After reading the article on the 1.5m gap for cyclists including the numerous comments which I noticed were decidedly anti cyclists I felt compelled to put pen to paper. In this case it is keyboard hammering.
As a cyclist of many years with numerous close shaves the attitudes of both parties, cyclists and motorists, needs to be reviewed. The reckless statements made shows the total disregard and consideration shown to fellow South Africans and other road users.
There has been a gradual breakdown of law and order on the roads post 1994, largely contributed to by the explosion of the taxi industry together with the arrogant attitude of mostly white drivers. (black drivers, excluding taxis are generally more patient curteous and friendly) The pent up anger from whatever reasons translates into intolerance, road rage, agression and anti social behavior.
How any motorist can justify passing a cyclist on a country road at 120km per hour+ without even the slightest attempt at moving over even when there is no oncoming traffic and there is a broken white line? This defeats logical reasoning and common sense. Had a testing inspector been the passenger in this instance a drivers licence would not have been issued. Any cyclist will attest to the fact that this is a common occurrence.
Not all cyclists carry on as if they own the road and the same holds true for motorists. Almost every cyclist over the age of 18yrs is also a motorist thus having a better understanding of the problem whereas the same does not apply in the case of motorists. How big an issue is it really for a motorist to slow down, pass when safe, and how much time would actually have been lost? In so doing they would in all probability get a thank you wave of appreciation.
I appeal to cyclists and motorists alike to set aside the petty arguments and give each other the space and respect.
The cycling community has taken note and I am trusting a change in behavior and attitudes will start taking place.