BICYCLE COURIER WORKING CONDITIONS SURVEY - RESULTS

This survey is being used for a presentation at the Velo Mondiale Conferenceat Montreal in September and to determine if there is a need to changeany aspects of the Courier Licensing Program. Individual responses willbe kept completely confidential and a survey summary will be made availableto any interested parties. Your time in completing the survey is greatlyappreciated.

Danelle Laidlaw Executive Director Bicycling Association of BC

John Whistler Chairman Vancouver Bicycle Advisory Committee

How long have you been a Bicycle Courier? - 26.5MONTHS

Are you employed as a courier year round? - 83% YEAR ROUND

If no, please note months in year employed as a courier

TYPICALLY EITHER SEPT - MAY OR MAY - AUG

Form of pay:

Wage only - 3 %

Wage & commission - 0 %

Commission only - 97 %

Typical daily earnings: - $81.50

Typical daily hours: - 8.6 HOURS/DAY

Typical yearly expenditures on bicycle & accessories: - $1,333.00

Percentage of helmet usage during working hours: - 64%(TYPICALLY ALWAYS OR NEVER)

Number of work days missed in last 12 months because of work relatedbicycle injuries: - 9.64 DAYS

Did you find the courier licence study package helpful?

Yes 31% Neutral 23% No 46%

Did you attend the seminar?

Yes 19% No 81%

If yes, did you find the seminar useful?

Yes 33% Neutral 33% No 33%

Did you find the written test fair?

Yes 58% Neutral 22% No 19%

Did you find the road test fair?

Yes 56º. Neutral 28% No 17%

Do you find the testing & licensing program too bureaucratic?

Yes 47% Neutral 31% No 22%

Has the licensing & testing program improved your cycling skills?

Yes 11% Neutral 8% No 83%

Does the licensing & testing program improve the image of bicyclecouriers and help legitimize their use of the roads?

Yes 28% Neutral 19% No 53%

Do you feel most couriers are complying with the licensing program?

Yes 69% Neutral 26% No 6%

Did you obtain your licence before or after obtaining employment?

Before 69% After 31%

Do you feel bicycle couriers receive unfair enforcement by Police fortraffic violations ?

Yes 94% Neutral 3% No 3%

Number of traffic violations during work in last 12 months: - 3

Age: - 22.8

Sex: Male - 83% Female - 17%

Education Level less than grade 12 - 9%

Grade 12 - 23%

1 year post secondary - 20%

2 year post secondary - 26%

greater than 2 year post secondary - 23%

AVERAGE EDUCATION LEVEL - 1.3 YEARS POST SECONDARY

Are you a member of the BABC? - 24% BABC MEMBERS

APPROXIMATELY 80 SURVEYS DISTRIBUTED - 36 RESPONSES RECEIVED

What do you consider the greatest safety hazards of being a bicyclecourier?

Other comments?


COMMENTS TO COURIER SURVEY

IN RESPONSE TO 'WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE GREATEST SAFETY HAZARDSOF BEING A BICYCLE COURIER' AND 'OTHER COMMENTS'

People who don't share the road. The Bike Cops should concentrate moreon real crime than people trying to earn an honest living.

Drivers who fail to stop at red lights (including buses). Drivers whofail to use indicators before turning (these drivers are often chattingon their cellular phone).

The drivers are careless and many are either totally stupid or viciouslyviolent. I exercise extreme caution and come close to being seriously injuredor killed approximately once a week. The biggest drawbacks to Courieringin Vancouver are pollution, careless drivers, and police harassment. It'stotally ridiculous the way they fine us for bending licence plates or nothaving a bell. Voice gets the message across much more directly. The finesare also too high. I would pay a $35 or $25 fine but when I get a $75 to$100 fine I will waste court time fighting it. It also encourages me togo on welfare or U.I. when I lose a day or two of wages.

Crowding between vehicles & parked cars, vehicles turning left andpaying a bike no heed, and the biggest, people turning right in your path.Many couriers as well as casual cyclists feel that upon getting your driverslicense (including renewal every year) that drivers should receive someeducation on cyclists and the like, sharing the road. It's not enough toeducate the cyclist alone. One more thing, is sidewalk riding such a crime?If it's safer to use the crosswalk, why not? Weekend riders aren't ticketed,only couriers who have more control.

Hesitant, unobservant drivers. It helps improve courier image but asfar as legitimizing our use I feel we as non polluters of Earth shouldn’tneed to legitimize our presence on the road.

Greatest hazard is the lack of B.C.C.A. (sic) control over informingbike stores who rent out bikes and proper equipment required on bikes.Your program was slapped together with people who have no idea what workon a bike is like, your program is totally illogical and geared to touristriders, not to working couriers, your so called instructors are dangerousand should spend a month on the road as a courier to really understandthe job, as it stands you people are dangerous to the bike couriers ofthis city and will probably get one killed thanks to your program.

Lack of legitimacy from other road users. Let's get some professionallicense testers to administer the tests. We currently have inept volunteersand bike commuters testing us!

Buses running reds. Drivers not signalling when turning or parking.The police should start cracking down on non-uniformed couriers becausethey get away with things because you can't identify who they work for.Also casual riders should be equally harassed by cops just because theyare there. (In one day I was stopped by 3 different cops to check serialnumbers on my bike. Waste of time.) One of these times while my bike wasbeing checked a tourist rode by on the sidewalk they didn't do a thing.But they stopped me and I was walking my bike.

