Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Can I Become A Rider Volunteer?
A: Just visit our ‘Recruitment‘ page to get started.

Q: Are There Any Restrictions On Being A Volunteer?
A: There are a few obvious requirements.
Firstly, in order to be a rider volunteer, you must have a full motorcycle licence and been riding for 2 years unrestricted. A clean licence is obviously a strong preference, but if you have 4 or less penalty points then we will certainly consider your application.
Secondly, Garda vetting will be conducted on all applicants and as such you must have no criminal convictions or pending criminal actions against you.
Thirdly, as a volunteer rider, you must within 6 months of joining achieve a RoSPA silver or gold certificate.

Q: I Don't Ride A Motorbike, Can I Volunteer?
A: Yes, absolutely. We are looking for volunteer fundraisers, volunteer administrative staff and even anyone who wants to run occasional promotional or fundraising events. If you can donate any time to helping us achieve our goals, simply go to our 'Contact' page and get in touch. We also have a specially equipped van for our non-biking Volunteers to use. See the Recruitment page for more information.

Q: Do I Use My Own Motorbike on Duty?
A: No. Blood Bike Mid West has its own fleet of fully specially equipped bikes that you use while on duty.

Q: What Type of Motorbikes do Blood Bike Mid West Use?
A: We currently have two Honda Pan-Europeans and one Honda Deauville. All are used for city work and for cross-country link-ups.
We also have a specially equipped van which is invaluable during very bad weather when riding a bike is simply not safe, and for our non-motorbike volunteers.

Q: Do You Have Blue Lights / Can You Use Them?
A: Yes, all our Motorbikes have blue lights fitted, however they are very rarely used. They are only used in extreme emergencies and even then only in heavy traffic, to make us more visible to other road users around us. The average rider will never have a need to use them.

Q: Do You Have The Same Road Use Remit As Gardai Or Paramedic Riders/Drivers?
A: No, our riders do not have free reign to ride in the same manner as other emergency services can. We cannot, for instance, break red lights or exceed the speed limit as we wish. We do not have sirens fitted, so as in the previous question, even on the rare occasions that a rider is instructed to use the blues, he/she must always give priority to the rules of the road and reaching the destination safely and with due care and attention.

Q: Are You All Ex-Gardai Riders?
A: Not at all. The vast majority of rider volunteers are simply motorbike enthusiasts who have a passion for helping others and wanted to give something back to the community.

Q: Are You All Paramedics?
A: No. Again, there are a couple of paramedic volunteers, but our remit is simply medical transport, so the only requirement is that we can ride motorbikes safely and efficiently. A number of our volunteers are trained first responders, but they have done that in their own time as an extension to their volunteering efforts.

Q: What Training Do You Have?
A: All our riders are trained to at least RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Silver or Gold certification for motorcycle riding. This is the highest level of civilian accreditation and is essentially the same certification as Gardai riders achieve, although they then go on to an elite rider course, not available to civilians. Rider learning is based on the motorcycle rider’s bible “Motorcycle Roadcraft”, which teaches riders better awareness, observation, machine control and ultimately a much higher appreciation for hazard awareness.

Q: Is There A Minimum/Maximum Age To Be A Volunteer?
A: Yes, volunteers must be a minimum of 25 years old. In terms of maximum age, our rider volunteers can no longer ride above 75 years old. As much as we may not like this, unfortunately our insurance restricts riders above this age. However, we welcome non-rider volunteers up to any age and would welcome the maturity they bring to our fundraising and administrative efforts.

Q: What Equipment Do You Carry?
A: The only key piece of equipment required for our role is a size 16 insulated box for carrying blood, milk or temperature sensitive medications. These boxes can maintain constant temperature for up to 8 hours.

Q: What Geographical Areas Do You Cover?
A: Blood Bike Mid West covers Limerick city, Ennis, Nenagh & Croom Hospitals. Together with our sister Blood Bike organisations across the country, who cover their respective regions, we link up when medical transport across Ireland is required.

Q: What Other Groups Exist?
A: Along with Blood Bike Mid West there are six other Blood Bike groups serving Ireland. These are Blood Bike West, Blood Bike North West, Blood Bike South, Blood Bike North East, Blood Bikes East and Blood Bike Leinster.

Q: What Do You Carry?
A: We carry literally anything that a hospital needs transported for them and that fits on the bike. In most cases it's blood and other samples, medicines, medical equipment, test results, documents, breast milk and transplant related tissues.

Q: Are You Certified To Do This Kind Of Work?
A: Yes. Blood Bike Mid West will only transport packages for hospitals for which we have signed contracts. We have agreed SLAs with the hospitals and all packages are delivered point-to-point and are fully traceable. The bikes have GPS trackers fitted and the rider is contactable at all times by the controller. The packages are sealed and the rider has no access to the contents or knowledge of what they are carrying. Every call-out is ranked as ‘Standard’, ‘Urgent’ or ‘Emergency’ and the controller/rider liaise accordingly to determine best course of action based on the level of urgency.

Q: How Do The Hospitals Communicate With The Riders?
A: When a hospital requires a package to be delivered, they call the dedicated Blood Bike Mid West controller phone number, which is manned permanently and in rotation. The controller takes the details of the pick-up and delivery point and level of urgency and then calls the rider on duty, who then sets off to attend the call-out.

Q: How Do You Track The Deliveries?
A: On arriving at the pick-up location, the rider records the person they picked up from and the time of pick-up in the official docket book. At the delivery location, the person who accepts delivery and time of delivery is marked in the docket book. Finally the rider then confirms delivery with a text message back to the controller.