Keep Posties Cycling campaign wages on

MailbikeThe CTC are running a campaign to keep posties on bikes. I’m completely behind it and think its a very worthy cause to not let Royal Mail slip backwards and away from cycling. They are asking people to fill in a form, print the resulting page and then send it to the CTC so it can be delivered to the Royal Mail chief execs. If you have some time then please do help show your support.

Here is the email I received..

You may have heard about the decision of Royal Mail to scrap bicycle delivery and switch to electric trolleys that are shipped out by vans. This would not only make a postal workers’ job less fun,  but  will have a negative impact on both road safety and the environment. CTC – the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation is campaigning for the Royal Mail to use cargo bikes and tricycles to deliver letters and packages instead, this is already the norm in other European countries.

CTC has launched a campaign to ‘Keep Posties Cycling’. As well as hundreds of people sending us letters expressing their concerns about Royal Mail’s plans, many postmen and postwomen have told us about why they love doing their work on bicycles and can’t believe that the Royal Mail are planning to force them to travel by van.

Before we take the campaign to the next level, it would be great if you could help us spread the word and encourage more cyclists to express their concern about the Royal Mail’s decision to get rid of a long tradition of postal delivery by bike. We would really appreciate it, if you could mention the campaign in your blog and include a link to our campaign. It only needs a few clicks on our website www.ctc.org.uk/royalmail to take action. The online form automatically generates a letter that will be delivered in one load by cargo bike to Royal Mail’s new Chief Executive Moya Greene at Royal Mail’s headquarters.

If you do show your support then leave a comment here and let me know what you think. Also what do you think about occasionally using London Cyclist to get behind causes such as this one – is it a good thing or better left to other websites?

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19 Responses to Keep Posties Cycling campaign wages on

  1. Tim 04/08/2010 at 9:07 am #

    Andreas,

    It’s your blog to promote what you wish. Campaigns like this, which directly link to the presumed reason people visit here seem a fine idea, although I’d suggest that as well as sharing their link, you could tell us about why you think it’s a good idea – for example, the PO is signed up to the 10:10 initiative, which might be more difficult to achieve (10% CO2 reduction in 2010) if they throw away their bikes …

    Tim.

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:24 am #

      Hi Tim – fair point. I must admit I did write this blog post in a little bit of a hurry hence my lack of elaborating on why I agree with it. I’ll keep my eye out for the most worthy campaigns and share them occasionally unless people really object to it.

  2. Andreas 04/08/2010 at 10:23 am #

    Quick note to add. Saw Mark has a good write up on the posties campaign too here:
    http://ibikelondon.blogspot.com/2010/08/posties-on-bikes-and-what-you-can-do-to.html

  3. Dani Riot 04/08/2010 at 11:20 am #

    I’ve heard the problem with the campaign is that most delivery personnel do not like the bikes. for example, the basket is attached at the stem so it doesn’t turn with the wheel so you have a real lack of true direction.

    On a more personal note. I disagree with the campaign due to not being a postman. I don’t think its down to the general public to tell them how they deliver, especially with the winters we have.

    I get pretty sick of people who are not part of an industry who feel they have the right to try to change it. I am a Fashion Photographer, and the current argument is from the Girl Guides who want us all to have the words ‘contains airbrushing’ on every picture we produce.

    Anyway, I went off topic. But i think its the same ethos of bossing people around.

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 4:47 pm #

      Hi Dani, good to hear your perspective on this and I have to admit not one I thought about. You definitely have some merit in saying we don’t really have all the facts so its hard for us to be the ones making the decision. I guess the point of the campaign may be to make it possible for those who want to deliver by bike to do so.

  4. Richard 04/08/2010 at 11:36 am #

    I’m a big fan of cycling and like to see it promoted whenever possible but in this case I wonder what the actual postmen think about this. I would assume most of them would prefer an electric vehicle to a bicycle and don’t care how much “fun” they are having on their job. It also seems like a pretty safe bet that you could get more delivering done in a van than on a bike. I would feel quite bad if we won this campaign only to make postmen’s lives more difficult or the postal service less efficient.

