Motorcycle Delivery Drivers

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 25th October 2022.

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Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

What are you doing to ensure a safe environment with the rise in motorcycle deliveries?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

My Transport Strategy established the aim of eradicating all deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads by 2041, and to achieve Vision Zero we have to create a safe environment for all road users. Since the baseline, motorcyclist key stats ‑ the number of people killed and seriously injured (KSIs) ‑ have reduced by 33%, but people riding motorcycles, mopeds and scooters sadly remain significantly overrepresented in incidents on our roads. While they represent only 3% of vehicle kilometres driven, they still accounted for 19% of deaths on London’s roads in 2021.

The food delivery industry has more than doubled since the beginning of 2020, bringing with it an increase in delivery riders. TfL estimates that up to 40,000 currently operate in London, most of them ride high‑risk, low‑powered motorcycles and scooters and they have only completed basic training. Motorcycles with engines under 125cc have the highest casualty numbers and these causalities have increased over the past five years; 3,459 in 2017 to 4,656 in 2021.

TfL is engaging directly with the sector to help protect those riders. In November, next month, TfL will be hosting a forum for food and grocery delivery companies, designed to help share best practice and deliver longer‑term cooperation and improvements to safety for riders. In parallel, TfL is updating its own design guidance, ensuring that all high‑risk schemes consider motorcycle safety, and this will be completed in 2023. TfL offers a range of free enhanced motorcycle training courses, including the Beyond Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course aimed at delivery riders. This work also includes a partnership with the MPS to deliver BikeSafe training.

The CBT for motorcycles and mopeds, which is the responsibility of Government, was developed over 30 years ago and needs revision. It currently enables people as young as 17 to ride motorcycles up to a speed of 70 mph with L‑plates after only one day of training. TfL will continue to lobby for improvements to this legal minimum standard, but this requires action from Government. TfL also continues to make further progress on my wider Vision Zero commitments, including lowering speeds on its roads and improving the most dangerous junctions. The number of injuries to motorcycle users has fallen by an average of 18% across our improved junctions.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Thank you very much for your answer. Collisions involving powered two‑wheelers have increased by 16.5% in the last year and tragically 14 motorcyclists were killed on our roads in 2021, with more than 900 severely injured. Out of all the things you were talking about, what is your personal priority to focus on to try to reduce this danger on our roads?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

One of the key things is that we have to change CBT. It does not work, it is 30 years old, and it is not fit for purpose. By the way, there is no test. You go along for a day, you ride ‑ whatever you do ‑ around the cones and stuff for the day, you wear the high viz and you can then go out and ride a motorbike up to 70 mph with pizzas on the back, with an app where you get paid more the more deliveries you do in an hour. It is a combination of reforming CBT, but also the forum next month is very important. We need responsible businesses to recognise that it is a danger to their staff and the payment method, and so a combination of those two will really make a big difference.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Thank you. Have you personally met with companies such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and so on to discuss improving the safety of the industry? It is great to hear that TfL is having this forum and some of that came out of a discussion I went to, a roundtable, a while ago. Have you had any discussions with them about trying to improve this area of safety?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Yes, I have discussed with a couple of the chief executive officers (CEOs) the issue of their staff safety and the terms and conditions, generally speaking, of their staff. I think the good companies and big ones get it and you will hear some good news, which is very imminent. One of them has already announced some good news. It is not fair if I name them; unpaid‑for publicity is probably not wise. There are some really good companies and what we are going to do after November [2022] is name and praise them properly, and give the chance to others to come up to spec. There are some good examples of businesses who get it and also understand the issues around carbon footprint and around terms and conditions in relation to road danger for not just their riders but also to others as well.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Yes, we are seeing this huge rise in motorcycle delivery drivers, and they are having a huge impact on our high streets across London with motorcycles parked dangerously on pavements, engine idling, speeding bikes, litter and far worse, quite frankly, using estates and places as toilets. You could lead the way on this area, Mr Mayor, and it sounds like the discussions are starting. I really hope you might consider this option. Will you consider introducing a mayoral standard or charter mark for such delivery companies? Companies could apply for this. They could demonstrate all the things we have discussed: comprehensive motorcycle training for drivers, decent working conditions, including access to facilities and breaks, which again will ensure safety on our streets, and the use of cleaner vehicles. Is this an idea that you will explore?

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Watch this space? Well, there you go. It sounds like ‑‑

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

You are in danger of ruining my grid.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

I am very pleased to ruin your grid. I did have a conversation with officers a few months ago and started suggesting this, so it sounds like they may have jumped at the idea.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

There are some things where we do not have the powers to do things, right? However, we have convening power and the bully pulpit of City Hall.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Also, the name and praise model is really important. If you as a punter knew that the company you are buying your pizza off, your fast food from or whatever was somebody who is signed up to a ‑ I will use the word “charter” because it is your word ‑ charter, that may affect your spending habits. Also, it raises pressure on the others to raise their standards as well, which is really important. Most consumers in London are quite savvy and want to do the right thing. It is important, and also we should look after our people, workers.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Yes, exactly. Lovely. Thank you for your positive response and I look forward to seeing the announcements shortly then. Thank you.