Published: 05:00, 19 December 2021
| Updated: 10:40, 20 December 2021
A bid has been launched to ban delivery riders from bombing along the high street on motorcycles or mopeds, amid fears there could be a “nasty accident”.
Lib Dem councillor Michael Dixey has drawn up proposals to put an end to Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats employees weaving through pedestrianised areas across the Canterbury.
The veteran politician is urging the city council to write to the delivery firms informing them “their drivers may not use motorised vehicles” in these zones.
Supporter of the scheme Cllr Nick Eden-Green says he has received a dozen complaints from concerned residents about the issue in recent months.
“The problem is we’ve now got a lot of learner-driver motor scooters used by delivery firms roaring up and down the high street,” he said.
“Vehicles may be technically allowed on the high street, but delivery drivers who are in a hurry to get hot meals to people should not be driving up there at often quite high speeds.
“I had a near-miss last Tuesday night when I encountered one who was doing a good 30mph – and obviously there were a lot of pedestrians up and down the high street.
“Mixing pedestrians and vehicles is dangerous. I fear there could be a nasty accident.”
Traffic orders state that vehicles “used for the conveyance of goods or merchandise” to and from premises in St Peter’s Street, High Street, the Parade and St George’s Street are allowed to access the routes.
Under the plans, the city council would also press colleagues in County Hall to “tighten” regulations concerning bike-riding on pavements.
Delivery riders - on cycles and motorbikes - will be required to carry “clear identification” to ensure offenders can be fined or hauled in front of magistrates.
“In the case of delivery riders, they should at least be easily identifiable so that if someone is riding dangerously, there’s an opportunity to report them,” Cllr Eden-Green added.
“The big delivery bags that they have should have a straightforward number on.”
A spokeswoman for Just Eat stresses that the company instructs its restaurants to ensure drivers follow local road laws, as it ranks “the safety of couriers, road users and the public as a key priority”.
She added: “If we are ever made aware a courier delivering on our behalf has acted in a way that does not uphold the standards we hope to deliver, we will of course take action as appropriate.”
As part of Cllr Dixey’s planned crackdown, he is also calling on police to “enforce the law on the unauthorised use of motor vehicles, including e-scooters, in pedestrian areas, footpaths and pavements”.
While privately owned e-scooters are illegal to ride in public spaces across Canterbury, residents have complained that their number has exploded across the district.
Just last year, 19-year-old Joshua Mpia ploughed into mum-of-three Pauline Lilford, who suffered two broken limbs, as he rode one of the illicit vehicles along a pavement in St Thomas Hill.
The vehicles can only be ridden in public areas as part of government-backed trials, like the one being led in the city by Bird.
Responding to Cllr Dixey’s calls, a spokesman for the firm said: “We communicate to our riders that our vehicles must be used on the roads, and designated safe areas, at the start of every ride. "We have a zero-tolerance policy for irresponsible riding and will suspend riders from our platform who are found to be riding irresponsibly.”
Cllr Dixey was due to present his bid to ban the vehicles from travelling through the city centre as a motion to a full council meeting on Thursday this week. However, the meeting was postponed amid growing concern over the Omicron Covid variant.
Uber Eats and Deliveroo were also contacted for comment.