The Royal Mail has said that the rise in online retail – and the resultant heavier mail bags – led it to plan to phase out mail deliveries by bicycle, reported the BBC.
BikeBiz reported that Devon County Council was taking a lead on fighting the Royal Mail’s decision in April. The unpopular decision was made due to ‘safety concerns’.
The Royal Mail responded to the council, apparently shifting focus from safety worries to practicalities, pointing to the changing nature of postal deliveries.
A spokesperson said: "Whilst we recognise that bicycles are a sustainable and safe mode of travel for many people, we see their usefulness out on delivery as increasingly limited.
"The mix of mail in a delivery bag is changing and we are delivering fewer and fewer letters as people move to e-mail and text. However, small parcels and bulky letters are growing as people move to on-line retailing. As our people carry heavier mail bags we have to consider the safety and practicality of using cycles.
"The new vans which we are now introducing in place of bicycles are smaller and more fuel efficient than the older larger vans."
The Communication Workers Union also backed the Royal Mail’s point of view. A spokesperson said: "A lot of people have a rose-tinted view of bicycles, but this is the 21st Century.
"People are not just sending postcards and bills, they’re ordering heavy items online or buying bulky packages from E-bay.
"This issue has even led to many postal workers using their own vehicles to deliver post, which we do not support at all."