People's Post

Cyclists ban ‘off the table’ for now

Cyclists and those on e-bikes and scooters may continue using the Sea Point promenade. PHOTO: kaylynne bantom
Cyclists and those on e-bikes and scooters may continue using the Sea Point promenade. PHOTO: kaylynne bantom

Bicycle rental companies and cyclists alike have welcomed the outcome of the preliminary assessment which states that the proposal to ban cyclists from the Sea Point promenade is off the table.

Last week, the City of Cape Town concluded a preliminary assessment of the comments received on the proposal about the recreational use of the Sea Point Promenade.

Residents and interested and affected parties had the opportunity to comment on the City’s proposals from Thursday 10 March to Sunday 10 April.

A total of 1 953 comments were received during this time, with the majority indicating that bicycles should be allowed along this popular recreational space.

Rob Quintas, Mayco member for urban mobility, says although the majority of the respondents support cycling on the promenade, many have raised concerns about pedestrian safety and the potential danger and risk posed by cyclists.

“Given the preliminary outcome, I want to confirm the proposal to ban cyclists from the promenade is off the table. That said, the City will, in coming months, investigate interventions that will improve the safety of all of those using the promenade.”

He says residents’ comments and proposals are currently being assessed.

The outcome of the public participation process, including proposals from the public, and recommendations on the way forward, will be included in a report.

“The proposals will be included in a report which is to serve before the portfolio committee on urban mobility and the Subcouncil. Until such time, the status quo remains for all users along the promenade, including those on electric devices.”

Quintas says it is anticipated that the report will be concluded by mid-year where after it will serve before the portfolio committee on urban mobility and Subcouncil 16 for consideration.

Jared Chaipowitz, co-owner of Up Cycles, a bicycle rental company in Sea Point, says they are relieved by the results of the public participation process, and they are grateful to the public who voted against the proposal.

“We have lost a lot of business since this whole process happened. We were afraid for what it would mean for our business if bikes were banned from a large part of the promenade.”

Chaipowitz says he hopes this will be the start of a wider conversation about how the City uses non-motorised transport.

“We are hoping that the City decides to take a proactive view to non-motorised transport not only in Sea Point promenade, but everywhere in Cape Town. We hope this will spur the City on towards thinking about bicycle infrastructure especially in areas where there are poor people who need an alternative affordable way to get around.”

Chaipowitz says there are more affordable ways to make the promenade safer without a ban.

“They can put up some kind of instructional signage to advise people where they need to slow down or where they maybe need to get off and walk a few metres. The second thing they can do is run some kind of education campaign on the correct way for people to share the public space.”

Lisa Williams, co-owner of Electrek, an electric bicycles company, says: “The aim for all of us is that Sea Point remains a happy and safe environment for all ages where no one feels vulnerable or at risk. We await the report and recommendations and hope the council continues to liaise with us and other stakeholders (residents, public, private businesses) to realistically move any recommendations forward. In the interim whilst awaiting the report, we would suggest to the council simple, clear signage as to the ‘rules’ of the promenade.”

Quintas thanked everyone who participated and commented on the proposal.

“The Sea Point Promenade is one of Cape Town’s most iconic recreational spaces, thus, the vigorous engagements and number of comments came as no surprise. We welcome the interest in this topic and I also want to thank the City officials for their efforts in facilitating an inclusive public participation process.”

Quintas urges Capetonians to participate in public participation processes.

“In my view this public participation process was very successful in that it demonstrates that the City is eager and willing to test proposals with our residents, and that we listen to comments and feedback. It is very important that residents participate and comment on ideas and proposals that have an impact on their lives and living experiences.”

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