RECKLESS bike couriers endanger pedestrians by violating traffic rules in the country’s first environmental zone.
Riders on e-bikes, which can reach speeds of nearly 30mph, are tearing through red lights, tearing through crowds and speeding down one-way streets in Glasgow city centre.
Their number has risen sharply with the advent of food delivery apps – packages being shuttled back and forth between restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways.
Council leaders have banned cars that don’t meet strict environmental guidelines from the city center to reduce pollution and encourage walking and cycling.
Stuart Hay, director of the Living Streets Scotland charity, warns efforts are being thwarted by fraudulent e-bikers.
He told The Scottish Sun: “The introduction of low emission zones must be complemented by measures to improve roads for pedestrians and cyclists.
“If we want fewer cars on the road to improve air quality, we need to make the alternatives safe and attractive.
“Cycling on the sidewalk is a criminal offense and can create a feeling of unsafety among pedestrians.
“The speed, acceleration and the fact that e-scooters and e-bikes are very quiet mean that they can create more alarm and potential danger for some pedestrians, such as children, disabled people and people with visual impairments.
“The law must be better enforced and the police must be given adequate resources to deter this behavior.”
The Glasgow City Council LEZ is linked to the M8 motorway and the River Clyde and encompasses the whole of the city centre.
The goal is to reduce the number of cars on the streets to reduce the 350 pollution-related deaths a year and create “20-minute neighborhoods” where amenities can be reached quickly by foot, bike or public transport can be reached.
Bike messengers have skyrocketed in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, as they have been used to deliver groceries and necessities ordered over the phone.
We watched for an hour as they escorted families and tourists to safety by running across sidewalks and red lights while the green man appeared in George Square in the shadow of the local authority’s headquarters.
A driver fingered motorists as they swerved across the road to avoid traffic.
Another driver went the wrong way up a busy one-way street before hitting the sidewalk and speeding away.
Fraudulent cyclists also included those wearing clothing bearing the logos of food suppliers – including Just Eat and Deliveroo.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Transport Minister Graham Simpson MSP said: “It’s great that goods are being delivered by bike, but cyclists have to obey traffic rules.”
“You can’t fly through red lights and you can’t step over sidewalks, causing pedestrians to disperse.
“It’s up to delivery companies to educate their passengers, but there’s also an enforcement issue, compounded by a lack of resources for the police.”
Electric bikes that meet British standards can be ridden by anyone over the age of 14.
Cyclists do not need a driver’s license and do not have to be registered, taxed or insured.
However, it is illegal to use their engines to reach speeds of more than 25 km/h.
More powerful e-bikes can reach 28mph but do not comply with UK laws and are classed as motorcycles or mopeds and must be registered and taxed.
Cyclists must wear a crash helmet and need a driver’s license to ride.
According to Just Eat, the drivers are “self-employed contractors” who are subject to a code of conduct and “must ensure they drive safely and with due care and attention”.
A spokesman said: “We take an evidence-based approach to holding couriers accountable when we receive a complaint about their actions.
“We take a range of actions depending on the severity and take a zero-tolerance approach to criminal behavior.”
Deliveroo says its couriers are required to complete a “road safety counseling programme” and regularly “reminds them they must obey traffic rules”.
A spokesman said: “The safety of our drivers and other road users is a priority.
“We have a zero tolerance policy towards any driver who has broken the law while riding with us.”
Glasgow City Council says it’s the police’s job to catch lawbreakers.
A spokesman said: “All road users are fundamentally responsible for complying with the road traffic regulations at all times.”
“The aim of the road traffic regulations is to promote the safe use of limited road space and to minimize the risk for all road users.
“Failure to obey the Highway Code makes individuals liable for police enforcement actions.
“Our plans to improve the city’s transport network are focused on supporting the most vulnerable road users and making walking, cycling and cycling more viable for everyday journeys.”
Older cars are now banned from central Glasgow after the controversial low emission zone for ordinary drivers came into force on Thursday
Drivers with a petrol engine built before 2006 or a diesel engine built before 2015 will be charged a fine of £60 upon entry.
Scottish Police say they can only comment on a specific incident if a complaint has been made.
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