Singapore—The Sunday Times tallied the statistics concerning accidents that involve food delivery riders from the past year to this year, and the numbers show that there were at least 25 such incidents, even though police say there is no official data as yet.
Between 2016 and 2017, there were only three accidents involving food delivery riders.
In 2018, the number of incidents rose to 12, and as of December 20 of this year, there have been 13 incidents so far. According to The Sunday Times, “Industry observers and food delivery riders believe that the real figure is higher.”
In what is perhaps the most tragic of these incidents, a 42-year-old GrabFood delivery rider was killed in a collision involving his motorcycle and a truck along Gambas Avenue towards Woodlands Avenue 8 late on December 20. The rider, Mr Phang Wei Sum, had been working in the country for more than 10 years and was employed full-time at an electronic engineering firm. He took a second job in order to support his wife and their 11-year-old daughter, after his wife had to stop working when she fell ill.me
Mr Phang had only been working for GrabFood for one month when the accident occurred.
The Sunday Times reports police as saying that they have no data regarding the number of accidents based on the jobs of the people who figured in the mishaps, including food delivery riders, and added that neither do food delivery companies have this information.
But The Sunday Times spoke to a number of food delivery riders themselves, nine out of 10 of whom said that they themselves had figured in accidents or knew someone in the same business who had also been in accidents, saying that many of these mishaps had been due to the following reasons: the rush to complete food orders, reckless divers and careless pedestrians.
The report in The Sunday Times quotes Ramdan Samat, a 32-year-old GrabFood rider who says that he has been in a number of close shaves while on the job, as saying, “Food delivery riders often work long and odd hours and suffer from fatigue. We also have to deal with impatient customers who press us to deliver their food fast.”
The Sunday Times spoke to the three biggest employers of food delivery riders—GrabFood, Foodpanda, and Deliveroo, who have said that they have training programmes and courses designed with the safety of riders, such as online training modules and videos, as well as safety kits with bright coloured apparel to make sure that the riders are easily seen.
But according to National University of Singapore (NUS) Professor Chin Hoong Chor, this assumes that the onus is on the riders when it comes to safety, when there are other factors to consider as well.
“There is little understanding on accidents caused by PMDs (personal mobility devices). More riders and more trips simply increase the exposure to the risk. Without addressing the risk holistically, the problem will not go away,” he said. -/TISG