With Austin's traffic congestion problem getting bigger, local first responders have decided it’s time to go smaller.
These two flashy high performance motorcycles are certainly eye catching. But there was another reason why they were purchased. It was to change the game, by stopping the clock, according to ATCEMS Division Chief Wesley Hopkins.
"It means we are able to get there faster, and stop the clock to when we get to patient care, so we can actually start it, instead of waiting on an ambulance on a fire apparatus to get there.
The bikes are made by BMW and are similar to the design that APD is now using. They are fast, nimble and cost about $26-thousand.
"Its pretty neat after you learn how to ride them,” said ATCEMS Motorcycle Medic Randy Vickery.
The dual breaking system is a key part in what keeps the ride stable .
"Any of the turns you do, your body sits upright and you turn the motorcycle underneath you,” said Vickery.
Basic first responder medical supplies are kept in twin side compartments. Even the front windshields can be adjusted for each rider.
The new bikes are coming on line just as Austin roadways are looking more and more like a parking lot. EMS started building a motorcycle fleet back in 2009 but the original focus was on improving response during special events.
Motorcycles have proven to be successful getting through the crowds at music festivals and also around major sporting events. But officials realized their use could be expanded after recent big rig crash blocked both lanes of I-35. The Motor-Medics, at the time, were training in full gear and were sent into the scene instead of the large ambulance units.
"Oh I believe and I think they are the next step and my hope is that you will see them in the future, of sooner versus later, I think they are the answer,” said Hopkins.
A plan for a full time EMS deployment of the bikes has not yet finalized, although they have already put on a few miles this year. They've worked a presidential motorcade, and have been deployed to COTA for two races as well as SXSW.