Cyclists ignore safety measures: survey

By Drum Digital
18 January 2013

Many cyclists in South Africa do not practise precautionary measures when using public roads, a survey revealed on Friday.

About 61 percent of cyclists questioned said they did not always wear helmets when they were on the road -- despite 64 percent agreeing that they did not feel safe on the roads.

Two out of five (38 percent) cyclists claimed they would like to ride to school or work but they believed their safety would be compromised.

Most of them -- 75 percent -- agreed they would cycle to work or school if cyclist lanes were introduced.

Consumer insights company Pondering Panda conducted the survey among 4264 people between the ages of 13 and 34. About 37 percent of them were bicycle owners.

Spokeswoman for Pondering Panda, Shirley Wakefield, said if more people turned to cycling, they could enjoy cheaper and healthier ways of commuting. She said the safety of cyclists depended on motorists.

"The fact that the majority of cyclists say they don't always wear a helmet makes it especially important for drivers on our roads to remain vigilant and drive carefully when they spot a cyclist," she said.

The survey was carried out on cellphones between January 7 and 10 across the country and the results were weighted to be nationally representative, said Wakefield.

It was conducted shortly after the death of Olympic cyclist Burry Stander.

The 25-year-old died on January 3 after being knocked off his bike by a taxi at Shelly Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.

Cyclists across the country have since been calling for government to implement cycling lanes to ensure their safety.

The Automobile Association reported that during 2010, 252 cyclists were killed on the country's roads and an estimated 800 more injured.

-Sapa

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