Uber Eats deliverers have been involved in road accidents in Tokyo in recent months as voluntary restrictions on going out amid the coronavirus outbreak has boosted demand for food deliveries.
The number of eateries that have signed up for the Uber Eats delivery service has increased in Japan in recent years, exceeding 20,000 by the end of March.
The Kobe government in Hyogo Prefecture has joined hands with the service to help eateries with slumping sales due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, a university student in his 20s, who was delivering food by bicycle, died in a collision with a minivehicle in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward on April 6, the Metropolitan Police Department said.
A collision also occurred in Chuo Ward on May 15, causing a male deliverer to suffer a broken face bone. Three days later, a delivery bicycle collided with a pedestrian in her 50s in Itabashi Ward.
Traffic offenses have also taken place.
On May 12, a male delivery worker entered Metropolitan Expressway Co.’s expressway network by bicycle, which is not allowed.
Images of the man with a bag with the Uber Eats logo traveling by bicycle alongside vehicles were posted on Twitter, prompting the Tokyo police to identify and interview him on a voluntary basis.
Uber Japan Co., which runs the Uber Eats service in Japan, said it will further raise awareness about traffic safety among its delivery workers, who are independent contractors without employment contracts with the company.
The metropolitan police are trying to reinforce traffic safety education for Uber Eats delivery personnel. But the police are struggling to reach them because many do not have any specific bases for their work.
Following a deadly accident involving an Uber Eats deliverer in August 2018, the police asked the company to ensure the safety of its delivery workers on roads.
In 2019, two events for traffic safety education were held for Uber Eats deliverers. Messages about traffic safety are sent through the app for Uber Eats delivery workers once a month from July last year.
“Smartphones are the only tool to reach individual deliverers. Providing traffic safety education to them is difficult,” an investigative source said.