Cyclists hit the brakes

2015-07-07 06:02
Local cyclists refuse to use the dedicated cycle lanes in Albert Road because of inconsiderate motorists hogging the lanes.

PHOTO: 
TIYESE JERANJI

Local cyclists refuse to use the dedicated cycle lanes in Albert Road because of inconsiderate motorists hogging the lanes. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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The demarcated bicycle lanes on both sides of Albert Road are not even completed yet, but cyclists already doubt if they will be of any use.

The new cycle lane connects the existing Liesbeek Parkway cycle route in Observatory with the Cape Town central business district along Malta and Albert roads, passing through Salt River and Woodstock.

Some cyclists who are trying out the bicycle lanes which are supposed to be completed in the coming weeks say they are a great risk and put their lives in danger because motorists don’t respect the lanes – they drive on them. They also complain that motorists park on the lanes, making it impossible for them to cycle there.

A cyclist who spoke on condition of anonymity says it’s a waste of money and they are putting their lives in danger if they have to use those lanes.

“The City is just wasting a lot of money on something that will not work. We just can’t compete with motorists. Motorists overspeed on those lanes and some of them just park their cars there. Motorists just don’t respect the cycle lanes and there is nothing that we can do. You can’t cycle properly either because there is a taxi or a car in front of you or at the back, forcing you to go faster. For me to be safe, I will go back to cycling on the pavement. At least there I know I’m safe and I don’t have taxi drivers hooting at me to be faster,” he says.

Earl Thompson, another cyclist, says the City is trying but it must add stern measures to ensure that motorists are kept off those lanes.

“Seriously, we don’t feel safe. Motorists are very inconsiderate. They hoot at you like you’re on their lane when actually it’s the other way round. Cycling there is just putting our lives in danger because that stretch with the bicycle lanes gets so busy at times and motorists end up using the bicycle lanes. This puts us at a disadvantage and we are not safe at all. If we have to cycle there properly the City must make sure that motorists found on those lanes pay dearly for it,” says Thompson.

The City of Cape Town’s transport department admits that it has received complaints about motorists driving or parking on the demarcated lanes.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, says there is no simple solution to the demands for the availability of both a cycle lane and parking.

“The City has received complaints about parking in the cycle lane as well as the removal of on-street parking. The cycle lanes are demarcated and reserved for exclusive use by cyclists; motorists who are parking in the cycle lanes can be fined by the City’s traffic service. I want to appeal to our road users to please obey the traffic signs and rules of the road as those who are parking and driving in the cycle lanes are posing a serious threat to cyclists,” he says.

Herron adds that the City does city-wide weekly counts and site visits which indicate the usage of the facility and capture any matters that need attention like illegal parking, maintenance amongst other things.

“Furthermore, the creation of cycle lanes, such as those along Albert Road, is in accordance with the City of Cape Town’s non-motorised transport policy, aimed at luring people away from private vehicle use and encouraging them to rather walk or cycle where possible. World-class cities across the globe make use of cycle lanes to enhance and promote cycling to residents and visitors alike. This is the future and motorists should understand that cyclists are also entitled to utilise the roads across the city,” says Herron.

The City encourages cyclists to report illegal driving or parking to the transport information centre on 0800 65 64 63 instead of confronting motorists

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