Report to the Metropolitan Toronto Sub-Committee on Licensingof Bicycle Couriers from Sunwheel Couriers

December 1989

1. Identification


(a) Customer Protection: The customer of the courier company shouldknow that the individual is licensed.

(b) Building Security: Building management companies have recently beenmore cautious about control of who can enter buildings. Identificationon bicycle couriers would be helpful.

(c) Control (proof of license): Any licensing program is useless unlessit is easy to identify those with a license.

(d) Identification: Although further indication may be necessary asevidence, a courier license could assist police investigation of hit andrun incidents.


(a) The prime identification should be on the courier in the form ofa laminated card with a photograph.

(b) Any identification on the bicycle should be inexpensive and duplicatesshould be readily available. This would allow a courier with more thanone bicycle to change bicycles mid day or mid week.. Mechanical difficultiesor changes in the weather may make such a change necessary. Requiring thelicense to be in a specific place on the bicycle and facing a specificdirection would be desirable, but may prove to be difficult, as in recentyears many sizes and shapes of bicycles have come in to use.

2. Employee Protection (helmets etc.)

Couriers should not be singled out. The Highway Traffic Act or otherlegislation regulating all cyclists would be a more appropriate way todeal with this issue, as was done with motorcycles.

3. Training and Testing

Sunwheel tested riders for a number of years and came to the conclusionthat very little was accomplished by this. A week after the test peoplewere riding in an entirely different manner. A safety check of the bicycleis somewhat useful, but doesn't guarantee maintenance afterward. The costof a training and testing program as part of licensing could make it difficultto recruit new couriers.

4. Insurance

(a) Rates for cargo insurance are based on sales, rather than on replacementvalue of goods carried. Most goods carried by bicycle couriers are replaceablepaper. The cost of cargo insurance would place an unfair financial burdenon bicycle couriers.

(b) A dishonesty bond that covers each courier for $50,000 protectionagainst theft of a customer's documents can be obtained for a reasonablecost, in our experience.

(c) Requiring Workers' Compensation coverage of bicycle couriers isexpensive, but may be a desirable requirement, because of the nature ofthe business, and its inherent risks.

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