phv ambOne of the new racks mounted on the front of a PVH Mercedes Benz ambulance. Photo: Courtesy of Poudre Valley HospitalOn December 29th, the Coloradan ran a story about the new bike racks being installed on PVH ambulances to transport patient’s bikes. That story gained nationwide attention, being republished online on Bicycling Magazine, NBC Sports, and the San Francisco Gate, among 125 other publications. One quote in particular caught my attention, “on average two to four bikes are transported on ambulances in Fort Collins each day”, the article stated.  As someone who pays pretty close attention to that kind of thing, that number seemed pretty high. Many people in the article’s comments sections and on social media also took note of those numbers.  “What’s wrong with Fort Collins?” one reader rightfully asked in Bicycling Magazine’s comments section. After reaching out to Chris Tibbets of the Fort Collins Police Department and Rob Collett, a paramedic with PVH, I got some clarification.  Those numbers aren’t exaggerated, only misinterpreted.  According to Collett, an avid cyclist, the racks were originally installed to better serve the growing Fort Collins cycling community.  He specifically recalls the catalyst as a severely injured cyclist near the Budweiser plant that needed transport but wouldn’t leave his several thousand dollar Cannondale behind. He states that during peak season, they were transporting 2-4 cyclists involved in car vs bike accidents per month. The unexpected beneficiary of the new system was the local transient population, CSU students and people riding to Old Town bars.  Collett estimates that 70% of the bikes being transported via the new racks belong to transients under the influence of various substances, drunk college students and visitors to Fort Collins Old Town bar scene.  

If Rob Collett’s name sounds familiar, it should.  Not only is he an avid cyclist but he organized this PVH ambulance bike rack program,  the Bicycle Emergency Response Team (BERT) the PVH program to put medics on bikes at local events (I know you’ve seen them at the Lory Mountain Challenge races) and organizes the local National EMS Memorial Bike Ride.  We’re lucky to have someone so passionate about cycling in his position at PVH. 

Side note, registration is open for the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride: