In the News

Utrecht introduces cycle ambulance

Monday 28 July 2008

Utrecht is the first city in the Netherlands to get a cycle ambulance, reports Monday’s AD newspaper.

The city’s ambulance service RAVU tells the paper that it has been forced to introduce this unusual form of emergency medical aid because of the increasing difficulty of reaching city centre destinations with a traditional ambulance.

Only four ambulance staff are entitled to ride the bright yellow cycle ambulance which is fully equipped with medical apparatus but cannot transport patients.

The only thing the cycle ambulance lacks is a siren and flashing lights. ‘That would only cause more accidents. People become alarmed by a siren and if they can’t see where it’s coming from they’ll jump in front of the bike,’ says ambulance man Ruben Verlangen in the AD.

I should just let the story speak for itself, but I have to say I found the comment that the ambulances had a hard time reaching the city center destinations a bit strange. I guess they mean along the Oudegracht and other pedestrian areas. The police seem to get around just fine, at least on Lucasbolwerk. They seem to show up at least once each Friday as some idiot does something stupid. One week it was a fight among a group of idiots (from one of the other bars, I should point out, and it was never anything more than a spectator sport for our group, particularly due to the fact that the combatants didn’t seem very good at it all.) I’m not sure what the police showed up for last week; it was over and done quickly. A few weeks before, someone tried to steal a scooter, but was probably a bit drunk at the time, crashed it, and get held by Kris and a few other patrons from our bar. Heroes!

My point being that even with minor infractions that probably wouldn’t see the police show up that often in the US, they do show up here, and quickly, on both bike and in cars. I’m guessing the bike ambulance is to get quickly to people in pedestrian areas and treat them until a path can be cleared more easily for the proper ambulances. So, all in all, probably a decent idea.