Number of deaths of delivery riders rises tenfold during pandemic
İdris Emen - ISTANBUL
The number of motorcycle couriers who died in traffic accidents amid the pandemic has risen 10 times compared to the previous year, according to data obtained from the Federation of All Anatolian Motorcycle Couriers (TAMKF).
The data showed that 190 delivery drivers died since March 2020 – when the first coronavirus case appeared in Turkey. The number of deaths was 19 in 2019.
“We have figured that delivery riders have gotten involved into some 63,000 traffic accidents since the start of the pandemic,” said Çağdaş Yavuz, the head of TAMKF, on March 4.
Due to lockdowns and curfews after the start of the pandemic, the demand for motorcycle couriers and online sales has skyrocketed, as people were strictly urged to stay home.
“Because of the increasing demand, a lot of inexperienced people started deliveries on motorbikes,” said Yavuz, indicating them as the main reason behind the increase in cases of accidents.
Another reason why the couriers got involved in accidents was the pressure to speed in order to carry out deliveries fast or on time.
Online sales have added to this pressure as shopping centers were shuttered or people were increasingly encouraged to do all their shopping online from home.
According to Yavuz, the number of the accidents can be lowered by giving vocational education to the drivers and improving their working conditions.
“Any motorcycle courier can get a compliance certificate from the country’s Vocational Qualifications Authority. But it should not be optional, it must be compulsory by law that the delivery drivers cannot drive on roads without these certificates,” Yavuz noted.
He also demanded that the tax on protective equipment like helmets should decrease so that all delivery drivers can be able to afford them.
Despite the accidents, however, the pandemic has been a time when the working hours of these drivers have lowered.
Nihat Özdemir, a courier company owner, said the motorcycle couriers deliver approximately 20 to 25 pieces during their shifts.
As there were fewer motorcycle couriers in the sector before the pandemic, a delivery driver used to deliver 60 to 70 pieces a day, Özdemis added.