January 9, 2011


From World World I, 1918, this photo (above) originally appeared in Popular Mechanics magazine.
This motorcycle ambulance sidecar was used by lifeguards, Redondo Beach, CA. 1915.
This French Police motorcycle ambulance sidecar dates to early 1900s.

 Motorcycles and sidecars have a reputation for being tough fighters in wars around the world. During both World Wars I and II, the motorcycle-sidecar units were familiar features on the battlefield bringing medicine directly to the troops and transporting patients back to the base.

Today, sidecar ambulances are used in areas of the world with narrow roads, dense population and impenetrable terrain. Japan, Brazil, the Sudan, Malawi and Southeast Asia employ the units.

eRanger's Ambulance has been developed to provide transport to and from local health centres, providing communities with the means to take advantage of distant and widespread health-care resources. Able to safely and comfortably carry one patient and an outreach medical worker, plus emergency supplies for on-site treatment, it can greatly reduce the time taken to get essential and urgent medical assistance to remote communities. In Malawi, the eRanger motorbike has transported women in labour from health centres to hospitals faster than traditional ambulances. A private company, eRanger, manufactures motorbike ambulances, designed to cope with the toughest terrains.

The company believes its motorbikes could help cut maternal mortality rates in remote, rural areas and increase access to health facilities.
The Ambulance has recently undergone a range of technical and equipment improvements. Every Ambulance now has a specialist leading link front suspension system fitted as standard, improving the Ambulance’s already impressive off-road and on-road capability. In addition complete patient protection has been improved with additional “roof” bars and a newly designed all weather cover. Finally patient transfer has been improved with a novel hinged section allowing easy access to the stretchers flat platform.
Standard equipment has also been improved with the addition of a large capacity motorcycle rear carrier box and a fire extinguisher. In addition to these modifications to the Ambulance sidecar the JH 200 L has been uprated and improved with Electric start and an easy to maintain pushrod engine that delivers an improvement in engine Torque over the older overhead cam engine. All these developments underline our commitment to produce the most complete, effective and versatile vehicle solution for rural healthcare delivery throughout the world.
The main feature of the Ambulance is the side-mounted stretcher, attached via metal-elastic mounts that, when combined with the sidecar's suspension, considerably smooths the ride over rough ground.
The stretcher itself has multiple functions. When flat, a prone patient can be carried, protected by an all weather cover. It then also converts into a suspended chair. In both positions there is storage space at the rear of the sidecar. The chair position is suitable for the walking wounded, sick and expectant mothers.
Providing a fast, economical and efficient way to transport pregnant women to hospitals, the new E-Ranger motorbike ambulance - fitted with an attached sidecar bed in which a pregnant woman can sit comfortably - has become a veritable lifeline for Southern Sudan.

UNICEF and the Western Equatoria State government recently contributed seven of these new motorbike ambulances to the general public.


The Kambia Appeal is improving access to healthcare for two communities in Kambia by running a small network of motorbike ambulances that provides low-cost transportation for people to travel from their homes in remote rural areas to their nearest health centres.

Currently six ambulances run between 47 villages, two health centres and the main district hospital, and serve a total population of 22,152 people. This population was identified by the Kambia District Medical Officer as being one of the most vulnerable due to severe levels of poverty and lack of organized public transport.
The motorbike ambulances are based at two health centres, Barmoi Munu and Maselleh, and although the ambulances are available for all emergency cases, the main aim of the project is to help pregnant women gain access to maternal healthcare. Typically, women in the project catchment area have to walk between five and twelve miles to reach their nearest health centre. Public transport is limited, and if private taxis are available the cost of an emergency journey is often highly inflated beyond the means of most families. Understandably, women suffering obstructed labour, pre-eclampsia and hemorrhage are not able to make the arduous journey on foot and so are forced to stay at home without medical attention. Without adequate transportation to reach the health centre, such women and their babies are likely to die or suffer permanent injury or ill health, and their deaths very often go unrecorded.