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Two-wheeled medics cover more ground in the capital

Ambulance motorcycles and bicycles have been introduced to new parts of the capital to provide a better life-saving response to more patients.

The Motorcycle Response Unit (MRU) is now operating in east London, and the Cycle Response Unit (CRU) is covering Kensington and Knightsbridge, Croydon town centre, Canary Wharf and the area around St Pancras International station.

London Ambulance Service Assistant Director of Operations Jason Killens said: “We have expanded both teams to bring a more dynamic emergency medical response to patients in built-up areas. Our motorcycles and cycles already respond very effectively to emergencies in central London and Heathrow Airport, proving to be able to reach patients quickly, and enabling staff to administer life-saving treatment while an ambulance is on the way.

“The new areas have been specifically chosen as they have several millions of workers and tourists coming into them each year, and the versatility of both types of bikes means they are better able to negotiate narrow streets and pedestrian areas.

“All the motorcycles and cycles carry the same life-saving equipment as ambulances, including a defibrillator—a machine used to restart a patient’s heart when they have suffered a cardiac arrest. Early use of a defibrillator is essential to saving someone’s life.”

The MRU and CRU schemes complement the placement of over 500 public-access defibrillators in transport links and tourist attractions around the capital that have contributed to the number of people surviving cardiac arrest in London trebling in the last five years to 15.8 per cent*.

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Notes to editors:

For further information about the London Ambulance Service or this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7921 5113.


  • The Motorcycle Response Unit (MRU) is now responding to emergency 999 calls in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and the City of London.
  • The motorcycles are maintained and stored at West Ham ambulance station, and respond to emergency calls from Shoreditch and Poplar ambulance stations from 7am to 11pm every day.
  • All MRU paramedics have taken a course in police motorcycle-driver training.
  • The Service has been operating a MRU in central London, out of Waterloo ambulance station, since 1991.


  • The Cycle Response Unit (CRU) was launched in the West End in 2002, before being expanded to Heathrow Airport (2004) and the City of London (2006).
  • The new CRUs will operate from Fulham ambulance station (Kensington and Knightsbride), Croydon ambulance station (Croydon town centre), Silvertown ambulance station (Canary Wharf) and Waterloo ambulance station (St Pancras International area), with up to two cycles operating from each station from 7am to 11pm every day.

*Cardiac arrest survival rate

  • The cardiac arrest survival figure is calculated using the internationally-recognised Utstein method. The calculation takes into account the number of patients discharged alive from hospital who had resuscitation attempted following a cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac aetiology, and who also had their arrest witnessed by a bystander and an initial cardiac rhythm of ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia.
  • London’s cardiac arrest survival figure using the Utstein method has increased from five per cent in 2001/02 to 15.8 per cent in 2006/07.
  • A cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart stops. Someone in cardiac arrest will lose consciousness, will not be breathing and will have no signs of circulation. A cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, the latter being when a clot in the artery restricts the flow of blood to the heart. The terms ‘cardiac arrest’ and ‘heart attack’ are not interchangeable.
  • In 2006/07 the London Ambulance Service received over 113,000 calls from patients reporting potential cardiac or chest-pain-related problems.
  • The London Ambulance Service provides free cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to the public and to businesses at a cost. People who are interested in learning CPR and how to save a life in a medical emergency should call 020 7463 3120 or email [email protected].