Abu Dhabi: They show up at the gates of the country, bringing us deliveries that comfort and satiate. However, a total of 13 delivery biker deaths were recorded in Abu Dhabi in 2020, compared to nine deaths in 2019.
A number of risky biker behaviors, combined with a sudden and significant growth in the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, are behind these deaths.
Today, in an attempt to ensure the safety of these delivery people, who have become an essential part of the food and drink sector, the Emirate’s Joint Committee for Road Safety has launched a series of workshops aimed at to encourage safer behavior of motorcyclists. In addition to educating runners employed by food delivery services, restaurants, courier companies and consumer goods stores, authorities will also collect feedback from runners on the challenges they face during the hours of the race. job.
Focus on PPE
The first workshop focused on the use of pilot equipment and personal protective equipment, including hard hats, gloves, vests and boots. The next sessions will encourage safer behavior of motorcyclists on the roads, including obeying speed limits and traffic rules.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of motorcycle delivery personnel over the past year in order to meet the increased demand for deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase has resulted in more deaths and accidents among this group of personnel, and we want to put an end to these tragedies, ”said Sumaya Neyadi, head of the road safety section at the Integrated Transport Center (ITC) of the United States. Ministry of Municipalities and Transport. .
In addition to the ITC, the joint committee also includes the Abu Dhabi Police and the Ministry of Health (DoH).
“We have noticed a number of reckless rider behaviors and our first goal is to correct them. For example, many cyclists wear slippers and sandals, when they should wear appropriate PPE [personal protective equipment] which includes boots, gloves and handles. Another behavior that we would like to curb is overtaking other vehicles, ”said Neyadi on the sidelines of the awareness sessions.
Delivery men from Talabat and Deliveroo, two of Abu Dhabi’s largest app-based food delivery companies, were present at the first workshop. Following the information section of the session, a number of cyclists attending the event highlighted the issues they faced on the roads, including the lack of response from traffic lights to bikes.
“By educating bikers, we also want to make their work easier and safer. This is why we are also collecting feedback, ”Neyadi said.
Chiring Tamang, 31, came to the UAE from Nepal in 2006. After working as a sandwich artist for years, he switched to delivering food for Deliveroo earlier this year. “I make between 18 and 27 food deliveries each day, working until 3 pm in downtown Abu Dhabi. The work is fun and I can save money to support my parents at home, ”he said. Gulf News.
Tamang said he was happy with his job change and even recently took a National Day break to celebrate with his friends. “I would love to open my own restaurant someday and I hope my income will add up so that I can make this dream come true,” he said. When asked what he expects from the clients he serves, Tamang said it is access to accurate information. “It really helps if we have the right location for delivery and a reachable contact number. By using them, we can deliver quickly, which also ensures customer satisfaction, ”Tamang said.
“As bikers, I think we also need to be respectful to other motorists on the road and other people we meet while waiting in restaurants to pick up deliveries,” he added.
Thank you patient customers
Matiur Rahman, who works with Talabat, said he is doing his best to always make his deliveries on time. “I am grateful to the customers who are patient and cordial to us runners. For our part, we try to serve customers the best that we can, ”he said, before reiterating that it was always helpful to have complete information about each customer’s delivery.
The 26-year-old Pakistani has worked as a delivery man in Abu Dhabi since 2019.
“I have been cycling for over eight years and came to the United Arab Emirates to support my parents and two younger brothers. I now earn up to 5,000 Dh per month, and after paying my rent and covering other basic expenses, I send around 2,500 Dh to my family every month, ”he said.
A new policy that regulates the behavior of drivers and the operations of delivery companies is expected to be launched this year. “For example, delivery companies have to provide protective gear for cyclists. We will also call for guarantees that reduce the stress for passengers of having to meet their delivery deadlines, thus reducing their need to speed up and overtake others on the road, ”explained Neyadi.
In addition, the policy will also regulate hours of work, distances traveled to work and time off.
In the meantime, the joint committee will begin handing out up to 65 awards to delivery men who obey traffic rules and wear appropriate PPE for the job.
In the future, fines and penalties could be introduced if these minimum safety requirements are not met, officials have warned.