Govt vehicles not exempt from the law - JP Smith

2017-02-13 22:30
The diplomatic vehicle on the cycling lane in Bree Street with the unidentified diplomat next to it. (Supplied)

The diplomatic vehicle on the cycling lane in Bree Street with the unidentified diplomat next to it. (Supplied)

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Cape Town – A man claiming to be a diplomat had no right to park in a cycling lane, a Cape Town city official said on Monday.

A photograph of the unidentified man was circulated on social media on Monday after a cyclist, Jared Chaitowitz, said he confronted him. In the photograph, the man is seen standing on the pavement talking on a cellphone while a large vehicle is parked in the green cycling lane. 

“I stopped my bicycle and said to the guy, ‘Excuse me’. He responded and said, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’” Chaitowitz said. 

“I said ‘But this is a cycling lane.’ He said, ‘This is a government car.’ And I cycled away because I didn’t want to get into any conflict.” 

City of Cape Town safety and security mayoral committee member, JP Smith, said government vehicles were not exempt from the law. The fine for parking in a cycling lane is R1000.

International relations department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said it was almost impossible to know from which country the diplomat was from. 

“You have to contact the authority who issued the number plate to ask for them to look on their system for the owner,” Monyela said.  

Chaitowitz said cycling lanes in Bree Street, in the city centre, were practically unusable because people parked in them. 

“The real story here is not someone complaining about a government employee, it’s about the fact that someone parked on a bicycle lane,” he said.

Chaitowitz blamed the city for the poor implementation of cycling lanes. 

“If the bike lane was built according to international best practice, with a physical barrier separating it from the road, it would’ve been a huge improvement. Now that it's built incorrectly, no one has the political will to improve it.”

The City of Cape Town released its Draft Cycling Strategy, which aims to increase cycling in the city, for public comment in January. The strategy makes little mention of the policing of cycling lanes.

Chaitowitz welcomed the document. 

“There’s arguments for or against it. The city has to some extent at least realised that cycling is a viable transport force for the future,” Chaitowitz said. 

The city will accept public comment on the strategy until February 23.

Public comment can be submitted here: 

Read more on:    jp smith  |  cape town

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