UK cyclists' organisation CTC and Devon County Council’s cabinet are both calling for Royal Mail to reconsider their plan to phase out delivery bicycles.
CTC are appealing for all those who oppose the plans – which have, in part, been prompted by concerns about the safety of postmen on bikes – to write to Royal Mail's as-yet-unnamed new chief executive. You can do so here.
In a separate initiative, Devon County Council have asked Royal Mail to think again about replacing post bikes with vans and trolleys, and they're also seeking an assurance that no local sorting offices will be closed because of the change in policy.
When approached by BikeRadar, councillors issued a collective response summing up their views, in which they said: "Devon County Council have now made direct contact with the management of Royal Mail to express their concern and dismay.
"Their decision flies in the face of national policy to not only encourage cycling and reduce road vehicle mileage but also to improve the health of our populace. In addition, Devon County Council have made substantial investment in improving the environment for cycling and urge Royal Mail to consider local appropriateness and sentiment for cycling."
Councillor Stuart Hughes was alerted to Royal Mail's plans by local posties. He said: ”I understand the reason for scrapping the bicycles that is being given by Royal Mail's [departing] chief executive Adam Crozier is that they pose a safety risk associated with busy street networks, where the rider is exposed to greater risk than other vehicle users.
"I believe that this is complete poppycock as on Royal Mail's own website bicycle accidents come in fifth place behind 1) slips,trips and falls, 2) animal attacks, 3) stepping on/striking against something and 4) lifting and handling.
Zsolt Schuller, Cycle Exeter project manager, told BikeRadar that cycling in that part of Devon was becoming safer: "In Exeter between 2005 and 2008 we've seen a 40 percent increase in recorded average daily cycle trips with no corresponding increase in cycling casualties."
As well as citing general health and safety fears, Royal Mail have also said that bikes are not appropriate for the increasing weight and size of deliveries, and that van and trolley deliveries are a more suitable replacement. The CTC refute this, pointing to the fact that Continental mail companies such as Deutsche Post and TNT use cargo bikes to deliver larger loads.