News that Royal Mail has appointed a new chief executive, Moya Greene, currently head of the Canadian Mail Service has spurred the CTC to launch a campaign to keep posties cycling. The organisation hopes to persuade the new chief executive to reverse the decision of her predecessor, Adam Crozier who wants to reduce Royal Mail's current cycle fleet from 24,000 down to just a few hundred bikes… on health and safety grounds.
Crozier's argument is that such a move would reduce the number of workplace accidents. CTC Campaigns Coordinator Debra Rolfe said: “Many of the postal workers who have spoken to us don’t want to give up their bikes and be forced to deliver mail by trolley or van. Delivering mail by bike is good for the environment, for the health of posties and for the safety of everyone who uses the roads.”
Ms Rolfe is also concerned that the Royal Mail has not looked at other alternatives seriously: “To overcome the problem of the increase in the number of parcels being delivered, Royal Mail needs look at using cargo bicycles and tricycles. These are already used in the UK by courier companies like DHL, and FedEx and are the norm in other European countries. It is also ironic that Royal Mail says it will always consider its environmental impact and wants to develop low carbon vehicles, when at the same time it is planning to stop using the one of the greenest forms of transport.”
The Royal Mail has experimented with various other forms of transport including power assisted trikes, but those trials have been small scale and have never come to anything. Certainly the idea of lots more Royal Mail vans being on the roads will fill many cyclists with dread although many postmen allege that various cost cutting measures at the Royal Mail mean that what will really happen is that more and more postmen and women will be forced to carry mail, uninsured in their own vehicles.
Mr Crozier's plan to do away with posties' bikes has not proved popular with the public or with postmen. Postman and anonymous blogger ‘Roy Mayall’ said: “Bikes have been one of the main tools of the postal trade for over 100 years. There’s a good reason for this. Aside from all the environmental and health benefits, a bike is a beautifully functional piece of machinery. It’s a bike. It’s a trolley. You can go fast. You can go slow. You can carry weight. You can use it to sort the mail. There are lots of compartments. You can park it on its stand and walk. There’s an old maxim: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Ask any postie and they’ll tell you. We love our bikes.”
The CTC hopes to mobilize public opinion to help stop the move and is asking everyone who would like to ‘Keep Posties Cycling’ to take action via CTC’s website. The online form automatically generates a letter that will be delivered in one load by cargo bike to Moya Greene at Royal Mail’s headquarters.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.