Cycle response unit paramedics
Monday, October 8, 2012
The processTo be a UK ambulance service cyclist, completion of a five day PSC course is mandatory. Prior to attending the course, prospective subscribers can acquaint themselves with the many patrol skills within the pre-course workbook. The 36-page workbook covers the various skills required to be an efficient, safe cyclist representing your organisation while remaining in the public eye. The workbook is informative with good visual aids and useful knowledge checks to prepare the student for the course, irrespective of previous cycling experience. Over the five-day course the student must successfully complete an aerobic fitness test, anaerobic fitness test, written paper, road assessment, skills assessments and bike maintenance test (Box 1).Box 1Key assessments on the public safety cycling courseAerobic fitness test (patrol test)The student must cycle 2.5 kilometres at 80% maximum heart rate in a time frame adjusted for age, but typically within 5-6 minutesAnaerobic fitness test (sprint test)The student must cycle 1 kilometre in a time frame adjusted for age but typically between 105- 135 seconds.Workforce stamina test (cycle road assessment)A continual assessment throughout the course in which the student cycles the speed and distance set by the instructor to demonstrate the level of fitness required for the job. Normally at a speed of 15 mph over a distance of 1 kilometre safely to national standards level 3 for cycling.Written testConstitutes of 25 multiple-choice questions (not negatively marked) based on the pre-course workbook and the Highway Code. To pass, the student must achieve 75 % or higher.Skills assessmentsSlow speed skills such as the offset serpentine, the ten-foot box and the lock to lock.Bike maintenance testThe student must demonstrate a cycle maintenance test such as removing a wheel, changing a tyre or fixing a puncture.(Public safety cycling, 2012)The students are taught various skills that they need to perform at slow speed, including the ten-foot box, offset serpentine and lock-to-lock. All the skills require the rider to complete a circuit with tight corners in a small space involving continual cycling where the rider’s feet are not permitted to touch the floor. Throughout the course there are plenty of opportunities to practice with instructor support until the assessment and the skills have been mastered.Over the duration of the course, obstacle clearing skills and the bike safety checks (ABC Quick Check) are taught and practiced. The student also has a kit familiarisation, so, upon reaching the call, they already have had an introduction to the various pieces of equipment they will be required to use when in the field. The course also involves practising group riding as CRUs are often used at large events and in order to portray a professional image this skill must be practiced—furthermore a night ride forms part of the PSC course which prepares the students for the subtle differences when cycling in the dark hours. Students who successfully complete the PSC course are given five shifts with an experienced CRU rider until they are confident and are then permitted to travel as solo CRU riders. This is not the end of the training however, as annually the CRU riders have to successfully undertake a Cycle Certification Test, involving a fitness test to ensure that they are maintaining the standards required to undertake their CRU duties.
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