Bump in the road

2018-02-06 06:01

The V&A Waterfront has been urged to take action after traffic calming measures were placed in a cycle lane – an action that resulted in one cyclist “coming off second best”.

Paul Szymusik says he was cycling along Dock Road two weeks ago, in the designated cycle lane, when his bicycle hit “30cm square rumble strips”, which had been placed across the road.

He was left with cuts, bruises and a damaged bike.

“These obstructions need to be removed from the cycle lane as they are only ‘fit for [the purpose of] slowing down road vehicles – not bicycles in a narrow cycle lane, which is defined by a solid white and red line,” he says.

Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee member for transport and urban development, says that as a rule, the City of Cape Town tries to avoid implementing traffic calming measures in cycle lanes.

“There are some instances, however, where speed humps may be found in a cycle lane when the cycle lane is within the shoulder of the road and part of the road infrastructure, as opposed to being separate from the road. The speed humps are clearly marked and visible to all road users, and there are warning signs informing road users that there are speed humps ahead and to exercise caution.”

However, Dock Road “is a private road, which is used by the general public,” Herron says.

“The road is not part of the City’s road network – the City is not responsible for its maintenance, nor the implementation of traffic calming measures. That said, officials from the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA) brought the incident and subsequent complaint to the owner’s attention, highlighting the fact that the traffic calming blocks are extended across the demarcated cycle lane,” he says.

“We have requested the owner to rectify/address this.”

V&A Waterfront spokesperson Donald Kau says they are aware of the accident and are in direct liaison with Szymusik.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first incident of this nature on the property. The speed bump measure extends into the cycle lane at this point on Dock Road to discourage cars from swinging wide to avoid it, which would put cyclists directly in harm’s way and also mean that cars do not slow down as intended. The V&A Waterfront is looking into the matter.”

The City of Cape Town’s Cycling Strategy aims to increase the percentage of commuter trips made by bicycles from the current 1% to 8% by 2030, Herron says.

“The research conducted by the TDA in 2016 indicates that there is great potential for increasing the uptake of utility cycling to work, schools, public services, shopping and social amenities across all income groups for trips of 15km or less,” he says.

“The biggest potential for growing utility cycling lies in local commuter trips of 10km or less and cycling as a feeder to road- and rail-based public transport services such as railway 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.”

The City’s Cycling Strategy proposes that cycle routes must be safe (the route must limit the conflict between cyclists and other road users, in particular along routes where vehicles travel at high speeds) and secure (routes must be located in well-lit and populated ­areas).

“For cycling to become the norm, we need a network of well-designed cycle routes and appropriate cycling infrastructure. 

“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,” adds Herron.

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