He says it has worsened under the current pandemic lockdown, as more and more people use online services to order meals.
Delivery rider scrutiny
“The food delivery industry — part of the burgeoning gig economy — is in dire need of regulatory oversight as well as scrutiny from road safety authorities,” Jason says.
“As a significant number of these workers are from overseas, it would not surprise me if they do not hold an Australian licence.
“Many such riders therefore tend to be unfamiliar with, or have little regard for, Australia’s traffic system and road rules — often endangering other road users, including pedestrians, for very little gain.
“For years, I have observed them on barely roadworthy motorbikes and scooters, choosing to behave in an increasingly dangerous manner as they stare at their mobiles, focussing on text and video conversations instead of their surroundings.
“Even L-platers can be frequently seen lane filtering, lane splitting, kerb filtering, failing to give way, chucking U-turns into the path of oncoming traffic, running red lights, almost striking pedestrians who are crossing legally … the list goes on.”
Under lane filtering rules, only those who hold a full Australian motorcycle licence are permitted to lane filter, not overseas licence holders.
We asked Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne councils if they had an issue with scooter delivery riders and whether they were over-represented in traffic and parking fines. However, they said they didn’t keep records relating to delivery riders. They also didn’t have any specific operations to keep a check on them.
Jason says the perceived lack of targeted action by the relevant authorities to hold errant delivery riders to account is perplexing.
“Over the past few years, I have observed an increase in the number of delivery riders taking more risks, breaking more road rules and creating close calls — yet we have not seen a campaign targeting them,” he says.
“The message needs to be spelled out and enforced with no wiggle room: inconsiderate, reckless and dangerous riding that puts others at needless risk will not be tolerated.”
Jason says it’s not just motorcycle and scooter delivery riders at fault.
He says many push-bike delivery riders are also illegally riding on footpaths, including many on power-assisted electric bikes despite the roads being relatively empty during the lockdown.
“They power through narrow footpaths at ridiculous speeds, speed past shop entrances and intersections, bang the bell when approaching pedestrians and frighten them out of their way — others silently scrape past those on foot with very little room to spare.”
In some states, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on pedestrian footpaths, but there are some exceptions for children.
Licensing and training
Jason says all delivery riders should be made to undertake road rules training and a defensive riding course.
“It could provide the impetus for food delivery riders to understand the responsibilities that come with operating a vehicle on the roads safely, sensibly and considerately,” he says.
“At the end of the day, it is about their safety as well — not merely the general public’s.”
He also points out that people with overseas driver/rider licences must obtain a relevant local licence after a certain period, usually three months.
Jason says this should be rigidly enforced.