Taken from the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS) newsletter.

Food couriers are concerned about the number of new and inexperienced riders on Sydney’s roads, with many cyclists signing up to delivery apps for the first time amid increased unemployment. Surry Hills resident Philippe Goncalves, 27, has been riding a motorbike for Uber Eats for the past year after moving from Paris to Sydney. Recently, he said, Newtown had turned into the “the Tour de France” with the number of delivery cyclists on the road. Mr Goncalves said more new cyclists on the road meant a greater chance of an incident occurring between riders.

“With the COVID it’s even more [risky] because many of the backpackers used to work in restaurants, bars, construction and they’ve lost their jobs,” he said. “So they went to something hiring, which is food deliveries.”

An Uber Eats spokeswoman said the pressure on couriers throughout the coronavirus period has been “immense”. “When a delivery partner signs up to use the app, they receive an introduction to the app and information about road safety,” she said. “Safety is always a top priority for Uber Eats. This has never been more important than it is now.”

Livia Nicoliello, a 35-year-old from Merrylands, was on a bike with Uber Eats before switching to car deliveries with Menulog. He said due to COVID-19, those doing food deliveries by car also have to pay extra attention to delivery cyclists. “Many are from other countries and don’t know much about the laws,” Mr Nicoliello said. “They cross in front of the car…I see a lot of cyclists doing the wrong thing.”

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