Shocking delivery rider moment highlights growing 'problem' on Aussie roads

Dramatic dashcam footage shows the near fatal moment a delivery rider dangerously darts across a busy intersection.

Delivery rider going through intersection after lights turn green.
Dramatic dashcam footage has captured the moment a delivery driver sped through an intersection in Sydney. Source: Reddit

Dramatic footage of the near-fatal moment a food delivery rider narrowly escaped being hit by a bus while darting through a busy intersection has put a spotlight on the intense pressures low-paid gig economy workers are under in Australia. The dashcam video shows the driver believed to be travelling on an electric throttle bike, crossing a busy intersection as the traffic light for oncoming cars turns green.

The footage was captured at the intersection of the City West Link and Timbrell Drive in Haberfield, in Sydney's inner west, with motorists forced to break abruptly and wait for the rider, who was only halfway across the road when the lights changed, to pass.

The delivery worker is lucky to be alive after narrowly avoiding being hit by a large private-hire bus travelling at speed which would have been unable to emergency stop in time.

Ed Hore, president of the Australian Cycling Alliance, said the frightening footage was a sad indictment on Australia’s demanding consumer culture where gig economy workers took “extreme risks” to deliver food on time and avoid a low-star rating leading to fewer orders and ultimately a loss of income.

“This is the problem we have got in our ‘immediately must have’ society, where everything is wanted in the shortest possible timeframe – the desire to have everything immediately,” Hore told Yahoo News Australia.

Screenshots from a video of a bike rider delivering food riding carelessly through an intersection.
A delivery driver is lucky to be alive after narrowly avoiding being hit by a bus at a busy intersection. Source: Reddit

“We have to ask – is our food more important than people’s lives? Obviously not. People are more important. It’s something that’s not going to change any time soon."

Hore, who refuses to order food through apps such as DoorDash, Uber Eats or Menulog, said those who said delivery riders took dangerous risks or broke road rules were the same people who would complain if their food was late or cold.

“This puts a lot of pressure on the people who deliver the food,” he told Yahoo. “I feel sorry for the guy, he’s just doing his job. He’s not directed by a boss – every order is a new boss and he has no idea how that boss will react."

Delivery rider on a bike (left) and a person holds an Uber Eats paper delivery bag (right).
Delivery riders are placed under 'intense pressure' to get orders out to customers on time or face a bad rating and income loss. Source: Getty

“He’s probably going: ‘S**t, I’ve done the wrong thing’. But after a bit of time, he gets his confidence back and gets back to doing the same thing again. The problem with our society is we’re not willing to accept the fact we are putting these people at risk — they are risking their life.”

Hore said this rider was using what appeared to be a throttle e-bike which are illegal in Australia and were closer to motorbikes, but were often still ridden on footpaths or cycle ways.

“I hate them,” he said. “They’re big and dangerous.”

Last year, Akshay Deepak Doultani, a 22-year-old UberEats rider who was studying a masters in finance at Macquarie University, was killed in a collision with an SUV in Epping, in Sydney’s north-west.

In total, 18 food delivery riders have been killed on the roads since 2017.

Transport Workers Union National Secretary Michael Kaine told Yahoo: "Food delivery riders paid a pittance per delivery are under deadly pressure to rush through as many jobs as possible.

“On top of that, algorithm tracking of deliveries fires off warning alerts to riders it deems are going too slow. The threat of deactivation means sudden loss of income, with no right of reply. With bills to pay, riders are under pressure to take risks on the road to earn money. It’s a deadly recipe.”

Aussie unions are calling for better pay and conditions for delivery riders who can risk their lives on the job. Source: Getty
Aussie unions are calling for better pay and conditions for delivery riders who can risk their lives on the job. Source: Getty

He said gig economy workers had mobilised to end these “lethal, exploitative practices” and earlier this year the Federal Government passed a “world-first system to set enforceable minimum standards”.

This included protection for workers against unfair deactivations, while the TWU had started discussions with gig companies to urgently lift pay and conditions for food delivery riders and was campaigning for workers’ compensation schemes in every state.

On Reddit, social media users shared their own stories of witnessing similar risky acts on Aussie roads with one saying they also saw this incident unfold.

“When they got across the lights, I saw them just stop and get off the bike. I can only assume/hope they considered all their life choices and quit on the spot,” one said.

Another wrote: “Last week near Beecroft I saw two delivery scooters just stopped at red lights coming off the M2. The drivers reached behind and flipped up the number plate and just drove straight through the red light. What’s that all about? Are they on that much of a deadline?”

A third added: “It’s depressing because they’ve ruined bike riding in Sydney and more drivers are frustrated and hating on bike riders more than ever which I get, but it doesn’t help the general rider who is following the road rules.”

One more quipped, “It’s called Doordash, not Doorpatience.”

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