IT IS the nightmare scenario: emergency services desperate to get through large crowds to to reach critically ill and injured patients.

Now a new team of Hampshire first aiders on two wheels are set to ride to the rescue at festivals, marathons and other major events.

The St John Ambulance will meet rising demand for first aiders at public events by training up a new crop of Cycle Responders.

The seven riders will serve as “mini ambulances” at locations where dense throngs of people make it difficult for vehicles to reach casualties quickly.

The first aid charity aims to train them this month to accompany an existing team of ten responders which have been working for more than four years.

Each mountain bike will carry vital kit to help them attend to patients before paramedics and ambulances arrive.

South east regional operational cycling officer Peter Leach said: “We already have a small team of responders but there aren’t enough of them to cover the events for which we receive requests.

“We train them up to the Bikeability Level 3 and also carry out some fitness training including a 1km sprint bike ride followed by a full Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) which is the energetic chest compression needed if someone’s heart stops.

“Each bike carries a huge variety of equipment from bandages and aspirin to oxygen and an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) which is also used to restart people’s hearts.”

The existing responders have served at the Romsey Show and at the Great South Run in Portsmouth.

He added: “We are always looking for new volunteers who want to be trained in this role.

“People who have a reasonable level of fitness and are already comfortable on a bike, and who would like to learn how to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

Anyone wanting to sign up should to train as a responder should contact 07747 766 554