The rapid growth in online shopping has caused a rise in trucks, vans and transport vehicles on our roads that are not just delivering to shopping centres but sometimes right to our suburban front door.
This presents a major increase in congestion, but also an increase in risk for riders who easily disappear in truck blind spots.
While the number of truck crashes is low on the statistics, when they crash they can cause multiple deaths and injuries.
Trucks were responsible for 169 deaths from 152 fatal crashes in Australia in the 12 months up to September 2018.
The latest truck fatality in Australia involved a Victorian rider who collided with a truck on the Monash Freeway near the Blackburn Road on-ramp on Wednesday (February 6, 2019).
In the USA, truck crashes kill more than 4000 people each year, including about 500 motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Fashion to blame
The online fashion industry is one of the biggest causes of this increase in heavy vehicle traffic.
Almost a third of all clothes are now bought online and about 40% are returned when they don’t fit or after the buyer has taken an Instagram selfie!
And that’s just the fashion industry. A lot of other products are now bought online rather than from shopping centres.
Fashion Revolution of Belgium has warned fashion shoppers of the hidden dangers and costs of this increase in online trucking of goods with this video.
It shows women trying on clothes on highways, surrounded by trucks and traffic.
Count the costs
The costs of this online fashion business is not only an increase in traffic congestion, but also road danger and CO2 emissions output.
In 2016, transportation (including air travel) overtook power plants as the top producer of carbon dioxide emissions for the first time since 1979.
A quarter of this comes from trucks and vans doing house deliveries after they have been transported by plane or ship to a warehouse.
Before online shopping, trucks and vans mainly delivered to warehouses and shopping centres.
Now most packages go directly to a residential address.
Shoppers have traded trips to the shops in relatively fuel-efficient vehicles for deliveries to suburban homes by trucks and other heavy vehicles.
What you can do
We are not suggesting you stop online shopping. It’s convenient and cheap.
In fact, we have several motorcycle products available through our online shop that are difficult or to find in shops or are not stocked in Australia.
Thankfully most small packages are delivered by Australia Post on fuel-efficient postie bikes.
And because they are handling more and more online shopping parcels, Australia Post is also trialling these three-wheelers.
You can also buy several articles at a time from the same distributor to try to avoid multiple trips and packages.
However, I recently bought four barbecue items from the same distributor and they arrived over two separate deliveries in four different packages!
UPDATE: MBEW reader John Bowtell makes an interesting suggestion in the comments section to use AusPost’s free parcel locker service.
“You have 48 hours to pick up the parcel 24 hours a day, if not collected it goes back inside the post office. By using this service you will keep trucks and vans off suburban streets.”