(photo credit: Courtesy of United Hatzalah)
The country's first five "ambucycles" - bicycles ridden by medics providing first aid in areas with poor accessibility to ambulances or even motorcycles - have been inaugurated in Tel Aviv by United Hatzalah.
The voluntary organization believes that bikes can more easily weave through traffic to render medical assistance under certain conditions. The first five "ambubikes" will be assigned to congested districts in the greater Tel Aviv area.
Effy Fischer, the United Hatzalah coordinator for Tel Aviv, explained, "The unique challenges and needs of Tel Aviv make the ambubike the ideal solution for emergency calls where numerous shortcuts and alleys allow for only the nimblest of vehicles to get through. There are areas inaccessible by ambulance, and even the ubiquitous United Hatzalah ambulance motorcycles would not be able to get through. In addition, the fact that the ambubikes are environmentally friendly, with no air or sound pollution, is particularly endearing to ecologically-minded individuals."
The new bikes with the United Hatzalah symbols were inaugurated on Wednesday night at a ceremony that included Tel Aviv-Jaffa Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau, Deputy Mayor Pe'er Visner and dozens of local residents, volunteers and supporters.
Lau recalled in an emotional address the horror of the series of bus bombings in Jerusalem, in particular the bombing in the Beit Yisrael section of Jerusalem, when the roads became congested and ambulances had great difficulty getting through.
One could only imagine how helpful these bicycles would have been, he said. "I came here to bless you and show my appreciation for your commitment to the public good and for establishing this new unit that will literally breathe new life into the citizens of Israel."
United Hatzalah, which has 1,300 volunteer medics, paramedics and doctors - many of them observant Jews - works in full cooperation with Magen David Adom, which alerts the organization to people in need. Its staff responds immediately to calls in its proximity to treat and stabilize patients until an ambulance arrives. The ambubikes are outfitted with a secure gear compartment that contains all the required emergency response equipment.
"We believe that requests by volunteers for bikes will grow following this successful pilot program," said United Hatzalah chief coordinator Eli Beer. "We expect that by the end of the year, we will expand this program throughout Israel."
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>