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WWII 'bike' ambulance

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Old 05-14-12, 07:38 PM
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ka0use
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WWII 'bike' ambulance

i'm not posting this for a laugh. anything but.

war is a time of innovation; of weapons, engineering, medicine, deception, technological advances.
creative cooking/clothing making/transportation/gardening during a time of severe rationing. england's only petroleum products came from the u.s., so creative ground transport was needed.

the only question i have is where this might have been utilised? certainly not on a rough-terrain battlefield. maybe on the flight line, transporting wounded from planes to the hospital, or on paved or hard-packed dirt roads?

i admire the imagination it took to come up with this idea.

i'm guessing the small tire is for steering. (?)
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Old 05-14-12, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ka0use View Post
i'm not posting this for a laugh. anything but.

war is a time of innovation; of weapons, engineering, medicine, deception, technological advances.
creative cooking/clothing making/transportation/gardening during a time of severe rationing. england's only petroleum products came from the u.s., so creative ground transport was needed.

the only question i have is where this might have been utilised? certainly not on a rough-terrain battlefield. maybe on the flight line, transporting wounded from planes to the hospital, or on paved or hard-packed dirt roads?

i admire the imagination it took to come up with this idea.

i'm guessing the small tire is for steering. (?)
I'd venture a guess in and around the cities. Distances are closer so a run to a hospital would be do-able. May also be nothing more than a prototype. Most of the flighline pics I've seen show wounded being loaded into motorized ambulances.
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Old 05-15-12, 12:04 AM
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Bike ambulances are in current use in rural Africa, the plains of Nepal and other places I can't recall at the moment. There are several charity and NGO organizations working to design, build and supply them to communities where people die from treatable illnesses because they can't get to treatment.

Namibian Bicycle Ambulance

Zambulance

Bicycle Ambulances in Nepal
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Old 05-15-12, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kalliergo View Post
Bike ambulances are in current use in rural Africa, the plains of Nepal and other places I can't recall at the moment. There are several charity and NGO organizations working to design, build and supply them to communities where people die from treatable illnesses because they can't get to treatment.

Namibian Bicycle Ambulance

Zambulance

Bicycle Ambulances in Nepal
i LIKE 'em!
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Old 05-15-12, 07:27 AM
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Very interesting, thanks for sharing this.
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Old 05-17-12, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ka0use View Post
i'm guessing the small tire is for steering. (?)
Interesting find. My guess is the trike is similar to an ice-cream or vending trike, just with a longer front end. That small wheel just swivels along, like a shopping cart front wheel. Something like this:
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Old 05-17-12, 04:39 AM
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The lack of suspension probably wouldn't be very comfortable for the patient.
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Old 05-17-12, 07:19 AM
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I wonder if something like this would make sense in disaster areas, where access by motorised emergency vehicles, or fuel, could be inhibited.

I could see a volunteer corps of cyclists that keep an ambulance trailer in their garage, and get called into service if it's needed. I know I'd sign up. Not sure if it's practical, but it got me thinking...
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Old 05-17-12, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
I wonder if something like this would make sense in disaster areas, where access by motorised emergency vehicles, or fuel, could be inhibited.

I could see a volunteer corps of cyclists that keep an ambulance trailer in their garage, and get called into service if it's needed. I know I'd sign up. Not sure if it's practical, but it got me thinking...
This wouldn't be of much use in disaster areas where deep water, mud, fallen trees and debris are present. You'll need a motorized vehicle or people just using their feet.
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Old 05-17-12, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
The lack of suspension probably wouldn't be very comfortable for the patient.
That depends upon the circumstances, of course, but remember we're talking about situations where the likely alternatives include real suffering and/or death from treatable conditions.
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Old 05-17-12, 01:58 PM
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The soldier's uniform looks more like WWI.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
The soldier's uniform looks more like WWI.
The Brits used that helmet all the way through WW2.
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Old 05-17-12, 10:34 PM
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Not in the movies they didn't, and what are ya gonna believe? Movies or history?
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-17-12, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Not in the movies they didn't, and what are ya gonna believe? Movies or history?


Brodie Helmet
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Old 05-18-12, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kalliergo View Post
That depends upon the circumstances, of course, but remember we're talking about situations where the likely alternatives include real suffering and/or death from treatable conditions.
This is not as easy as it sounds. The transport can also kill a patient, as no transport can. I used to live in rural Zambia (aidwork) and there was a hospital ment to cower the needs of approx 250 000 peopel. One Danish doctor, no ambulance (they had a WW van w no wheels). My pickup was the only car in an area of 2000 km2.
I ended up taking quite a lot of patients on the back of my pickup and I always had to decide if i expected them to survive the transport. Also, transport to what? In Africa transport to a hospital did not always result in the needed treatment.

Some places the road is so bad that driving is almost impossible and you have to use the whole road, both left and right side to go forwards. Quite a lot of places there is just a track, so two wheels is not usable. Carrying is still used a lot, and using animals for transport can be a better solution than trying to ride, but poor animals!
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Old 05-18-12, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by badmother View Post
This is not as easy as it sounds. The transport can also kill a patient, as no transport can.
Thanks for doing that aid work!

I don't think it sounds "easy," at all. Rather, it seems like one practical and affordable way to provide patient transport, in appropriate places and conditions.

