Fewer cycle in CBD

2017-05-09 10:23

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The number of cyclists taking to the streets of the city centre appears to be dwindling.

This is based on a recent survey by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), published in the State of the central city report: 2016 – A year in review.

The number of respondents saying they cycle in the CBD has dropped from 22% to 14% in a year, explains report author and CCID spokesperson Carola Koblitz.

The dipstick survey, carried out last year, saw 232 CBD residents respond, of whom 33 cycled. In the previous year’s survey, where 283 residents responded, 52 indicated that they cycled in the city centre.

While the survey did not ask why cyclists chose this form of transport, Koblitz says, the main reasons for not cycling were two-fold.

“People either said they don’t own a bike, or they felt it was not safe enough on the road for cyclists. This dovetails with last year’s survey during which participants also felt there were not enough bicycle lanes in the city centre yet, and there was limited bicycle storage and parking either where they lived or worked,” she explains.

Last year, the City of Cape Town conducted an assessment of the current state of cycling in Cape Town. The research included surveys of cycling movements at 50 locations across the city, an assessment of the available cycle facilities, a review of accidents involving cyclists, and engagements with stakeholders.

“The data indicated that about 1% of all trips in Cape Town are made by bicycle. In addition, despite the popularity of recreational cycling and participation in cycling events like the annual Cape Town Cycle Tour, the uptake of utility cycling in particular remained stagnant for the past decade,” explains Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

The City’s surveys confirmed that more than 5000 cyclists across the whole city cycled to work in the morning peak period.
Cycling is cheap and a healthy alternative to private cars for short trips, Herron says.

“As with other forward-thinking cities around the world, it is also our intention to gradually transform Cape Town from a vehicle-centred city to a people-centred city that is conducive to alternative modes of transport such as walking and cycling. Central to the debate is the need for motorists to accept cycling as a legitimate mode of transport – the more residents and visitors opt for cycling, the more it will become the norm,” he says.

“A bigger presence of utility cyclists in the CBD will assist us in creating a mind shift among other road users where we all accept that cyclists are entitled to use the city’s roads and where there is mutual respect among road users.”

To improve cycling in the CBD, dedicated cycle lanes along major routes such as Bree Street, Somerset Road, Waterkant Street and Shortmarket Street have been implemented, Herron says, as well as the R27 cycle route.

Bicycle racks have been installed in various locations in the CBD and Sea Point, he adds.

The City’s draft cycling strategy aims to increase the percentage of commuter trips made by bicycle from the current 1% to 8% by 2030.

“The biggest potential for growing commuter cycling lies in bicycle trips to train and bus stations.

“Thus, if provided with the necessary facilities for safe storage, we are confident that commuters will use bicycles to ride to the closest public transport station from where they can complete the rest of their commute either by bus or train.”

A network of well-designed cycle routes and appropriate cycling infrastructure are needed, says Herron.

“Facilities such as lockers, changing areas, and showers for those cycling long distances may be needed and in this regard private employers will play an important role in creating an enabling environment for those who want to cycle to work,” he says.

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