Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, has expressed concern over Royal Mail's proposals to cull bicycling posties. He received cross-party support and Devon County Council has made a public appeal for Royal Mail to think again.
In February, Adam Crozier the outgoing CEO of Royal Mail wrote to Lord Berkeley of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, confirming that Royal Mail would be scrapping 23,500 of its 24,000 bikes in favour of vans and trolleys. Crozier said the decision was based on safety concerns. He claimed "bicycles pose the wider safer risk associated with busy street networks."
Councillor Hughes poured scorn on Crozier's reasoning:
"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."
The Pashley Mailstar bicycle - made in Britain - can carry 32kg of mail; more if trailers were fitted.
Hughes said cycling should be encouraged: “We are encouraging more people to take up this healthy environmentally friendly mode of transport, not just for relaxation, but also for getting to and from work and so I do hope that we can persuade Royal Mail to reconsider its proposals. My fear is that this could be the thin edge of the wedge and could lead to the closure of some of our rural sorting offices.”