eThekwini councillors to pedal their way through CBD

2013-10-24 00:00

KZN CYCLING say they fully support the idea of eThekwini councillors using pedal power to get around the inner city.

They were responding to Mayor James Nxumalo, himself an avid cyclist, encouraging staff and officials to “use non-motorised transportation and to reduce the city’s carbon footprint”.

The issue was again raised in the executive committee (Exco) meeting on Tuesday, when the chairperson asked about the progress of the project.

It turns out that the 294 bicycles made available to the city by the United Nations and the Department of Environmental Affairs after the COP17, have not been put to use yet.

The plan is to have a bicycle pool system that all councillors will have access to, allowing them to commute easily within the inner CBD, municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng said.

A budget of R100 000 was made available to support the project to buy additional helmets, pumps, a scanning system, and a tracking system to make sure the bicycles are not lost.

The budget is not being used to buy bicycles for councillors as reported in the media, Mofokeng said.

This reminded National Freedom Party councillor Bongiwe Mtshali that she has not received a bicycle yet.

“I was not present on the day they handed the bicycles to other councillors,” she said.

She commended the idea, saying it would help curb air pollution due to the high number of cars on the roads.

Mtshali said the idea was cost effective and a good form of exercise.

However, she pointed out one small problem, saying she said she could use some proper training before using her bike.

“I don’t even know how to ride it properly … some riding lessons would help. We need to know how to be vigilant for cars,” she said.

Mofokeng replied that the bicycles will not be assigned to a particular councillor or official — it’s all about sharing.

KZN Cycling president Greg Stedman said it would be fantastic if everyone cycled to work instead of driving, as the option had health benefits.

“Cycling is good for exercising and this will also create a safe environment to cycle in,” he said.

He added that it would be a great to expand cycling routes as there was only one route at the moment.

“We have the one around King’s Park stadium, but we obviously would love to get more of those,” he said.

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