    • Andreas 04/08/2010 at 4:47 pm #

      Good points Richard. I’ll send a quick email over to the CTC and see what they have to say. Maybe one of them would like to comment on the blog.

  5. Ali 04/08/2010 at 1:59 pm #

    I’m not a postie, but can only point you to the opinions of some of them on the CTC website:
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/desktopdefault.aspx?tabid=5405

    Comments include:
    “I love my Pashley Mailstar and was outraged to find out that the big bosses want to remove them. I love my bike, it’s strong, sturdy and great to ride. Any suggestion that it is unsafe is rubbish in my opinion. “

  6. Alistair 04/08/2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Coming from the other side of this one I discussed this with a Royal Mail logistics manager recently.

    In practice there is already extensive use of vans to support the cycle routes anyway, a bike carries a very limited amount of post so there need to be resupply drops to keep them going.

    The business case essentially demonstrated cost and emission reductions. There was a slightly specious ”duty of care” argument about the accident risk, but it wasn’t a significant element of the business case, although there was an associated reduction in sick-days from a reduced accident rate.

    Change is always an emotive topic, and for something that has a slightly romantic, rose-tinted, legacy then it’s bound to upset people.

  7. Godwyns O. 04/08/2010 at 6:28 pm #

    I think this is a lame campaign. That something is made a campaign does not automatically make it ethical and regardless of how many times the words ‘ethic’, ‘environment’, and other such emotional blackmailing words are used.

    While it will be good to see more people cycling which I strongly support as a cyclist, I think that campaigns should focus more on creating an enabling environment which will improve common sense hence encourage cycling. But in a society where we spend more time giving awards and acknowledgement to quick riches who we then show them off in their 2seater million-pound cars and give them Knighthood… That sends a message to the young generation that their aspiration is to get rich, wear the most expensive clothes and behave irresponsibly beautiful. Oh Yes!

    CTC could find something more worth the time to campaign for than a remote single issue that makes no sense on how to improve cycling.

    And may be, you should write more about how there are no bicycle locking bays at places like St. Paul’s Cathedral, Parliament House, London Bridge station, Stoke Newington High Street, etc. This alone is reason why some people may not want to cycle since it takes ages to find where to lock up than to cycle there and not to talk about the lack of awareness amongst drivers of the existence of cyclists as road users too.

  8. Ruth 04/08/2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I think there’s a point to be made, but probably not so black and white as the CTC is wishing to make it. It does matter what the posties think, and I do think the move to remove the biking option bears some scrutiny and challenge (everything Royal Mail management does deserves scrutiny and challenge). However the reasons for withdrawing them do seem fairly robust.

    Changing the subject slightly, all four of my local posties have taken advantage of the Bike to Work subsidy scheme and bought themselves very decent Boardman road bikes for recreational/ commute use, so they are still cycling, just not on the round itself.

    so long as folk see the brilliance of cycling and want to do it, I’m happy.

  9. Kath 05/08/2010 at 8:10 am #

    Here’s the view of one postie who writes under a pseudonymn http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/31/postal-service-cycling-environment and thinks getting rid of the bikes is bad.

    I think any campaign would be more effective if it was run by posties and supported by CTC rather than being a CTC campaign.

  10. christhebull 05/08/2010 at 11:16 pm #

    My opinion is that if capacity is an issue, trailers or tricycles should be used, and if weight is a problem, use an electric assist motor.

