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In bike-loving Colorado city, ambulances get racks for rides

By: Associated Press
January 23, 2015 Updated: January 23, 2015 at 1:37 pm
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photo - This photo made available on Jan. 23, 2015, by University of Colorado Health, shows a Poudre Valley Hospital ambulance fitted with a bike rack, in Fort Collins, Colo. In a testament to how much the city loves its bikes, the hospital has installed bike racks on its ambulances after encountering increasing numbers of cyclists who had bicycle accidents or medical emergencies. (AP Photo/University of Colorado Health, Kelly Tracer)
This photo made available on Jan. 23, 2015, by University of Colorado Health, shows a Poudre Valley Hospital ambulance fitted with a bike rack, in Fort Collins, Colo. In a testament to how much the city loves its bikes, the hospital has installed bike racks on its ambulances after encountering increasing numbers of cyclists who had bicycle accidents or medical emergencies. (AP Photo/University of Colorado Health, Kelly Tracer) 

FORT COLLINS — Showing how much one Colorado city loves its bikes, cyclists who go to the hospital by ambulance no longer have to leave their rides behind.

Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, home of Colorado State University, has equipped all 14 of its ambulances with bike racks after encountering increasing numbers of cyclists who had bicycle accidents or medical emergencies while riding.

Some people were reluctant to leave their bikes locked up behind at the scene — whether because they were fancy recreation bikes that cost more than some cars or because they were the patient's main form of transportation, Steve Main, the hospital's emergency medical services director, said Friday.

Plus, ambulance workers were spending too much time going back to unlock the bikes once patients could retrieve them.

At the suggestion of bike paramedic Rob Collett, the hospital began adding bike racks to ambulances as they came in for regular maintenance last spring and equipped them all by the end of the year. According to the Coloradoan (http://noconow.co/1yrpUyE ), which first reported the installations, the hospital spent about $5,000 to install the racks, or $356 per ambulance.

Main said time isn't an issue because one of several emergency responders at a call is in charge of rounding up personal belongings and can put the bike on the ambulance. At the hospital, bikes are placed in the care of security until patients can claim them.

Fort Collins is proud of its bike lanes and hosts a costumed bike parade sponsored by craft brewer New Belgium — which gives free bikes to its employees — that attracts thousands of people each year. The ambulance service also teaches elementary school students how to safely bike to school and does helmet fittings for children.

"It's just a bike crazy town," Main said.

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