Police in Glasgow have responded to safety concerns from cyclists and a cycling charity about food delivery couriers riding illegal e-bikes dangerously in the city, the crackdown coming in the same week when a cyclist said he had been left "terrified" by a crash caused by an incident which saw him hit in a cycle lane by a courier riding the wrong way at high speed.
Officers from Police Scotland seized 15 illegal e-bikes and reported more than 20 people for road traffic offences, the Scottish Daily Express reports, pictures shared by the force on social media showing high-powered or modified illegal e-bikes that can assist the rider beyond the 15.5mph (25km/h) e-bike limit and are legally distinct from the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) requirements.
Police Scotland said it was "targeting those riding illegally modified electric bikes capable of going at high speeds", the comments coming in the same week Cycling Scotland had called on food delivery companies to provide couriers "effective training around cycling safety" and check the bikes they ride "are legal and road worthy".
Last week, one Glasgow cyclist told the story of how he had been left "terrified" and with a torn kidney after a bike lane crash caused by a courier riding the wrong way at around 15mph.
"When I think back, the guy must have been on his phone because there is no way we would have collided if he was paying any attention," Ben Williams said. "I'm terrified of them, the amount of times I have had an [illegal] e-bike come down the cycle lane at full chap. I just move out of the way now. Why risk it, I don't want to get hurt again."
Cycling Scotland's road safety manager said food delivery companies should be doing more to ensure riders' bikes are legal and effective training on cycling safety is provided.
"A simple thing would be are companies actually checking the bikes that the riders are using to make sure that they are legal?" he said. "If the riders are given effective training around cycling safety, if their bikes are checked to make sure that their bikes are legal and road worthy and if they're given effective training and support and the right safety equipment then I'm sure that would make a difference."
The Scottish Police Federation's general secretary said part of the issue was people assuming if they can buy these bikes then they must be legal, "not realising no in actual fact it's legal to buy it — but not use it on the road".
He went on to say that "absolutely" some bikes do not meet the legal standards, but in practise it is more complex as "there are not enough police officers on the street to deal with it" and stated it can be difficult to "tell just by looking at a bike how fast it is or the power of it".
Faced with the last week's developments, food delivery companies Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats all released statements saying safety is a priority.
Deliveroo said all its couriers undergo a programme of road safety guidance and are "offered equipment to ensure they are visible to all road users". Just Eat said "appropriate action" would be taken if a courier was not meeting the company's standards, while Uber Eats said riders are expected to follow all laws and regulations.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.