The Pedal Power Association, together with more than 300 cyclists from all walks of life, took to the streets of Cape Town on Saturday 6 May 2017 to ride in memory of cyclists who have been killed or injured on Western Cape roads and to hand over a letter of concern to local authorities.
Rens Rezelman, chairman of the PPA, read out the cyclists’ concerns to the cyclists attending the ride and the officials who received the letters on behalf of the City and Provincial officials.
“In every incident involving a motorist where a cyclist was killed or injured, the 1 meter ‘passing law’ has been broken,” Rezelman said. “In 2016, 27 cyclists were killed on Western Cape roads alone.”
Rezelman added that efforts to increase the number of cycling paths are applauded but that the PPA’s grievances lie with the seeming inability of the authorities to successfully prosecute the drivers of vehicles who crashed into and badly injured, maimed or killed cyclists on the roads. “Despite witnesses being present and the obvious breaking of various traffic laws including the 1m law in each incident, not one motorist has been successfully put behind bars for the destruction of or taking of another life,” Rezelman said.
“We ask that you, as City and Provincial officials, follow these cases in a proactive manner and facilitate where reasonably possible, ‘unblocking’ blockages where they might occur,” Rezelman added. “If our roads don’t become safer, the vision of Cape Town becoming a cycling city will not be realized. “
Traffic Directorate head, Kenny Africa, thanked all the cyclists for supporting the ride stating that the lives of our cyclists on the roads are non-negotiable. Africa commented that the PPA is seen as a colleague of the traffic fraternity. He continued to say that the authorities will do everything possible to support the PPA’s cause but they need the assistance of cyclists to report incidents to his office directly.
According to Africa, road safety is everyone’s responsibility and there needs to be mutual respect amongs road users. “We need everyone to come on board and assist to make the roads safe,” said Africa.
Africa confirmed that he would be briefing all traffic officers on the ‘one metre law’ so that they have a better understanding of what it entails.
Robert Vogel, PPA CEO, then thanked all the cyclists for taking the time to support the PPA on the day. He also thanked Mr Africa for his commitment.
The PPA has to date invested millions in the Stay Wider of the Rider safe cycling campaign, asking motorists and cyclists alike to modify their behavior and do the right thing by obeying the rules of the road. “Behaviour shift is the only sustainable and cost-effective way to make the roads safer. Where the law is broken, we need a zero tolerance approach from the authorities,” Vogel concluded.