Paris is discovering that the best way to get doctors to where they are needed in an emergency is on a bicycle.
The city is trialling a new fleet of especially designed e-cargo bikes to whisk emergency physicians around the congested city so they can do their lifesaving work.
The blue and white cargo bikes have appeared in the capital since being launched in collaboration with the Paris Medical Emergency.
Created by Ecox, a network specializing in electrically assisted bicycles, in collaboration with Urgences Médicale de Paris, they were born with one objective: to be able to offer emergency physicians a safe and fast means of transport, even when the city is congested.
The partnership set out to adapt a bike to the special needs of emergency physicians, settling on a custom-designed, electrically assisted cargo bike.
It features medical storage, isothermal box, long-range blue LED light, reinforced tires, range of 160 kilometres, and medical safety markings on the wheels.
In Paris medical emergencies receive between 300 and 400 telephone calls per day, which translates into approximately 250 visits.
"With this bike, I spend an hour less in transport per day, and I can park where I want: this represents a real saving of time", explains Dr. Martin Méalet, doctor who is participating in the experiment.
If this is successful, it could then be extended to other cities in France with the idea of eventually being able to offer this service to nurses or even medical transporters, private ambulance drivers, etc.
"The objective of traveling by bicycle is to gain the patient’s availability of mind, both in time and in listening skills," explains Dr Michel Desmaizières, an emergency doctor in the capital.
Interestingly, the thinking in Australia is somewhat different.
For example in Victoria where a number of major off-road bike routes are being planned or constructed, they are designed so that a standard Mercedes ambulance van can travel along them to attend medical emergencies.
Yet in Paris ambulances are being designed as bikes so that can travel along roads to medical emergencies.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.