As part of its continuous effort to promote non-motorised transport in Cape Town, the City has spearheaded a number of initiatives to make cycling safer.
In a forum held by the City in November 2012, local and provincial government representatives discussed cycling safety, pro-cycling legislation, changing the attitudes of cyclists and motorists and how to encourage more cyclists to use the roads. Key speakers included the Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater, Brett Herron; Transport and Public Works MEC, Robin Carlisle; Finance, Tourism and Economic Development MEC, Alan Winde and Sport and Recreation MEC, Ivan Meyer.
Herron said that one part of the City's plan would include conducting surveys to measure areas with the largest numbers of cyclists as well as their peak travelling times, and erecting more signage to caution motorists to drive carefully when they see them. The City will also start identifying areas in which there are high cycling accident rates.
Finance is another key area in which the City has pledged its support. In the current financial year, the municipality will spend R124 million on non-motorised transport infrastructure. One of its priorities is linking non-motorised transport routes to existing and future public transport and building more cycle lanes - one project is the construction of proper cycling facilities along the full length of Albert Road in Woodstock, with the intention of minimising danger to cyclists wanting to commute into the CBD.
At a provincial level the Western Cape Provincial Road Traffic Bill published in the Provincial Gazette was open for public comment until 20 September 2012. It is now law for motorists to allow a distance of 1,5 metres between them and a cyclist when passing them.
Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are considered vehicles under South African law. They have the right to ride on any public road other than a freeway, or where expressly forbidden by law. They also have the right to the left hand side of the road giving due consideration to other road users. Cyclists should ride a safe distance from the edge of the road or pavement (international best practise suggests 1 metre) to make sure that motorists can see them.
Cyclists and motorists are urged to practice TAR - Tolerance, Awareness and Respect - for one another, especially in the intense training period leading up to the Cape Argus Pick ŉ Pay Cycle Tour (November to March).
Safety tips for motorists:
- Tolerance - obey the rules of the road. Treat cyclists like you would fellow motorists. Pass wide. Leave 1.5 metres between yourself and a cyclist when passing.
Do not hoot when approaching cyclists from behind. This may startle them and cause them to veer into the road in front of you.
Stay in your lane. When driving on a winding road, do not force the car in front of you over the yellow line or drive on the shoulder of the road – there may be cyclists around the next turn.
- Aware - be aware of cyclists when turning left or right. Check for oncoming cyclists before turning.
Check for oncoming cyclists before opening a car door. Be aware of cyclists, as they may have to swerve to avoid an open car door or road hazard.
Make sure cyclists are aware of you - drive with your headlights on, especially at dawn and dusk, in bad weather or when travelling on a long stretch of road.
- Respect - show cyclists the same respect you expect them to show you.
Safety tips for cyclists:
- Tolerance - obey the rules of the road. As a road user, obey all traffic laws and signs. Use hand signals. Indicate to motorists what you intend to do.
- Aware - be aware of the potential danger and always wear a helmet. Invest in a good quality helmet and make sure it is correctly fitted and positioned. Wear some form of ID and emergency contact details.
Be aware of your surroundings. In the interest of your own safety you need to know what’s going on around you. Do not cycle while listening to music.
Increase others awareness of you by wearing reflective clothing and fit lights and reflectors to your bicycle.
- Respect - show motorists the same respect you expect them to show you.
For more information visit SMART cycling.