This local group helps keep Windsor-Essex's motorcycle community riding

·3 min read
ECMU began in 2015 and has since grown to include nine members. The crew helps out charity motorcycle events and stranded bikers whenever they get a call.  (Submitted by the Emergency Care Motorcycle Unit - image credit)
ECMU began in 2015 and has since grown to include nine members. The crew helps out charity motorcycle events and stranded bikers whenever they get a call. (Submitted by the Emergency Care Motorcycle Unit - image credit)

"Don't put us to work, please," said Kevin Gale with a small laugh.

Gale is the president of the Emergency Care Motorcycle Unit (ECMU) — a local non-profit group that offers medical support and a bike retrieval service to those on the road.

What began as a small operation in 2015 has now grown to nine members and multiple services.

According to Gale, the group is fully trained in CPR and automated external defibrillation and specifically provides emergency medical attention to charity motorcycle events.

But they also will tow damaged or broken down bikes anywhere in southwestern Ontario for free.

"In the Windsor-Essex area, the motorcycle community is really a tight knit group of people," said Gale, who's been riding his bike since the early 1970s.

"We do this because we love every one of them and we don't want anyone to get hurt, we don't want anybody to be left stranded ... Just give me a call and I'll have a crew out there to pick up your bike and assist wherever we can."

WATCH: The ECMU at work

ECMU has taken part in some of the area's well-known motorcycle rides including Hogs for Hospice and Ride for Dad.

The idea for a group like this, according to Gale, came up when the group's CEO, James Ridout, got into his own accident. Following this, Gale said Ridout felt that the motorcycle community needed more support while going out for their rides.

The group is not affiliated with Essex-Windsor EMS.

As for going to retrieve a bike, Gale says no matter where, they're ready to help.

Submitted by ECMU
Submitted by ECMU

Once they get a call, Gale said they'll bring one of their two trailers and either roll the bike up onto the trailer if it can still move or — in an accident situation if the bike is damaged — they might have to drag it up the ramp.

"It goes along pretty quick ... probably 20 minutes," Gale said. "The motorcycle is held by that wheel chock ... we just have to strap it down."

'You just do, you don't think'

Shelley Beno, vice president of the ECMU, said she's been riding her bike for the last 15 years and joined this group to give back to the motorcycle community.

"Motorcycle accidents can be some of the worst," Beno said. "Because we're also riders ourselves, it means a lot to us to make sure all the people we know in the motorcycle community are helped."

One moment that sticks out for her since she's joined the group is when she came upon an accident scene.

She said by the time EMS arrived, they already had the people involved in the accident bandaged up and ready to go to the hospital.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

"It was an event that showed us what we're doing is very, very helpful," Beno said, adding that in the moment "you just do, you don't think."

The group says it has mostly retrieved bikes that have broken down and have not had to attend many motorcycle accident scenes.

ECMU also provides first aid training to youth.

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