BIKERS SAVING SEVERN LIVES
March 23 2007.


It's 3am and the operating theatre is hushed. The surgeon carefully closes the lid on the transport box. "Make sure it's blue-lighted across town within 45 minutes," he says. The nurses glance nervously at each other. How's that going to happen?

That's the dilemma that Severn Freewheelers has been created to solve. Severn Freewheelers is a group of motorcyclists who transport urgently needed medical supplies after hours and during public holidays, when the alternatives are thin on the ground. The Group officially 'launched' on March 1st 2007.

"We're often referred to as 'blood bikes'," said spokesman Gordon Downie. "Using our specially adapted motorcycles we help local Health Authorities by providing, fast, safe and efficient transport at night between hospitals, nursing homes and other NHS facilities throughout the Severn region.

"We carry urgently-needed blood samples, biopsies, MRI scans, sometimes medical equipment for Intensive Care Units and even patient notes."

Although all the riders are voluntary there are major costs, not least purchasing the bikes themselves, which are equipped with sirens and blue lights for emergencies. Insurance was another headache - and not just because of the cost. "We need special cover, because the bikes are modified, and we need an 'any rider' policy," explains Gordon. "Once the insurers we spoke to heard that, they mostly hung up!"

Luckily Bikesure was different. The company not only offered to insure Severn Freewheelers, it offered to do it for free. "When we were approached by Severn Freewheelers it was obvious that this was a cause where we'd be able to use our skills to help," says Bikesure's Robert Balls. "Sponsoring the insurance fits into our philosophy to give something useful back where we can."

Bikesure has previously been involved with campaigns to raise awareness of diesel spills and help provide first response training for people arriving at the scene of an accident where a biker has been involved.

Currently Severn Freewheelers has 22 members, all volunteers, who act as riders, telephone coordinators and fundraisers. All the riders hold an advanced motorcycling qualification from RoSPA or the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists), and are trained in Emergency Response.

"We have only been able to launch our service thanks to our generous sponsors," said Gordon. Bikesure are one of three 'platinum' sponsors, the other being Castrol and Qinetic. Running costs are around £20,000 per year - but that pales into insignificance compared not only to the vital work the charity does, but also to the estimated cost saving to the NHS - around £300,000 per year.

Severn Freewheelers has the ambitious target of providing four motorcycles by the end of 2007 - the first is a specially-adapted Honda Pan European and the charity is currently in negotiations with Honda and BMW to purchase the second.

Gordon adds: "We've got off to a great start, but to maintain the service we need to encourage more volunteers, sponsors and those who can offer expertise to come forward, as well as much-needed cash."

For more information on Severn Freewheelers visit www.severnfreewheelers.co.uk, phone the duty coordinator on 07005 968687 or email info@severnfreewheelers.co.uk


Bikesure has a huge range of specialist policies for the motorcycle enthusiast, including schemes for performance and custom bikes, scooters, trikes, quads and bug riders. For details freephone the Bikesure quote line on 0800 089 2000, email the company at bikesure@adrianflux.co.uk or visit www.bikesure.co.uk