  11. CTC 06/08/2010 at 11:51 am #

    Thank you for all your interesting comments – we thought we should clarify some of our aims and motivations.
    CTC – the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation pursues the promotion of cycling from several angles. We see cycling as a normal form of transport and think the delivery by bicycle is in many cases the most practical and efficient one. Imagine how time consuming delivery by van must be, getting in and out the van, parking, etc, whereas with bikes you can be much faster. Remember that the bicycle is the most efficient form of human transportation – far better than either walking or driving! Pushing or riding a bike on snowy streets is a lot easier than pushing along icy or slushy pavements with tiny-wheeled trolleys.

    We also find the Royal Mail’s arguments unconvincing – on the one hand they are complaining about decreasing volumes and on the other hand they say bicycles cannot carry enough. If it is a matter of the bikes carrying too little there are a range of technical solutions including bigger panniers and cargo bikes, CTC has offered to share its expertise and work out a concept on this with Royal Mail.

    Health and safety are very important to us as well, however cycling crashes are only fifth in the list of the causes of injuries to postal workers, less than slips, trips and falls, animal attacks, “striking against” or injuries associated with lifting and handling. (see here: http://www.royalmailgroup.com/portal/rmg/content1?catId=23200539&mediaId=23300512)
    We’ve also got statements that pushing or pulling electric trolleys puts more stress on the skeleton then other forms of delivery.

    CTC very much aims for a road environment that makes cycling a safe and pleasant experience – postmen and postwomen on bicycles contribute to the ‘safety in numbers effect’ that has shown that the risks of casualties are reduced the more people are cycling. We believe that having more vans on the roads and possibly parking in cycle lanes wouldn’t help. Here’s the link: http://www.ctc.org.uk/safetyinnumbers

    Last but not least – fear of losing their job prevents postal workers from openly criticizing Royal Mail. Many postal workers have therefore approached CTC to help, as we are in the position to get active. We seek your support and hope to make the Royal Mail change it’s plans of getting rid of bicycle delivery!

    Cheers and keep cycling, CTC

  12. sashabekket 06/08/2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Cycling is the greatest way to save the ecological situation and the best solution to get out of the traffic jams. I support this idea and think that mail should be delivered on bicycles

  13. Fabian 09/08/2010 at 12:07 pm #

    I remember this being hotly debated back at the end of March in many of the newspapers with safety being cited as the main cause for concern – and that many of the bikes would then be shipped off to Africa instead. Wrote a little about it here in greater detail: http://onthebummel.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/where-have-all-the-cycling-postmen-gone/

    Seems a great shame to remove the cycling postman, as apart from the ethical/environment arguments, the Royal Mail is also one of the largest customers of the UK’s oldest bike manufacturer still in existence – Pashley. I wonder what the knock on affect to lose such an important client as the Royal Mail would be for them? Would be a real pity to see such a stalwart of the classic British cycling scene suffer due to some petty penny pinching and small mindedness coming from the RM.

    The use of vans and bicycles from an emissions perspective seems to make perfect sense. Thinking of it all as a bit like a bike wheel, with the van being a moveable hub, the cycling postie would be like the spokes – enough Pats on bikes and you could significantly reduce emissions while covering a large amount of ground.

    Andreas, definitely a website to comment across the whole spectrum of cycling issues!

  14. Adrian 09/08/2010 at 12:47 pm #

    If your campaign to get posties to keep their bikes succeeds, would you then campaign to get cycling posties off the pavement in Edgware?

  15. ian 08/09/2010 at 7:48 pm #

    Your campaign is fantastic. Keep up the good work. I am a postie and i can tell you the managment are just complete morons. They want us all in vans 2 or 3 people to a disgusting diesel polluting van instead of a bike. They don’t give a toss about the customer with mail being delivered later and later, its a sad company to work for nowadays, just money money money for the fatcats is all they care about.

  16. Danny Chapman 01/06/2011 at 11:21 am #

    For me the problem lies in hypocracy, goverments and goverment agencies are forever telling us as consumers and humans about park and ride or cycling to work schemes and yet they are not focusing on getting one of the UK’s largest monopoloistic company who’s job would become safer, more economically viable and probably more appealing to employment prospects.

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