It appears that WHO, local charities and the Zambian government think that's the case:

Bicycle ambulances are a proven solution to this transport barrier in remote areas where current methods of transport are insufficient in speed, safety, cost, or availability. Since July 2005, Jessica Vechakul has been collaborating with Disacare Wheelchair Center in Lusaka to develop the Zambulance, a bicycle ambulance that can be locally produced from common steel and bicycle components.

The Zambian Ministry of Health and the WHO have ordered over 50 Zambulances for health centers all over Zambia. Independent home-based care and hospice programs have also ordered Zambulances. Within one month, over 50 patients were transport between home and health centers by a single Zambulance. Given the versatility of the Zambulances for people of all ages and health conditions, it has the potential to be a live-saving technology worldwide.

http://cadlab6.mit.edu/bike.ambulance/index.html
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Old 05-18-12, 03:54 PM
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It all sounds good in writing but you need to see for your self. When I worked there approx 50% of the peopel lived in or around the citys (hoping for work) and I would guess even more now. Most of them could be reached fairly easy with a zambulance, but for the rest I worry.. Also like I said, you get to the hospital but then what? I remember no medicine, no water (nurses carrying water up three stairs) not even Band Aid.

I remember once driving in a dambo area a really old lady "walked" a black Indian bike. Her really old husband sitting sideways on the rack. We found them in the middle of nowhere and gave them a lift home. She had actually collected him from the hospital like that, they must have walked for days. Hope things change.

Edit: Actually, I also remember an old lady aproaching a bit later that day in the same village. She held both my hands and talked a lot and was very happy about something. I guessed it was about the old couple, but I had no one to translate. I did like her, I answered in my own language (not english) and was equally happy. She lol`ed and walked off. Only time in three yrs that I had nobody to translate and still can only guess what she said.

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Old 05-18-12, 05:31 PM
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I understand the points you're making, badmother, but they aren't arguments against tools like the Zambulance; they are arguments for better availability of quality medical care and more equitable distribution of resources (64% of Zambia's population was living below a poverty line of $1.25/day purchasing power parity in 2010, the last year I could find numbers for).

The problems Zambians face are definitely to big ans serious to be solved by bike ambulances, but they are a good thing, nevertheless.
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Old 05-20-12, 07:53 PM
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i respect and admire you folks who have served mankind: peace corps, vista, msf/dwb, catholic services, red cross, who, etc. i know a retired nurse who was a circuit nurse in rural harlan county, kentucky in the 50's- on horseback. had another horse along as a pack critter for med supplies and as an ambulance to her station where there was an army surplus jeep to take a patient to the nearest city (lexington or frankfort, forget which). the horses went where motorbikes and 4 wheeled vehicles couldn't- vertical and rocky.



http://habanahaba.wordpress.com/2012...-mediocre-aid/



i found this site (above) when googling bicycle ambulances. the poster has a ph.d in something or other and disparages b.a.'s. there are responding comments.

a couple of other sites featured BEN, bicycle empowerment network in republic of south africa.

personally, i think anything that works is better than nothing.

i thank all of you who posted here. i have been enlightened. i mentioned this to a male nurse in our clinic who did p.c. time in mali. he said he had a 125cc honda he used occasionally as an ambo. distance to nearest hospital was 40 miles of very rough track and he recalled one occasion when he didn't think the patient was gonna get there alive. whatever he did, he didn't think the patient was gonna survive- and he did survive, barely.
he said the concept of ba's wasn't in mali when he was there, but thought the ba idea a great one.
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Old 05-30-12, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Not in the movies they didn't, and what are ya gonna believe? Movies or history?
What movies have you been watching?



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Old 06-07-12, 11:26 AM
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WWI used horses, mules etc.
I'm sure WWII used a fair share also.

A bike with a long front end like would be nearly impossible to aim. But you do what you have to do in a time of need.
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Old 06-14-12, 02:28 PM
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My guess is that the rider steers with the two large wheels, like a pushcart bike, and the front small wheel just swivels like a caster.
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Old 07-14-12, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
My guess is that the rider steers with the two large wheels, like a pushcart bike, and the front small wheel just swivels like a caster.
The Dutch have bikes similar to this today with the long front ends for cargo. Judging from the uniform, I would guess this might have been during the Blitz in England. Lots of horses were used in WW2. A friend of mine had a photo album from a Wermacht soldier that participated in the invasion of Poland. One of the most surreal photos that I remember is a Wermacht soldier mounted on a horse, in the middle of a very broad street with a modern looking traffic light over his head.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:49 AM
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While a bicycle ambulance is a great idea, the execution of this one was dreadful. A trailer as used today, could have been attached to any bicycle greatly increasing the flexibility. And putting all the weight over the steering wheels and leveraging it out on the front must have been difficult to steer as that little wheel out front found its way into any number of bumps and depressions.
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Old 09-08-12, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by kalliergo View Post
Bike ambulances are in current use in rural Africa, the plains of Nepal and other places I can't recall at the moment. There are several charity and NGO organizations working to design, build and supply them to communities where people die from treatable illnesses because they can't get to treatment.

Namibian Bicycle Ambulance

Zambulance

Bicycle Ambulances in Nepal
Cool! I have thought about bike ambulances. My thought was a couple of bike trailers that would carry everything needed to set up a medic tent. Once the tent stuff is offloaded, the trailers can be used as ambulances. This could be useful in disaster situations. Bike ambulances would free up regular ambulances for people with life threatening injuries who need to be rushed to the hospital. People with less serious injuries could be taken to the medic tent for treatment.
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