Cuenca first responders and police take to El Centro streets on bikes; it’s quicker and saves money

Mar 12, 2013

Azuay’s Red Cross and police have figured out a way to reduce response time as well expenses in the city’s historic district: put first responders on bicycles.

Freddy Sempertegui, risk management coordinator for the Azuay Red Cross says the change can get officers to accidents three times faster than with ambulances. “The traffic is often stop-and-go in the historic center and it makes no sense, especially with minor accidents such as falls or to assist drunken people, to send a vehicle to the scene. It takes the vehicle an average of 10 minutes to reach the scene while someone on a bike can get there in three minutes.” Sempertegui says that the first aid kit that will be carried by bicycle responders will handle most minor emergencies.

The Red Coss, which bought four bikes for $2,500, says the bike units will also work public events, such as crafts shows and sports competitions.

The national police are also making the move to bicycles. The Ministry of the Interior recently delivered 50 bikes to its Azuay department.

Police officer David Cepeda says that bicycles provide greater ability as well as faster response time in traffic. “We will use them mostly to patrol public areas, such as parks, but they also make sense in responding to minor crimes, such as theft. They get us to the scene quickly and don’t have the impact on the environment that cars and motorcycles do.”

Photo caption: A police on bicycle in El Centro.