My week as a delivery rider: Dubai edition

EV NEWS
7 min readMar 29, 2021

Developing a fleet of last-mile delivery vehicles — working alongside some of the world’s largest operators — building the vehicles beyond their needs, I wanted to uncover some of the tribulations delivery riders go through in the UAE, by taking to the roads to realise first-hand exactly what the needs of all parties are.

Over the past 12 months (UAE) there have been more fatalities and accidents reported than previous years (12 riders died in April 2020). The question is why, the general opinion is the erratic riders themselves, the roads being a occupied by a frantic slur of ‘phone using’, distracted drivers. But is this really the reason for so many accidents? I took to primary research to uncover the truth, to help the UAE government find a solution to this unnecessary and avoidable series of statistics.

Allow me to set the scene, since the start of 2021, I’ve ridden past tens of delivery riders all sporting their different ‘employers’ colours, the oranges, greens, teal, pink amongst others sat at the side of the main roads, I pull over to many, 70% of them had run out of fuel! Why? I’ll get to that later. The other 30% just needed a rest as they were suffering neck, back and wrist pain. Why? I’ll get to that too.

Hearing these issues and seeing the unrelenting heard of beaten, battered and bruised delivery bikes over my time causes me tremendous concern. As a motorcycle license holder for the past 24 years, I believe I can offer an objective assessment of a motorcycle by ear and eye. The baggy chains, squared off tyres and exhaust noise of these ‘metal work horses’ are not in a safe condition and as research proves, are also not serviced to the levels required or expected by the Roads and Transport Authority (Dubai), and why is that? I’ll address that now.

Each month the average delivery motorcycle travels 3,000kms, requiring servicing of brakes, tyres, plugs, sprockets, oil, filters regularly, yet due to the intense working pressure, many do not service as it eats in to their working hours, affecting the riders earnings.

Approximately 5 hours per month is spent in downtime of the delivery riders in the UAE — yet the working pressure remains.

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