A Bicycle for Life: Situation

Many of the homes and villages in rural sub-Saharan Africa are very isolated, and travel in these areas is often slow. As a result, many people in this region have a difficult time getting to a hospital or clinic when they need medical help. There are no ambulances and people have died because they were unable to get medical attention quickly during an emergency.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the area of Africa that lies south of Sahara Desert (see map at left). Across this vast area, more than 65% of the people live on farms and in villages, with large distances between them. Buses and other forms of mass transportation are in short supply, and less than 1% of the population owns a car or truck. Besides walking, bicycles are the primary means of transportation.

People also use wheelbarrows, donkeys and carts – both hand-pulled and animal-drawn – to get around. In general, people in rural Africa walk and carry their burdens using their own strength. If a person is sick or injured and unable to walk, getting medical attention can be very difficult, if not impossible.

The Bicycle Ambulance is a humanitarian project that responds to the problem of rural isolation during a medical emergency. It combines a common form of transportation in Africa – the bicycle – with a means of safely and comfortably transporting people who are sick or injured.
Canadian Heritage Information Network
Bruce Mau Design, Institute Without Boudaries

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