PPA says: CYCLISTS STAY ALIVE AT 1.5M
The Pedal Power Association held a cyclists’ safety awareness ride, the PPA Ride for your Life, on Saturday 23 February 2013. The ride started at 07h00 from Maiden’s Cove, Camps Bay. Over five hundred cyclists arrived to support the cause dressed in their PPA ‘safe cycling’ jersey with its message that “cyclists stay alive at 1.5m”
“We were shocked and saddened earlier this year when promising SA cycling talent, Burry Stander, was killed when he was hit by a vehicle,” said PPA chairman Steve Hayward. “We were equally saddened when a commuter was killed late last year when struck by a bus. What makes this even more tragic is that these incidents could have been prevented.”
For the past 16 months, the Pedal Power Association has been campaigning to get a law passed in South Africa to make it compulsory for motorists to pass cyclists with a berth of at least 1.5m.
“It is very simple,” Hayward said. “Cyclists stay alive at 1.5m. This practice works well overseas, and in several overseas countries, motorists are indeed deemed guilty if they hit a cyclist, whether the cyclist was at fault or not.
“It is high time that this practice becomes law throughout South Africa, and the PPA will continue with its efforts to fight for the rights of cyclists on South African roads until this has happened. But more importantly, the law needs to be enforced, and for that we call on the authorities to come onboard. It’s no use having a law that protects cyclists, but motorists still get away with murder.
“Just look at the logistics: A bicycle weighs a few kilograms. Add the weight of the cyclist. How can that stand up against a car, taxi or bus?
“South African drivers need to learn tolerance, and to share the road space. With the continued rise in fuel price, cycling is the ideal way to commute to work if you live up to 10km from your work, with both economic and health benefits thrown in. But that will work only if circumstances change in South Africa so that people feel safe to use the roads.”
According to MEC Robin Carlisle, Minister for Transport and Public Works, the “1.5m” passing distance is set to become law this year, with the enabling decisions already having been taken by Cabinet.
Under South African law, bicycles are regarded as vehicles. That means cyclists – whether sports cyclists or commuters – have as much right to be on the roads as a car, taxi or bus and indeed do not need to keep to the far left of the road. However, as a road user, traffic laws need to be obeyed by cyclists as well, and that it where cyclists also need to play their part.
“We would like to urge motorists to continue giving cyclists a wide berth on an ongoing basis,” said Hayward. “In particular, motorists should be extra vigilant around commuters or kids who may not have the same bicycle handling skills as sports cyclists; in very windy conditions; or in areas with potholes and debris on the road which may cause cyclists to swerve. We also urge cyclists to ride responsibly and obey traffic laws; to ride in a predictable manner; and to be as visible as possible through wearing brightly coloured clothing and by fitting lights to their bicycles.”
GET YOUR SAFE CYCLING JERSEY NOW
The PPA has a limited number of ‘safe cycling’ jerseys available for sale that highlight that “cyclists stay alive at 1.5m”. In order to assist in spreading the word, PPA is subsidizing each jersey by R100 making the price only R175 each. Visit the PPA Office at 9 Hill Park Lane, Mowbray or contact them on (021) 689-8420. Read more on the PPA’s website on www.pedalpower.org.za.
For more information, contact Liz Robbins on firstname.lastname@example.org / (021) 689-8420