THEY arrive with less fanfare than traditional road ambulances, but are every bit as vital at saving lives.
Slicing through traffic and crowds St John Ambulance cycle responders are frequently the first on the scene.
Now the burgeoning service is on the hunt for experienced cyclists from across Oxfordshire to join their crew.
Unit manager Lucy Bruzzone, 30, from Cutteslowe, said more volunteers were needed as the list of events the responders are being asked to attend is growing.
She said: “Our cycle responders have become a vital part of the team and we are finding that more and more events are benefiting from them being on hand to reach casualties far more quickly than a team on foot can.
“In cases where someone has suffered a cardiac arrest for example, the first few minutes are vital and prompt CPR and a defibrillator can increase their chances of survival significantly. It’s important that we continue to recruit more people into the team so we can potentially save more lives.”
She said her own experiences ranged from helping out at marathons and the Blenheim Horse Trials, to rushing to individual incidents which vehicles couldn’t reach.
Ms Buzzone added: “On one particular occasion we had to get through a campsite in the dark to treat a woman with particularly nasty burns following an accident with a stove.
“We can get into areas where there is no vehicular access, such as crowds. We can get in, assess and treat people which is essential thing as a first response. The bikes have really strong lights which is also a huge help.”
Ms Bruzzone, who works for an environmental charity, answered a radio advert two years ago.
She soon found herself heading the team.
“We get a positive reaction from people when they see us.
“We are particularly keen for anyone who enjoys cycling, you don’t need to have any first aid training as that will all be taught.”
The cycle response team has already attended 19 events so far in 2012 including Blenheim Triathlon, Blen-heim Horse Trials, the Oxford Half Marathon and Henley Royal Regatta and such is their success they have also been invited to travel further afield to attend events in neighbouring Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
l Anyone interested in volunteering should visit sja.org.uk or call 08700 10 49 50.