19 June 2021 22:41

Uber Eats introduces new ‘rules’ for Australian riders, but will it make them safe?

Uber has introduced two global first features that will hopefully improve the safety of Australian delivery riders.

Uber Australia has launched a six-point user checklist.

This checklist requires Uber Eats delivery riders to confirm their bike is safe to ride before starting delivery work.

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The in-app checklist asks riders to confirm:

  • Their brakes and tires are in good condition,
  • Reflectors and lights are attached, and
  • To follow relevant road rules.
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Speaking to Business Insider Australia, Sachin Kansal, Uber’s senior director of product management, said:

“A lot of delivery people are going to intuitively check for these things, and they will take these precautions. However, we want to add an extra layer of expertise, honestly, on the screen, so that it’s very easy for them to see these as a visual reminder.”

In Australia, it is already unlawful for bike riders to use public roads without wearing a helmet.

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Uber Australia says it will soon roll out free safety packages to riders, which will include:

  • Reflective vests,
  • Mobile phone holsters,
  • Bike lights and
  • A bell.

Till now five delivery riders have died on New South Wales roads.

NSW had earlier established Gig Economy Joint Taskforce to investigate those tragic incidents.

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The taskforce has recently released its draft safety guidelines.

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The guidelines place responsibility with the tech companies such as Uber to ensure their apps are designed to be used safely.

This should be done based on delivery times, traffic conditions and average rider speeds.

The guidelines also point to the long hours and significant physical exertion food delivery can entail.

According to Uber Eats, it locks riders out of the app once they reach a cumulative total of 12 hours on the road.

Sachin Kansal adds:

“We regularly partner with experts, with the industry, with regulators … and we want to make sure that we are participating in that dialogue, especially when it comes to road safety.”

Federally, Labor and the union want an independent tribunal to give riders employee-like rights.

This includes access to a minimum wage.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement:

“This move, which follows the NSW Taskforce’s limp guidelines shows that when government attitudes fail to address the core safety implications of exploitation, food delivery companies will make bare minimum changes for some good PR, while continuing to rip off workers and put them in danger.”

The Gig Economy Joint Taskforce’s final report and recommendations will be tabled next month.

WATCH VIDEO: Tushar Bareja shows how to do Uber Eats in Australia on an electric bike.

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