FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A Fort Collins hospital is making some changes to its ambulances — Poudre Valley Hospital has installed bike racks on them.

It got to the point where paramedics started sending two ambulances for any one call that involved a bicycle. One needed to carry the patient, and another to carry the bike. Recognizing how wasteful and potentially problematic that was, one paramedic made it his mission to change how they handle bicycles.

Fort Collins is one of Colorado’s most bike-friendly cities, and paramedics find more often than not patients do not want to part with their pricey and beloved wheels.

“They crash and the first question any cyclist asks is, ‘Is my bike okay? I know my collar bone is broken, but is my bike okay?’ ” Poudre Valley Hospital EMS captain Rob Collett said.

As a cycling enthusiast himself, Collett sympathizes with their fears.

“We really have a lot of people that their bikes are worth more than their cars, or at least sentimentally, they are worth more than their cars,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Rather than lock bikes to whatever emergency workers can find nearby, Collett came up with an idea — install bike racks so ambulances can transport people and their bikes. Collett believes Poudre Valley Hospital is the first EMS in the country to do so.

“It doesn’t take long to put them at ease, and it makes it even better now that they know they don’t get separated from their bike,” Collett said.

Paramedics insist it’s still patient first, bike second; and there will be cases time simply does not allow, and the bike gets left behind.

Collett says the plan is just Poudre Valley Hospital’s way of helping patients put their attention where it needs to be — on recovery.

Each of the racks can hold up to two bikes and all 14 ambulances in the fleet now have one. They cost about $350 each to buy and install.

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