Drivers who don't recognize the right of bicycles on the road, courieror no courier also pedestrians who are where they shouldn't be. Couriersare looked down on by the majority because of a few reckless riders. Theunfair crackdown of the "police" is utterly unfair. The cityshould find another source of "illegal" income!

Cars and high priced traffic violations. Police officers don t realizethat one ticket, ie riding on the sidewalk $75, will cost us a day anda half of work. Not Fair.

Taxi cabs, buses, J walkers on Granville, car doors, drivers who don'tshoulder check before they change lanes, Asian youth gangs (seriously).Unless courier rates double, the only way to make a living as a bicyclecourier is to break the law, so either make the job illegal or leave usalone. The licensing and testing program does not improve cycling skillsonly experience can do that.

The greatest hazard is obviously inattentive traffic. A driver not payingany attention is the worst hazard with bad lane changes and turns fromthe wrong lane. The job of a courier is to make deliveries as fast as possible.We are paid for our civil disobedience during work. Our license has almostnothing to do with rider safety and everything to do with a business licensepurchased from city hall. The license plate on our bike is not a proofof having achieved a level of expertise in our riding in the way a driverslicense is. Instead , it is a visible license for business that must becarried around. It would make much more sense for a courier to simply payhis money for his plate instead of wasting time, energy and money on thewritten and road test that serves as much purpose as an appendix. I donot believe that the police enforce the law any more stricter against couriersthan the rest of the public, especially with the new bicycle police. Courierspractice civil disobedience all day long and the occasional ticket shouldbe expected. The BABC could better serve cyclists and the public by usingits resources to encourage bicycle races, bike trails and driver education.More bike paths and perhaps bike lanes on the streets of the city wouldbe advantageous it they decreased traffic. More bike lockers at skytrainstations and transit loops would encourage transit use. Courses on bicyclemaintenance are important since a well maintained bike is a safe bike.The weather in Vancouver means intrepid individuals can cycle year round.For the rest there still many months of good cycling weather. If the BABCmade true, honest attempts to make Vancouver a cycling city maybe trafficwould be reduced. Put your energies to where they are most useful and awayfrom useless enterprises such as testing bicycle couriers and the publicwill work with you to make your good efforts a success.

Lack of self control in stressful situations, ie awareness of everythingin your environment is the only thing that will save your butt, if thereis potential for accident. Currently I find the common sense in the bicyclecourier community encouraging. The vast majority of commuters do have asense for safety and are safe riders. I find however the police to be quiteunaware or at least disrespectful of the "downtown sense" asthey demonstrate in the number of very ridiculous calls made, some of whichas I've witnessed are borderline harassment. Anyway life goes on downtown.Everything is fine.

Unaware drivers, cellular phones, taxis. What have you done for us?

Motorists and pedestrians they are blind to couriers. Most people walkaround (and drive for that matter) in a daze, so we have to be extra alertto compensate. The penalties are far to high for the severity of the violations,in most cases.

people who J walk in front of me while looking at their feet or in otherdirection. Bus drivers in Vancouver are very dangerous.

Bus drivers are very aggressive.

Major lack of awareness by both drivers and pedestrians, they don'trealize the majority of riders are functioning as a vehicle and know whatthey are doing. Drivers that run red lights in the core should be jailedfor a day.

Other people, well to be more specific buses the bus drivers are totallycareless, I'm surprised more people haven't been injured or killed by them.I think the police need to spend more time and money, (our money!) dealingwith real crime rather than some people trying to earn an honest livingcommitting bylaw infractions.

Uptight businessmen who jaywalk wherever they please and don't hesitateto sue you when you accidently hit them. Cyclists should be provided withmore respect provided they do not violate traffic regulations when it endangerspedestrians or motorists safety.

Bad driving skills of cab drivers and bus drivers. Lack of recognizedbike lanes in the downtown core. Car drivers that are unaware bikes havea legal right to the road and use road lanes.

Getting hit by a car and run over. Photograph ID on the courier wouldbe better than plates which are poorly designed and easily switched. Finesare ridiculously high in proportion to the severity of the crime. Bikesare not cars, they don't kill. If you consider the fines a form of taxationwe receive nothing for our money. In Vancouver there is not a single bikelane in the core. No bike racks in front of many buildings (Bentalls).

Buses, taxis and people who fail to realize that bicycle are exceeding30 40 km/hr. Need more public education. Amendments to bylaws which wouldallow professionals (couriers) certain liberties to make our job practical,ie left & right turns from Granville.

The fact that nobody, on sidewalks or roads, think bike couriers havea right to use any of the pavement. Licensing seems like a scam and bicyclepolice are a joke, if you think they make couriers more careful. They wastemoney, they police not protect, and licenses are merely the start of growingpolicing which I personally dislike.

Unpredictable motorists. The security chick in 650 Georgia. Why is thefine for riding on the sidewalk $100 (heinous crime?!) when speeding througha school zone (extremely life-endangerinq) is also $100?

Obeying road signs etc.

Bus drivers. Cab drivers. Bicycle cops.

Other cars driven by tourists and freaks with no driving skills. Policebikes out of downtown.

Bus drivers, cab drivers, and irresponsible drivers. Stupid pedestrianswho never seem to look both ways before crossing the street. With countlessdrug dealers, hookers and murderers roaming the streets it's amazing thepolice concentrate on the heinous crime of riding on the sidewalk!

I think that cyclists should be fined only for major infractions ofthe laws governing their use.

Automobile drivers especially taxis and buses and your average incautiousdriver.

People in cars don't realize cyclists are allowed to be on the road.

Cops get off our backs.

Cars, busses, taxis, hangovers.

Keep the kops off my back!!!.


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