Pedal Me > Operations  > Our Safety Procedures

Our Safety Procedures

We are constantly questioned on safety, and rightly so.

We carry many attention grabbing loads – see the video below for an example – and these loads raise many eyebrows and questions.

Please see this VIDEO – we take loads like this from Isleworth to central London every day, in the video we demonstrate an emergency stop with a heavy cargo and trailer load.

The video shows our trailer setup demonstrating how much volume we can move (and therefore what a big market it open to us).

It’s also a demonstration of our stopping distances for a load of this size. The brakes succeed in stopping the bike safely and quickly from 16mph (the upper limit of e-assisted speed).
There a host of methods that we do to achieve our extremely low staff injury rate, and zero passenger and other-road-user injury rate.

The Met Police, TfL and other governing bodies are in regular discussion with us about what we do, and issues we face. Conversations revolve around the safety of our practices, and our staff and these relationships are positive, progressive, and vital. They acknowledge our high standards, and we seek their input into how we can improve further for the benefit of the city.
We’ve outlined our methods below – but note we have zero third party injuries to date (i.e. no passenger or other road users injured).

We’ve had three serious incidents at work – one rider was driven into from behind while stationary at a red traffic light; one rider slipped and injured their chin, and one rider was hit in the eye by a bungee hook used to secure the load. This is across about 20,000 miles covered by the bikes each month.

We’ve phased out bungee cords as a result of that bungee hook injury, and now have a safer, more effective system of tying down loads. This reflects the way we do things – constantly challenging ourselves to do things safer and better.

We have extensive risk assessments, and a lot of our safety mechanisms were the result of the risk assessment process. Safety mechanisms in place:

1. Training – Our training is tough, and to work for us, you must continuously demonstrate excellent bike and traffic control. There are multiple levels to our sign off, and for any of our staff, the assessment to carry passengers is usually failed first time. First time failures have included emergency service drivers, and other professional drivers. It’s exacting to say the least, and not everyone gets through. When you do, you’ll receive a City & Guilds assured credential. We are externally recognised as being the best at this, setting appropriate commercial standards.

2. Near Miss and error reporting – when something goes wrong (or nearly wrong), we review and work out how to prevent it going wrong again. That can and does involve updates to training, and/or changes to equipment and processes. This is the ‘reflective practice’ that underpins the work of many professions. The “Near Miss” process is aviation standard – it’s thought to be central to making flying – an inherently extremely risky activity – relatively safe. Cycling is inherently a very safe activity (despite its reputation), with a similar risk per hour to gardening. For our highly trained riders with professionally maintained equipment it’s even safer.

3. Mechanical standards– We train all staff in basic maintenance and report any issues that they can’t fix themselves. We have regular maintenance schedules and completely strip the bikes back at least twice a year – inspecting them thoroughly and ensuring that they’re kept in tip top condition.

It’s hard to make comparisons with other forms of goods transport precisely. We’re still relatively small, but the fact that we have such low rates of employee injuries, and zero external injuries to date tells you that people’s instinctive (and natural) fear of the unfamiliar, in our case is not justified. It seems highly likely that our much lower weight, and top speeds (don’t be fooled though – our average speeds are still higher in cities!) will result in significantly lowered road danger compared with motor based alternatives. We ensure that we take care of the basics, we’re continuously learning, and there will always be improvements to be made, and from the perspective of safety, we’re more than confident that we’re doing things the right way for everyone.

Help us do what we do now but on a bigger scale, and help make the roads safer – Invest now!

Chris Dixon
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