Road safety event for food delivery riders calls attention to their work-related risks

Four out of six recorded vehicular-related fatalities involve delivery or dispatch riders on duty. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - GrabFood delivery rider Billy Ling makes his deliveries rain or shine.

The 44-year-old, who is his 71-year-old mother's sole caregiver, joined Grab in May 2019, picking up and delivering food by bicycle on tight schedules.

Mr Ling, like other delivery riders, faces risks on a daily basis while plying the roads.

"These workers' journeys on the road can be precarious and they are vulnerable to skids and falls especially in wet weather or when they rush to meet delivery timings," said Ms Yeo Wan Ling, adviser to the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA), an NTUC-affliated organisation.

Speaking at the NDCA's Ride Safe for My Family event at Our Tampines Hub on Thursday (June 9), she said more can be done to address the well-being and safety of delivery riders, such as having bulk orders matched to a more appropriate delivery mode instead of bicycles and power-assisted bicycles.

Ms Yeo, who is also an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, urged stakeholders to join NDCA's efforts to create safer work conditions for them.

With 2022 designated as the Year of Celebrating SG Families, the event aims to raise awareness of road safety. Riders, many of whom are parents and have to support their families, are encouraged to prioritise safety while working.

According to the Ministry of Manpower's Workplace Safety and Health Report for the first half of 2021, vehicular accidents continued to be a leading cause of work-related fatalities, with four out of the six recorded vehicular-related fatalities involving delivery or dispatch riders on duty.

At the event, riders attended a talk on e-bike safety checks by the Safe Cycling Task Force and TWD Bicycle, a bicycle retailer, and learnt how to maintain their equipment.

Foodpanda and GrabFood delivery rider Joshua Tan, who attended the event, highlighted other challenges faced by riders.

"Unlike people with office jobs, we find it hard to get financial compensation when we have work-related injuries," said the 53-year-old, a former limousine driver.

But many food delivery riders stay in this line to make ends meet, and to have the flexibility to tend to family matters.

Mr Ling said: "Working as a rider gives me the time and flexibility to take my mother to her medical appointments. It is a very big, if not the main, reason I continue working as a rider."

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