16 Sep 2016 Commuting report
The PPA Commuting Sub-Committee was established with the specific purpose to focus on ‘utility cycling’ – to encourage cycling as an acknowledged and accepted means of transport, ultimately to get ‘more bums on bikes’ as we like to phrase it. Since its establishment, it has become increasingly apparent that, apart from challenges around road infrastructure, the safety of cyclists (personal safety during the commute and risk of accidents) counted amongst the prime barriers to more commuters/utility cyclists using the bicycle as their preferred means of general transport.
The Commuting portfolio therefore continued to build on its objectives set in the previous year, finding innovative ways to:
– increase awareness for commuting (for potential commuters and motorists);
– encourage riding a bicycle for any trip purpose, ie as a means of transport, not just recreational purposes;
– elevate cycling as a realistic and highly efficient and enjoyable way to move from A to B;
– support utility cycling already taking place – improving safety etc.;
– improve the relationship between cyclists/commuters and motorists; and
– encourage dialogue and initiatives regarding commuting/utility cycling.
We maintained our strong focus on the non-competitive side of cycling, aiming to get more people to use the bicycle for both work and play. We targeted rural/less privileged communities/commuters who make up a significant number of commuters overall.
In support of our objectives, we have during the past year conceptualised several initiatives and then combined them with PPA’s Safe Cycling portfolio for activation. These initiatives included the following:
BIB AND HELMET HAND-OUTS
Commuters often leave home in the dark to start the journey to work. Their routes often do not take them along well-lit roads, or dedicated cycle paths. Therefore, in general, their commuting environment is unsafe. Where a commuter has to decide between using a hard-earned salary to pay for food, or to buy more visible cycling clothing or safety accessories, food always wins.
For this reason, a large portion of our portfolio funding was allocated to purchasing reflective bibs which were handed out in conjunction with PPA’s ‘safe cycling’ campaign (read more about the various hand-outs in the ‘safe cycling’ section). In addition, PPA purchased and handed out 700 helmets and over 1000 bicycle lights to utility cyclists. We have also purchased another 1000 helmets and 3000 bicycle bells for various utility cycling initiatives in the coming months.
‘SHARE THE ROAD’ INITIATIVES
- LAMP POLE POSTERS: Following a very positive meeting with the City of Cape Town, a ‘“share the road” / “show mutual respect” campaign was approved by the City. Amongst others, the City approved that lamp-pole posters may be erected in the period immediately leading up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Five hundred posters were produced and put on lamp posts along popular Cycle Tour training routes. The City further supported this initiative through their social media accounts.
- POP-UP COFFEE STOPS: In January, we held a “pop-up coffee stop” on Chapman’s Peak. The aim of this initiative was to create an environment where motorists and cyclists could ‘pop in’ for a free coffee, creating an opportunity where they could interact in an informal surrounding and have a conversation about the respective frustrations in sharing the road, cyclist behaviour, awareness and the like in an amicable environment. We gave away some 250 coffees to cyclists and motorists, at the same time handing out ‘share the road’ stickers. Since then we have battled to obtain permission from the City of Cape Town to hold similar initiatives, but remain hopeful that we can continue with more ‘coffee stops’.
- CHOCOLATE HAND-OUTS: Since ‘coffee stops’ were on halt for a while, we switched to “chocolate hand-outs” whereby some three thousand wrapped Lindt chocolates, a ‘share the road’ message and safe cycling license disk were handed to motorists at traffic intersections, with very positive feedback from the motorists.
In a meeting with the Deputy Director of Road Safety, we formally requested that cyclists are better catered for in the K53 learner’s and driver’s test manuals. This is unfortunately not a quick process, but we are committed to continue pushing in this regard.
Included in the discussion was the possible insertion of cycle safety data into the Learner Licence presentations done by the Directorate; exploring the possibility of jointly branded pamphlets and other infographic material; the sharing of frequently asked questions for placement on the Department’s website, the exploring of links and sharing of data content; investigating the possible creation of a legal presumption placing an onus on drivers with regard to liability; and the possible sharing of research outcomes. We continue to follow up in this regard.
STATISTICS REGARDING COMMUTING AND ACCIDENTS
We have identified a need to collect more statistics related to commuters and cycling accidents. This is a priority for the next year.
FURTHER INITIATIVES AND IDEAS
We continue to explore building relationships with other role players. These include:
- We are assisting the Dutch Consulate with the forthcoming Mobility Indaba which will take place at the Kenilworth Racecourse in the first week of October.
- We are working more and more closely with the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) on several exciting initiatives, from schools cycling workshops to bicycle imports and distribution.
- PPA is involved with BEN and Rotary looking for a possible demonstration projects that considers an area as a whole where there are many commuter/utility cyclists but where the cycling facilities are either limited or non-existent and which will serve low income communities in particular.
- In September 2016, we attended a workshop in Caledon to discuss a road safety plan for the district, specifically looking at increasing the safety of utility cyclists.
- We continue to interact with the City and other authorities regarding the needs of all cyclists, including commuter/utility cyclists