Ottery last bastion for posties’ bikes

Ottery will be among the last towns in the country you’ll be able to spot a postman on his bike as Royal Mail moves to abolish the iconic delivery method.

As reported in last week’s Herald, Sidmouth postmen have had their bicycles removed amid health and safety fears, but there are no plans to remove two-wheeled deliveries in neighbouring Ottery St Mary for the ‘foreseeable future’.

Bicycles have been taken out of service as part of a �2billion national modernisation scheme, and will be replaced by vans and light-weight trolleys to improve efficiency, lower accidents and prevent injuries to staff.

But a Royal Mail spokesman said: “In Ottery there are no plans with cycles there in the foreseeable future, they will remain in that area. Across the country there will still be a very small number of cycles.”

The spokesman could not make any guarantees the removal of bikes wouldn’t take place in the town at some point in the future. He added: “I’m not saying Ottery St Mary will keep them, but it’s not in our intended plans to make any changes. It may come further down the line.”

Since the change in Sidmouth at the beginning of March some residents claimed post is arriving later, and the move has also been branded environmentally un-friendly.

Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, Stuart Hughes, felt Royal Mail chiefs performed a ‘u-turn’ after his authority pleaded against the cycle move last year. He said: “It’s a crying shame to think we won’t see our local posties on their bikes any more. I appreciate Royal Mail is investing in transforming its collection and delivery, but as carbon reduction is part of that investment, use of bicycles would seem to fit in perfectly with its future operations to reduce emissions.”