Bicycle NSW is aware of the safety issues surrounding food delivery by bicycle, and we were pleased to see efforts made to improve them.
Challenges Around Food Delivery Riders
Bicycle NSW has written articles previously about the challenges presented to and by food delivery riders.
Pay rates far below award, no sick leave or WorkCover if injured, little or no rider or road rules training, dangerous working conditions and the pressure to work as fast as possible to make a living, all contribute to the issue. The COVID-19 pandemic saw our Prime Minister define food delivery riders as essential workers, and demand for their services has rapidly increased.
According to NSW Labor’s Shadow Minister for Active Transport Jo Haylen, 25% of riders reported being involved in accidents and one in eight reported sustaining knee injuries, concussions or broken bones. In any other workplace, SafeWork NSW would take action.
Bill into Parliament
NSW Labor has tackled the issue by introducing a Bill into Parliament to force food delivery companies to provide their workers with critical personal protective equipment. Jo Haylen said food delivery companies like DoorDash, Menulog, UBER Eats and Deliveroo should provide their riders with personal safety gear such as bicycle helmets, bike lights, reflectors and high-vis vests.
The Shadow Minister for the Gig Economy Daniel Mookhey said the Government needs to ensure companies do the right thing by both their workers and road users. The COVID-19 recession, rising unemployment and greater need for food delivery to stay COVID-safe has prompted a surge in inexperienced bike riders working in the gig economy.
Delivery riders are being forced to choose between their own safety and making a living in desperate times. We agree with Daniel Mookhey MP.
“Gig workers are entitled to a safe workplace. Providing gig workers with safety equipment is a simple first step.” Mr Mookhey said.
“It is worrying that the Transport Workers Union has found that as many as one third of gig workers have been injured on the job…It is the responsibility of the New South Wales Government to ensure all workers go to work and come home safe,” said Daniel.
Bicycle NSW supports measures to help keep food delivery riders safer, and we hope this legislation will result in better treatment of bike-based workers.