Delivery Motorcyclists Road Safety Project South Africa

Delivery Motorcyclists Road Safety Project South AfricaThe background

There are five Safe System pillars namely safer vehicles, safer speeds, safer roads, safer road users and post-crash management.

The project (Delivery Motorcyclists Road Safety Project SA) falls under Pillar 4 of the Safer System Approach which is safer road users.

The rationale

A central principle of Safe Systems is that although human actions contribute significantly to the most serious and fatal road crashes that occur, these incidents are mainly due to errors. As such, this aspect of being imperfect humans cannot be irradicated through campaigns alone. However, good driver training, awareness raising and particularly enforcement of the road rules are effective.

There are no official numbers in South Africa on this expanding workforce but the Motorcycle Safety Institute, a Durban-based research and training organisation, estimates there were at least 6,400 active food delivery drivers in South Africa in 2020.

About 70% of drivers are migrants, according to the institute, while Duane Bernard, an Uber Eats courier who heads up a national, informal drivers' union, puts the number at 95%. Most of the drivers fear and avoid reporting incidents due to their undocumented status in South Africa. South Africa already had one of the world's worst road safety records, according to the World Health Organization, and an influx of drivers during the pandemic has added to the risks.

Hein Jonker of the Motorcycle Safety Institute said accidents involving food delivery drivers rose 30% nationwide to 109 in May and June 2020 compared to 84 in those months in 2019. It is a fact that comprehensive data is scarce and underreported, he added.

South African roads are particularly dangerous for food delivery drivers, said Jonker, most of whom ride motorbikes without adequate equipment or training.

The human factors

The human factors

Road users include drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists (vulnerable road users). Their behaviour is the biggest potential for improving road safety. 90% of all road accidents today are linked to human error. In 30% of fatal accidents speeding is the main factor, while distraction causes 10-30% of road deaths. Equally worrying is the fact that 25% of all road fatalities in South Africa are alcohol-related. Education and training are key factors in instilling appropriate behaviour and attitudes in road users. It is vital that drivers are aware of their own limitations, the dangers of speeding or texting behind the steering wheel and the influence of alcohol or drugs on their ability to drive.

The enforcement of existing traffic laws is also crucial, as about 65% of fatal accidents are caused by violations of traffic rules. Cracking down on traffic offences will make a difference, but we also need better enforcement across borders.



The methodology that will be used is a telematic technology system customised for monitoring motorcycles. Telematics will improve safety management by monitoring both driver and operative behaviour and motorcycle and equipment performance. The system will allow anomalies - such as unsafe practices - to be detected and addressed quicker and for driver incentive purposes. Implementation Plan

  • The project implementation plan will start after appointing a project stakeholder team which consists of delivery drivers, unions, RTMC, DoT, RSP SA, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organisations and institutes, Driving training institutions, GreenRoad etc.
  • The motorcycles will be fitted with telematic units for driver behaviour monitoring/safer driving (acceleration, harsh braking, speeding etc.).
  • Driver training companies or companies will be appointed to assess and train drivers to improve their driving skills.
  • Several training workshops (theory + practical) facilitated by the project team and road safety experts will be done pre and post-project implementation.
  • Telematic monitoring of project motorcycles will be done by GreenRoad, and weekly and monthly reports will be produced.
  • Workshops to train drivers on how the GreenRoad app/system works will be conducted by the project team including the GreenRoad team.
  • Based on the telematic monitoring, drivers will receive monthly incentives to be determined by the project steering committee team.

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