Cost of delivering on time in UAE: Motorcycle accidents, casualties rise

22 killed, 253 injured in accidents caused by bikes last year, say Dubai Police



Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 7 Mar 2022, 11:23 AM

Last updated: Tue 8 Mar 2022, 6:50 PM

E-commerce and delivery businesses flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic, as residents preferred ordering meals rather than eat out. Even though Covid safety rules have been eased, many residents still order food and groceries online.

However, the boom meant more pressure on delivery riders to deliver on time, every single time.

Data released by the Dubai Police on Sunday shows that 22 people were killed and 253 injured in road accidents involving motorcycles last year. In the first two months of the year, the police’s traffic department recorded 46 accidents that caused three deaths and 47 injuries.

The police have urged delivery service companies to educate riders about the importance of adhering to traffic safety rules.

Sharp rise in accidents

This is not an issue that is restricted to Dubai.

According to the Abu Dhabi Police, 162 crashes involving riders took place in 2019, which increased to 170 in 2020 and hit 210 in 2021 — a year-on-year rise of 23 per cent. The number of fatalities has been on the rise, too: From nine in 2019 to 13 in 2020.

A top official had said that root causes of about 79 per cent accidents were non-compliance with traffic laws and tailgating.

Sumaya Saeed Al Neyadi, road safety section head at the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), had told reporters: “In most cases, safety issues can be traced back to the riders and their driving behaviour. Delivery riders were spotted overtaking cars, not wearing proper protective equipment, speeding, working long hours resulting in fatigue and so on."

A video shared by the ITC captures some of these violations:

Customers get upset when orders are delayed: Delivery riders

Talking to Khaleej Times, police officers had expressed concern about delivery riders' well-being as casualties from accidents involving them increased.

Lt-Col Mohammed Alai Al Naqbi, director of the Traffic and Patrols Department at the Sharjah Police, said the most common traffic violation committed by motorcyclists was lane indiscipline.

Delivery riders dart from one lane to another or use the phone while driving, with mounting pressure to deliver food or grocery items within the stipulated time.

Source: Integrated Transport Centre survey and KT research
Source: Integrated Transport Centre survey and KT research

Arham Khan, a bike rider working at a popular food delivery company, told Khaleej Times earlier that he uses GPS to deliver orders.

“However, sometimes the maps are not accurate. Due to this, I am forced to call customers while riding.”

Ismaeel, another rider, said they have no choice but to speed “as customers get upset and yell at us for delivering meals late”.

This prompts riders to zoom through the streets to keep up with orders and reach on time.

Rewarding safe driving

Authorities across the country have launched multiple programmes to ease the pressure on riders and reward safe practices.

In Abu Dhabi, for instance, the police’s Happiness Patrols pulled over delivery riders to reward them for adhering to safety rules:

A new award announced in Dubai last month aims to encourage delivery service companies and drivers to stick to traffic rules and boost road safety. The first category in the awards aims to recognise the best two companies in delivery services; and the best two via smart platforms and apps. The second category is for professional drivers and honours the best 10 drivers annually.

sahim@khaleejtimes.com


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