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Deliver-Ouch: High injury rate in food delivery cyclists is under-reported

Deliver-Ouch: High injury rate in food delivery cyclists is under-reported

Gig economy workers delivering meals on bike-wheels are getting hurt while trying to earn an income, and new Macquarie University research shows their injuries are…

Thursday, Jun 02

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Gig economy workers delivering meals on bike-wheels are getting hurt while trying to earn an income, and new Macquarie University research shows their injuries are greatly under-reported.

Food delivery cyclists are being injured at much higher numbers than official reports show, according to a new study that used hospital records to try to uncover the real extent of delivery-related cycling injuries in these gig economy workers. Out for the count: Official data is substantially lower than the real number of cycling-related injuries, the researchers found.

SafeWork NSW reported 37 pedal cycling injuries associated with commercial delivery in 2019-2020 state-wide – but a pilot study in just one Sydney hospital emergency department (ED) over a similar period by researchers at Macquarie University and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney identified at least 43 cycling-related injuries.

“Safe Work NSW uses police and workers’ compensation records to identify injuries to food delivery riders, but our research shows that this data is substantially lower than the real number of cycling-related injuries,” says Dr Mitchell Sarkies, a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation at Macquarie University and lead author of the study.

The researchers analysed medical records for all 386 adults treated for cycling-related injuries at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney emergency department between May 2019 and April 2020, comparing commercial versus non-commercial cyclists.

“For 172 of these records, 46 per cent, we couldn’t confirm their work status; but of the remaining records, we were able to identify 43 (12 per cent) commercial delivery cyclists and 153 (42 […]

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