Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham plans to address road safety issues for gig workers who deliver food for the major online apps in the city. Speaking on a BBC Radio Manchester phone-in, Burnham agreed with a caller who was concerned that the speed of electric bikes is a safety issue, partly as these can’t legally use cycle lanes. The Mayor went on to promise firm action, saying:
“I’m going to get these companies together. “The likes of Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat, there’s a whole number of them isn’t there? They have to be put on the spot to sign up to some standards here in relation to the clothing, the basic equipment on the bikes, i.e. lights.
“If they’re dressed in black that’s not helpful is it to people later at night, that’s a problem – people can struggle to see some of these delivery drivers at times.
“There has to be a set of standards with regard to equipment and behaviour of the drivers. No-one here is about making someone who’s got a tough working life making it much harder and clamping down, we understand people have got to make a living but it’s got to be done safely, hasn’t it?
“I wouldn’t put the pressure on the individuals, it’s got to be on the companies. These companies are making massive amounts of money out of these services. It’s their responsibility first-and-foremost to ensure that they’re doing so safely and not putting the public at risk.
“So, if you’re listening, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Just Eat: you’re going to be getting an invitation to a meeting and you better come with some good answers.”
It’s a move that mirrors a recent development in London, where gig companies have signed up to a Charter of road safety commitments, including 6-monthly forums to share ideas on how to further improve safety for their workers.