A method to reduce response times in prehospital care: The motorcycle experience

Chaou Shune Lin, Hang Chang, Kou Gi Shyu, Cheng Yan Liu, Chang Chung Lin, Chi Ren Hung, Pao Huei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This study compared the response times of a motorcycle and a standard ambulance in a congested urban emergency medical services (EMS) setting. The study was performed in Taipei, Taiwan, a densely populated urban area. A basic life support (BLS) motorcycle (without defibrillation capability) and an advanced life support (ALS) ambulance were based at three study hospitals and simultaneously dispatched when there was a perceived need for ALS ambulance transport. Over a 3-month period, prehospital personnel evaluated 397 medical and trauma emergencies. Time data were insufficient for analysis in 33 cases, leaving a study population of 274. Response times of the motorcycle and the ambulance were prospectively assessed and compared. During rush hours, the response times of the motorcycle and ambulance were 4.9 ± 3.0 minutes and 6.3 ± 3.4 minutes (P <.05), respectively, and in non-rush hours, 4.2 ± 2.1 minutes and 5.1 ± 2.5 minutes (P <.05), respectively. Using motorcycles to transport EMTs to the emergency scene significantly reduced response time compared with a standard ambulance in a congested urban setting. Large prospective studies are required to determine the impact on patient outcome of shorter EMS response times using motorcycles. EMS motorcycles appear feasible and deserve consideration to help expedite prehospital care in other systems in densely populated cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-713
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency medical services
  • Motorcycle
  • Prehospital
  • Response time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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