EXTRACT FROM REPORT TO VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL

STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION ANDSTRATEGIC PLANNING

MARCH 10, 1988

1. Bicycle Couriers

The Committee considered a Manager's report dated February 11, 1988(on file), in which the Director of Permits and Licences and the ChiefConstable, in consultation with the City Engineer, reported that bicyclecouriers are creating many problems for pedestrians and motorists, particularityln the downtown area of the City due to dangerous and reckless driving,unsafe lane changes, improper turns at intersections, cutting in and outof traffic, illegally passing etc. No identification or company affiliationother than waiver bills makes it increasingly difficult to establish identityof the culprits.

Mr. K. Armstrong, the Deputy Director of Permits and Licenses, advisesthat there are approximately 200 bicycle couriers in the City who workon a commission basis for a courier/delivery. service, receiving 65% to75% of the fee for each item delivered. The company holds a business licensebut the bicycle courier does not, and there are no adequate by-law requirementsto regulate their conduct. The majority of the individuals break as manyrules and regulations as required in order ta earn a better commission.Bicycle couriers who have outstanding Traffic Bench Warrants continue operation,being stopped and ticketed by police four to five times a day, repeatingthe same offence the next day. The ticket system is not, by itself, aneffective deterrent. Amendments to the License By-law and Vehicles forHire by-law to provide controls and regulations of both .the courier companyand individual couriers are recommended.

Inspector H. Brittan, Police Traffic Division, advised that except forspeeding, complaints of infractions re couriers are the second largestnumber of complaints. Police officers are not sure the ticket is goingto the right person as no ID is provided, If couriers were licensed andwere guilty of persistent misbehaviour their license could be suspended.Inspector Brittan advised he had approached By-law Fines to ensure follow-upof tickets issued. The Police Department, has no control if fines are notpaid.

Mr.. M. Pospischil, Bicycle Co-ordinator, noted that people believecouriers have superior bicycle handling skills, however there are a significantnumber of accidents in the downtown area. The majority of bicycle/motorvehicle accidents go unreported as do bicycle/pedestrian accidents. Licensingalone will not be sufficient. Couriers should be required to pass an 8-houreducation course prior to licensing. The course fee is $50.00 and thisis not an unrealistic cost as couriers make an average of $100.00 per day(figures from March 1986 Article - Equity Business Magazine).

Mr. J. Arnaud, Chairman, Bicycle Advisory Committee, noted that bicyclecouriers are not obeying traffic regulations. Couriers would benefit froma bicycle education course. In fairness to the couriers, if they are ableto pass the exam and road test without taking the course they should belicensed. Couriers should have liability insurance; the Bicycling Associationprovides this for members.

The following appeared as delegations:

Mrs. D. McCarthy, Connection Courier - agreed with the need foridentification for bicycle couriers. The course and liability insurancequestions should be investigated further. All bicycles should be licensed,not just courier bicycles.

Mr. E. Frayne, Gelco Express - all his couriers have uniformswith the company`s name prominently displayed. The course requirement shouldbe investigated further - licensing should be structured so that courierscan take a written exam and road test without: the course, and if theypass, they could be licensed.

Mr. A. Wadden, Pacific Messenger - his couriers have ID cardsand insurance. The lability question should be investigated further. Heagreed with a voluntary written exam before making the course compulsory.

Mr. D. Hall, concerned citizen - agreed with recommendationsto license couriers but the problem is the enforcement of the offenders.

Mr. P. Mueller, concerned citizen - his car was damaged by acourier who had no insurance - ICBC approached the company who were notwilling to pay for the damage. The couriers 'should be licensed and shouldbe required to carry insurance.

Mr. J. Hambling, concerned citizen and downtown businessman -he relies heavily on bicycle courier companies but his first priority ispublic safety. The couriers should be licensed and their licenses shouldbe revoked if they cannot comply with rules and regulations.

Mr. C. Deroche, Reliable Courier Service - the couriers who arenot responsible individuals will not change their behaviour because theyare licensed. Enforcement. is needed. The companies hold business licenses-thecouriers perform their duties on behalf of the company. Some are hourlyemployees and not paid by the 'piece'. The recommendations are not goingto solve the problem. Enforcement through the courier companies is theanswer.

Mr. M. Emoff, courier - has been a courier for five years. Inthe beginning, there were only four or five companies, now there are 40so the rates have gone down. The couriers are under pressure from the companiesto deliver as soon as possible The rules are vague. On a bicycle you needmomentum and you cannot come to a complete stop at an intersection beforeyou turn right.

Mr. P. Berg, courier - agreed with couriers having ID but didnot agree with a compulsory course. There are problems because people hearcars they cannot hear bicycles and just step out without looking.

Mr. B. Rigler, courier - most couriers are aware of the trafficregulations. The time factor and demand by customers is a big factor. Heagreed with the license and photo ID but not the course. If the courseis not based on the stress and working conditions downtown, it would notbe of benefit to bicycle couriers.

In answer to statements by delegations, Mr. Armstrong advised that hehad spoken to an individual. who provides photo ID and this would be acceptable,as would B.C Driver's Licenses. The City would not have to purchase equipmentfor ID cards.

Mr. H. Pospischil advised that the course is designed on one which istaught to couriers in New York City and Washington, D.C. The course couldbe held on weekends. There has been no discussion of who would pay forthe course -- that would be up to the courier companies and the couriers.It is possible to arrange for a voluntary written After discussion, theCommittee

RECOMMENDED

A. THAT the Vehicles for Hire By-law be amended to require courierbicycles to be licensed ($10.00)per vehicle)

define courier bicycle

- require a Vehicles for Hire plate to be displayed on courier bicycles

- require operators of courier bicycles to carry a photo identificationcard showing correct full name, address, date of birth, and produce thecard when requested by a police officer who has reason to believe an offencehas been committed (a driver's licence is satisfactory).

- authorize a police officer to arrest without warrant any person operatinga courier bicycle whom he finds committing a breach of the provisions ofthe Vehicles for Hire By-law if such person fails to stop and state hisproper name and address when so requested by the police officer (similarto Section 6OB of the Street and Traffic By-law).

B. THAT the License By-law be amended to define courier deliveryservice and include a provision that this type of business may not engagethe services of a courier bicycle that is not licensed under the Vehiclesfor Hire By-law.

C. THAT the City Engineer, after consultation with the industry,report back on the following:

- requiring operators of courier bicycles to pass an eight hour educationcourse prior to licensing; such course to be offered and administered bythe Bicycling Association of B.C. (the provincial body of the CanadianCycling Association)

as an alternative, allowing voluntary written examinations and roadtesta for couriers at an approximate cost of $10.00; one of the provisosbeing that if the individual fails, he be required to take a course. -requiring couriers who have a certain number of traffic infractions totake a course, similar to the defensive driving course for motor vehicledrivers.

- requiring either the courier company er the couriers to carry liabilityinsurance.

D. THAT the City Engineer, in consultation with the Bicycle AdvisoryCommittee, report back on a licensing program for all bicycles.


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