Gig Economy Bicycle Food Delivery Worker Dies When Struck By a Dump Truck—Massachusetts
Massachusetts Case Report: 17MA056
Release Date: March 11, 2020
On November 3, 2017, a 19-year-old “gig economy” bicycle food delivery worker died when he was struck by a dump truck. At the time of the incident, he was logged onto a food delivery, application-based platform via his cell phone, which was in his pocket. He was riding his bicycle along a roadway when he was struck. Once the dump truck operator realized his truck had struck a person, a call was placed for emergency medical services (EMS). EMS arrived quickly and the victim was pronounced at the incident location.
Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:
- No side guards on the truck;
- Vehicle blind spots;
- No company provided safety and health protections for the victim, including no personal protective equipment (PPE), because working as an independent contractor; and
- No dedicated bicycle lanes.
The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers and other owners of motor vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings over 10,000 pounds should:
- Consider adding side guards to these vehicles.
Employers, including employers who utilize workers with nontraditional work arrangements should:
- Ensure that all workers who will use bicycles along roadways to perform tasks are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task and should consider providing daytime running lights for the bicycles; and
- Ensure that all workers who will be in proximity to roadways to perform tasks are trained about the concept of vehicle blind spots.
Employers who utilize independent contractors should:
- Comply with the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law to ensure employees are not misclassified as independent contractors.
- Consider adopting a complete streets approach to ensure the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.