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Top image: Singsaver.com

A few days ago, a Facebook user lodged a complaint on UberEATS’s Facebook page. In it, she details her encounter with a delivery man who arrived with a limp, apparently because he had gotten into an accident while making his delivery. The reason he was in such a rush? He had to fulfil a minimum delivery quota.

Experiences like these are becoming more and more common.
This incident, while shocking, is by no means an isolated one. By now, everyone would have noticed a recent deluge of delivery cyclists on the road, whether from UberEATS or Deliveroo. And since bicycles have started being used, more and more recordings of accidents taking place have surfaced.

While Deliveroo provides its cyclists with safety equipment, are there any measures in place to ensure they actually use it?

What has gone unnoticed is that unlike its motorcyclists, food delivery companies do not require their cyclists to have a valid driving license. This is terrifying given that these guys are delivering food on the roads in peak CBD lunch traffic, all on a timeline with a delivery quota to meet. Basic road knowledge should be a prerequisite for the job.

This is all you need to start delivering food on bicycles. Unlike other vehicles, cyclists don't need a valid driving license and - by implication - any road knowledge.

As recently as December, an incident was reported on how a delivery cyclist cut in from the left to make an illegal right turn. Every driver knows that in such a situation, the driver on the right has the right of way. In another incident, an entire group of them was spotted hogging the road and holding up traffic. With no basic understanding of our highway code, how are these delivery bicyclists supposed to keep themselves and other road users safe?

With an incentive based system that rewards every drop-off, cyclists make more with every delivery.

In cities where there are bicycle lanes, and where motorists are happy to co-exist with bicycles on the road, it’s not such a problem. But this is Singapore. The country where your driving instructor swears at road cyclists, and where any vehicle with less than four wheels is considered road vermin.

Some might say that this is an issue that all cyclists encounter on Singapore’s roads, and that food delivery cyclists are no different. However, unlike regular cyclists, food delivery cyclists operate under tight deadlines, and work with a compensation system that rewards them for every drop or docket completed. It’s therefore no surprise that we are seeing more accidents involving this group of road users.

If the food delivery companies are going to continue to use cyclists to meet their orders, then the onus is on them to ensure that their cyclists either have a valid driving license, or take a road safety course before starting work.

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