31 July, 2014

Bicycle Safety in South Africa

by Elaine Crawford

Cycling is a very popular sport in South Africa enjoyed by very many people, but it is a potentially dangerous sport. When participating in organised events, the wearing of bicycle helmets is compulsory. “No helmet, No ride” is the motto of the organisers. When cycling casually, the wearing of bicycle helmets is encouraged. In South Africa, we do have an exceptional volume of traffic on our roads. Only recently are the authorities adding “cycling lanes” to the road system. Funds from the Roads Department are very limited so this process will take time. Cyclists are not allowed to cycle on our Freeways (Motorways).

We do have a Pedal Power Association in South Africa (PPA) who arrange organised cycle rides both off-road and on-road. There are road marshals in attendance warning cars that bicycles are using the road for an event in progress. In order to increase “Bicycle Safety”, PPA have recently had a law passed enforcing cars to leave a distance of 1.5 metres between the cyclist and the car (or any motorised vehicle) when passing. Cycle shirts (pictured) have been made and are sold to cyclists by our PPA at a reduced cost. Bumper stickers are also available.


Editor's note:
Congratulations to Elaine on the arrival of her fourth grandchild: her younger son and his wife had a little boy in May. She writes that he has a mop of dark hair and is so beautiful. Now she has 4 grandchildren: 2 girls and 2 boys. Planned that well, didn't they?

And some more news from Elaine: “I would still like to do another End to End. Hopefully this year. I have not cycled the Argus Cycle Tour [the world's largest timed cycle race] for 3 years so I am not up to date on it I am afraid to say. I did enter to ride this year, but the wind was blowing so strongly and I cannot cycle down Chapman’s Peak in those strong gusts of wind. There were some bad accidents but 32,000 did cross the finish line.”

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