Friday, November 23, 2018

FORS Scheme to Include Motorcycle Courier Operations in Future

Powered Two Wheeler (P2W) Fleets Accepted from January 2019
Shipping News Feature
UK – The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) will soon encompass powered two-wheeler (P2W) fleets, made up primarily of motorcycle and moped operations, as the scheme continues to expand its remit to bring best practice to an increasing range of commercial vehicle operators. With 'Bike Smart' the central theme of Brake charity's annual Road Safety Week running all this week, FORS says that it is committed to drawing attention to the importance of the safety of P2W riders on UK roads.

Through its newly-updated FORS Standard, FORS makes provision for P2W fleet operations from January 2019, providing this growing sector with access to its Bronze-Silver-Gold accreditation process. The new FORS Standard is now in its fifth iteration, updated every two years to retain relevance in an ever-changing industry, setting out the requirements operators must meet if they wish to become FORS accredited.

As part of new FORS Professional training updates, and very much in-line with Transport for London’s (TfL) Vision Zero campaign, P2W fleets at FORS Bronze level accreditation are required to complete Compulsory Basic Training and the theory test every 12 months. At Silver accreditation, members’ P2W riders must have attained a full motorcycle licence relevant to the vehicle’s power output. John Hix, FORS Director, commented:

“The transport of goods has come to encompass a much wider range of vehicles other than HGVs and vans, and, from the outset, FORS has aimed to include as wide a range of professional fleets as possible. We began with a remit for construction HGV operators before expanding our reach to vans and bus and coach operators, and the scheme now has the tools to include powered two-wheelers.

“It’s no secret that many deliveries, especially last-mile deliveries are completed on motorcycles and mopeds, and it’s important that we offer these operators the chance to be part of FORS; to raise standards, to implement training and to improve safety for all road users.”

FORS is becoming more accessible to more operators, especially those with P2W fleets which are becoming increasingly prevalent on UK roads, contributing to many last-mile deliveries resulting from the growth in eCommerce. Carl Lomas, National Chair of the Institute of Couriers, member of the FORS Governance and Standards Advisory Committee (GSAG), welcomes the changes, saying:

“Yes, motorcycles and mopeds are exempt from the requirement to hold an O-Licence. Yet, they still deliver a commercial transport service and face many of the same challenges as any operator; and they most certainly do have the same obligations to road safety, to efficiency and to sustainable operations. FORS will now help those operators, to raise their game and to ensure they meet their responsibilities. Paramount to this will be the increasing focus on safety for riders of motorcycles and mopeds.”

The addition of P2Ws to FORS membership goes hand in hand with a greater national emphasis on the inclusion of P2Ws across compliance, and a recognition of the need to provide training in the sector. Under TfL’s Vision Zero policy, a wide range of measures have been put in place to raise motorcycle standards, including new advanced training courses and closer working with the motorcycle delivery industry. Lilli Matson, TfL’s Director of Transport Strategy, said:

“Too many people are being killed or seriously injured while riding motorcycles and mopeds in London. This is why, as part of our Vision Zero approach to reducing road danger, we have launched a range of new measures to raise motorcycle standards, including new advanced training courses and much closer working with the motorcycle delivery industry. We are supportive of the new FORS accreditation for delivery riders and hope it encourages companies and riders to put safety at their heart of their operations.”

The changes will certainly be welcome, and both TfL, underscored by impetus from Sadiq Khan, and FORS are to be congratulated on striving to improve safety. However many in the road freight community will opine that, whilst haulage and courier companies are subject to a panoply of changing regulations in the search for better accident figures, any idiot can get on a bike and pedal through London with no tuition whatsoever.

Anyone who drives through the capital regularly will recognise the figure of the cycle courier jumping traffic lights and almost colliding with pedestrians whilst amateur cyclists, many unaware of the dangers of tipper or articulated trucks turning left, continually add to the accident figures. Perhaps TfL would consider now a suitable time to introduce a mandatory training scheme with certification for cyclists in a bid to cut those statistics even further.

Photo: Some couriers tend to overload their motorbikes! One hopes this guy in Vietnam probably wouldn’t dare try it in London.