accident and emergency departments. Cyclists do not need to call for an ambulance when they are slightly injured."

 

From January to September this year, more than 2,100 casualties received treatment from the First Aid Bicycle Team. Seventy-seven of them were hospitalised.

 

Expanded reach

The team will soon set up first aid stations along cycling tracks in the western New Territories. One of those will be in Tuen Mun.

 

It will recruit new members and procure more bicycles.

 

Auxiliary Medical Service Staff Officer Leung Chung-bo said this year marks the team's 15th anniversary.

 

"It has developed from a volunteer group to a mature team, demonstrating our contribution to the public. As the city's cycling tracks are expanding, we will continue acquiring new bicycles and equipment to provide better services to the public."

 

The team reminded cyclists to wear a helmet and sportswear, and to ensure their bicycle is well maintained.

 

Injured cyclists needing assistance in service areas can call the team on 2762 2055.



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