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Delivery apps should take responsibility for riders' e-bikes says electrical safety charity

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Alex Bowden's picture

Alex Bowden

Alex has been editor of ebiketips since 2021. He previously contributed news, reviews and more to road.cc and has also had a parallel (largely lapsed) career writing about cricket for various publications.

5 comments

8 months 3 weeks ago

I've seen "legit" hired e-bikes from the likes of Zoomo modified to bypass the cadence sensor or obviously moving under power beyond the legal speed. 

So "company approved e-micromobility vehicles" is not a panacea.

9 months 1 day ago

As others have said how about companies start by just taking responsibility for their "employees-not-really-employees" in general?  Delivery companies' business models uses public infra as a major resource.  What they're selling (to their customers) is often faster services.  Some of the costs of that are outsourced to us all.  Whether that's turning a blind eye (or deliberately incentivising) practices which will lead to dangerous or illegal road use or effectively dodging tax / paying their staff below the minimum - we all pick up the bill.  Never mind the inconvenience of illegally / badly-parked delivery vehicles all over the place.  Not an emergency service!

9 months 1 day ago

Actually a very good idea to hold the contracting companies responsible for the _near universal_ disregard for laws and regs around eBikes by their delivery riders. These bikes are unsafe on the road - many souped up to 35, even 40+ speeds, on very rickety wheels often - and unsafe when stored in housing thanks to the batteries and low-quality BMS electronics.

Problem, as per the other comment, is the need for enforcement.

9 months 2 days ago

Public services need a bit of joined up thinking to save lives.

The Fire Brigades are now regularly attending (illegal) eBike and (illegal) eScooter fires. Some of these have been fatal and the trend is heading in the wrong direction - with more fires inside multi occupancy dwellings and also in the communal areas e.g. stairwells, preventing the means of escape for multiple dwellings. It's only a matter of time before we get a Grenfell type tragedy again.

Meanwhile the Police already have powers to seize illegal eScooters and eBikes. The process to identify such vehciles is simple : 1) all non rented eScooters are illegal to use on public roads 2) all eBikes that give assistance over 16mph and / or give assistance without peddling e.g. uphill are illegal and can be seized.

Police forces currently have a record number of warranted officers so the capacity issue is less credible than 2-3 years ago.

For the police, finding / seizing eBikes used by the food service couriers (Uber, Deliveroo, Just Eat) couldn't be easier. They just need to wait up at the nearest high volume food outlets e.g. McDonalds and wait for them to turn up. Enforcement action would be quick and effective. Once "riders" know they are likely to have their eBike seized and face prosecution under the Road Traffic Act they will either change their vehicles or pack it in altogether.

But this won't happen because the services don't work together and the police can't be bothered  - even when the road crimes are literally taking place on their own doorstep. In my locality the illegal deliveroo bikes are parked up within 50 metres of the main police station and even then the police apparently can't see what everyone else can. Presumably the next time there's a tragedy in a tower block caused by eBikes / eScooters the police will deploy huge numbers of officers to the restore public confidence vs. acting proactively to avoid it happening in the first place.

9 months 2 days ago

excellent - every food delivery ebike/scooter in Cambridge is illegally chipped and travel way too fast for cycle lanes but the companies who employ these numpties don't do anything about it