PMD-Lorry Accident at Punggol; 54-year-old Grab delivery rider dies

Yet another accident involving a food delivery rider. ☹

A 54-year-old GrabFood delivery rider died in a traffic accident involving a lorry in Punggol last week. The video footage of the aftermath of the incident was uploaded onto SG Road Vigilante’s YouTube channel. According to eyewitnesses, the food delivery rider was riding a power-assisted bicycle at the time of accident. He was conscious when taken to Changi General Hospital, but succumbed to his injuries soon after.

Several other food delivery riders were seen assisting the rider when the accident happened. Over the weekend, the National Delivery Champions Association had also set up a Riders Support Area at Waterway Point for riders who may require advice or support from the Association. The lorry driver, a 65-year-old man, is assisting with ongoing police investigations.

Netizen: “It’s just food. Worth the rush?”

Recently, there seems to have been a marked increase in the number of accidents involving riders in the news. With its low barriers to entry, the food delivery sector has become a popular gig for those looking for flexible working hours and fast cash. However, netizens seem to agree that the safety aspect of the job leaves much to be desired.

And there are downsides too.

One life lost is one too many.

As the number of food delivery riders continues to rise, concerns on their well-being have been raised by the Labour Movement and PM Lee Hsien Loong. Currently, platform workers make up 3% of Singapore’s workforce and they sit in a grey area between being an employee and being self-employed, with no legislations to protect their employment rights. Last year, PM Lee announced an advisory committee on platform workers. The committee was tasked with strengthening protections for gig workers and ensuring a more balanced relationship between platforms and platform workers.

While being a delivery rider has provided some a means to support their family, the job comes with its inherent challenges which may not always be easily overcome.

Think about it:

  • Bad weather.
  • Unreasonable customers.
  • 10 hours or more a day with heavy backpacks on.
  • Long and tiring waits for food at peak hours.
  • Lack of basic job protection.
  • No career progression.

According to a study by Blackbox Research released earlier this year, many food delivery riders are satisfied with their work but feel that it is misunderstood. An overwhelming 93 per cent of them believe that the general public underestimates the stresses and challenges they face in their work. Safety vs “fast and easy” cash – where and how can we find the balance? Some riders have also reflected that this job is their “best shot in life”, rejecting the alternatives presented to them. What’s your take on this issue?