Deliveroo’s popularity ‘shows need for more dedicated cycleways’

The popularity of app-based food delivery services has reinforced the need for local and state governments to invest more in active transport, a university researcher claims.

Professor Christopher Petti, from the University of NSW City Futures Centre, says governments seem “way behind” in responding to rising numbers of bikes on footpaths, many of them delivering food for customers ordered via Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

One reason for the delay in building more dedicated cycleways is confusion about whether existing roads fall within state or local government jurisdiction.

But that is no excuse, says Professor Pettit.

“We’ve got very limited dedicated cycle path infrastructure in Sydney and in many parts of Australian cities.”

The lack of adequate cycle-infrastructure leaves delivery riders with two options – brave the heavy traffic, or ride on the footpath.

Professor Pettit says the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the demand for app-based food delivery services.

“It is good to see government offering funding through schemes such as NSW’s Streets as Shared Spaces grants. However, such funding is far from adequate in comparison to the $100 billion of road and rail infrastructure projects in the pipeline across NSW.”