There are many people involved in Blood Bikes East and all carry out different roles, but given our small stature as a charity, many people believe that our operations and organisational capabilities are ‘adhoc’. Nothing could be further from the truth, so in this series of articles, we explore the various roles within BBE and highlight the highly efficient and advanced organisational skills and capabilities brought to bear on our emergency medical transport service, as rightly demanded by our client hospitals.
In this article we look at the role of the Mentoring Team and how they help riders, new and old, to be better and safer riders.
THE most important skill of a Blood Biker is their ability to ride safely and competently. It’s not about getting 98% of the requested deliveries to their destinations as fast as possible. It’s about getting 100% of the deliveries there, and when an urgent call is received, it’s about being able to get there as quickly, yet safely, as possible. Additionally, we in excess of fifty thousand KMs per year, in and around the city. That increases the risk of accidents and so our insurers look to us to ensure we are mitigating that risk as much as humanly possibly.
Our volunteer riders therefore need to have at least 2 years of riding experience and have passed the AON2/AXA2 Rider Assessment. But this is a minimum level and the expectation is that all volunteers attain and maintain the RoSPA Advanced Riding Qualification to a minimum of Silver level (RoSPA provides a Bronze, Silver and Gold certification). Many of our rider volunteers therefore join us having just passed the AON/AXA cert and then look to upskill to RoSPA within 6 months of joining. The usual route for this is a series of training sessions with a qualified trainer, and we would always encourage our rider volunteers to get professional training assessment leading up to their RoSPA assessment ride.
However, we recognised that for some, the cost of a full set of training sessions was prohibitive, while for others, the training rides were not sufficient to achieve the minimum silver pass level. For these reasons we setup the ‘Mentoring Team’. This is a group of Gold level RoSPA riders who give up their own time to help those training for the RoSPA test.
Volunteers are assigned a ‘Mentor’ who then oversees their training; reviewing where they are at with the professional training and filling any gaps they may have. This involves one-to-one assessment and mentoring ride-outs, where the mentor gives additional advice and support.
Additionally, regular group ride-outs are arranged with multiple mentors dispersed throughout the group. During regular stops, each rider gets feedback on areas of their riding that can be improved.
Finally, regular seminars and talks are arranged where professional trainers and individuals from various organisations and bodies come in to present to the group various aspects of advanced riding.
In the last year, this team has helped approaching 20 riders to pass their RoSPA test, with an amazing success rate of 2/3s passing with Silver, 1/3 passing with Gold and not one failure or Bronze!
The group is headed up by Martin Carragher with the following people assissting and acting as mentors:
- Brendan Conroy
- Dave Carroll
- Frank Cronin
- Jamie Helly
- Patrick Crawford
- Paul Jenkins
This is a brilliant initiative from a dedicated group of people, that has helped not only the riders in question, but has increased rider safety and therefore greatly reduced the risk of items being delayed or going missing due to accidents.
Do You Think You Have What It Takes To Be A Rider For Blood Bikes East?
It takes a very special person to become a Blood Biker. A mix of goodwill, skill, patience and determination. Do you want to join us? Check out the details on our Become A Volunteer Rider page and apply today!