A ROYAL Mail attempt to cut down on injuries suffered by cycling posties has backfired after accidents increased.
It was announced in 2010 that the Royal Mail would phase out the use of bicycles over the next few years over health and safety fears.
Bosses wanting to cut down on road accidents involving cycling postmen also warned heavier loads could cause back strain, and other injuries.
But despite cutting its Scottish bicycle fleet from 526 in 2010 to 401 in 2011 numbers of accidents have not decreased as planned.
Instead accidents have slightly increased from nine incidents to 10.
A freedom of information request to Royal Mail also revealed there have been only 53 accidents on bicycles recorded since 2008.
John Lauder, national director for Sustrans Scotland, a pro-cycling charity, said the small number of accidents did not excuse the postal service from reducing bikes.
He said: “I’m baffled as to why the Royal Mail would stop postal workers from using bicycles.
“That’s certainly not a high number of accidents and in terms of the health of postal workers it would be much better for them to be out on bicycles, getting exercise and fresh air. The Royal Mail is doing its employees a huge disservice by failing to give them every opportunity for exercise.
“Using bicycles would also help Royal Mail reduce congestion and improve its carbon footprint. I cannot understand why they would chose to burn more petrol when they should be looking at ways to cut money.
“They should really be increasing their numbers of bicycles not cutting them down.”
The freedom of information request revealed that posties travelling on bikes had recorded 10 injuries in 2010, including a bruised shoulder,bruised rib and a cut knee.
It also showed that postal workers had suffered 239 accidents on other vehicles, not including bikes, for the same period.
A spokeswoman for Royal Mail admitted there had been a “slight increase” in the number of accidents on bikes recorded since 2010.
She added: “The ultimate aim would be to stop all accidents on bicycles all together.
“Royal Mail provides one of the most comprehensive and best value mail services in the world and changes around the use of bicycles on delivery allows us to continue to meet the needs of customers by delivering mail to almost 29 million addresses, six days per week.
“Developments such as the increase in online shopping have changed type of mail we typically handle, with larger and heavier packets often needing to be delivered. We have been progressively replacing bicycles and mailbags with trolleys and vans in order to deal with mail more effectively.
“There has therefore been a reduction in the number of bicycles in use in Scotland. This move, which has been supported by the union, has in addition helped to reduce the risk of injury to postal workers from carrying heavier mailbags and cycling accidents.”