Food firms 'need to act' over traffic offenses by couriers

Statistics show that 76 food deliverymen were injured or killed in traffic accidents around the city in the first half of this year.
Chen Huizhi / SHINE

Shanghai traffic police said on Monday they have talked to eight companies with food delivery services and asked them to enhance road safety management of their bike-riding deliverymen.

Statistics show that 76 food deliverymen were injured or killed in traffic accidents around the city in the first half of this year, and in most of the fatal cases the deliverymen on bikes bumped into motor vehicles while breaking the traffic law, police said.

Deliverymen from ele.me and Meituan each accounted for 26 percent of those accidents, according to the police.

Due to the problem of rampant traffic violations from food deliverymen on bikes, police talked to the two companies as well as to Baidu Waimai, Dada, Daojia, Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald’s.

“Every one of those companies have regulations about safe bike-riding of the deliverymen, but it’s a question whether the deliverymen really bear them in mind,” said Wang Liang, vice head of Shanghai traffic police, adding that the police will keep cracking down on traffic offenses from all bike riders.

The eight companies were told to ask their deliverymen to tick a safe riding pledge before taking orders, to ensure that all bikes used by their couriers are of legal standards, and to issue the police with a named list of all their deliverymen.

The companies are also expected to learn from best practices, among which police highlighted two efforts from ele.me.

Since mid-July, ele.me deliverymen have been asked to keep a card with them for the police to write down all their traffic offenses, and those with 12 demerits will be suspended till they pass a written test of the traffic law and complete one hour in the street working as a traffic volunteer.

According to its rules, the deliverymen will be suspended at once if police find them using streets, elevated roads, bridges or tunnels where bikes are banned.

The company has also completed a registry of all deliverymen’s bike information to prevent them from using bikes that aren't up to legal standards during their work.

An ele.me deliveryman surnamed Li told Shanghai Daily that he has been working as a deliveryman for only two weeks but he had used wrong lanes a few times so as not to be late delivering food.

“Most food deliverymen have to ignore the traffic law from time to time,” he said, adding that he hadn’t been caught by the traffic police for his offenses yet.

Li delivers food from a small restaurant on Weihai Road to customers in Jing’an, Huangpu and Changning districst and said he takes 60 to 70 orders on a weekday.

A Meituan deliveryman surnamed Cui, said he never risks his life by breaking the traffic law.

“I’m often delayed by the restaurants which are slow to get the food ready, but in this case I will call the client and ask him to be patient.”

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