The Scottish Government’s official cycling development body told the Scotland on Sunday of its concern over the antics of some of the increasing numbers of riders delivering food and other items from restaurants and takeaways to people’s homes. Some riders have also been spotted on pavements, riding in the dark without lights and going the wrong way along one-way streets.
Cycling Scotland said a study by University College London in 2018 found training was often minimal and some riders also checked orders on their phones while riding.
Research by the Scotland on Sunday discovered applicants to ride for Deliveroo simply had to complete online forms and watch a series of videos that made only brief references to road safety and traffic laws.
Cycling Scotland policy officer Kate Samuels said: “We’re seeing an increasing number of deliveries being made by bike in Scotland, which is really positive. As well as helping us cut carbon emissions, it helps reduce congestion and improves our air quality.
"Unfortunately, there is a known issue with people making fast food deliveries by bike not obeying the rules of the road, from cycling through red lights to riding motorised bikes or mopeds on shared paths intended for pedal bikes. While this can be driven by the need to earn a living wage, it’s not acceptable.
"Delivery companies need to resolve this, by considering working arrangements more carefully on an ongoing basis and fundamentally taking the safety of riders and other road users seriously. It’s self-evident that the need for review also applies to working arrangements for delivery vehicles where risks of harm to the driver and others are much greater.”
An Uber Eats spokesperson said: “The safety of our customers, couriers and the general public is a top priority for Uber Eats. We expect couriers to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations, including the Highway Code, and we have measures in place to help ensure couriers use appropriate vehicles.”
The firm said if it detected a pattern of deliveries being completed at a speed “inconsistent” with the use of a bicycle or an electric bike, it would request the courier verified their vehicle before continuing to use its app.
Deliveroo described road safety as its number one priority. The company said it took a “zero-tolerance approach” to any rider found to have broken the law or who had put themselves or anyone else in danger through dangerous driving or riding. The firm said if a rider was found to have broken the rules of the road, Deliveroo would not work with them.
However, the company said riders were not left to themselves or unsure about the rules of work. It said they had access to a “huge range” of information via its app to help them choose whether they wanted to accept or reject an order. This included the location of the restaurant and customer and the fee being offered for that delivery
Deliveroo said riders were free to reject as many orders as they wanted, which would not have any impact on how many orders they would be offered in the future.