23 Aug 2011 May you cycle on a national road?
Some of our members recently asked whether cyclists may ride on national roads, and what the story is with legislation around bicycle racks. Here’s the deal:
Cyclists may ride on national roads, but not on freeways. National roads are simply roads with a N number. Sometimes a road is a national road, but not a freeway and sometimes a road is a freeway, but not a national road (like the M1 running through Johannesburg.)
Special provisions relating to freeways
Reg 323.(1) No person shall operate on a freeway—
(a) a vehicle drawn by an animal;
(b) a pedal cycle;
(c) a motor cycle having an engine with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimetres or which is propelled by electrical power or which is a vehicle as contemplated in paragraph (b) of the definition of motor vehicle in the Act;
(d) a motor tricycle or motor quadrucycle;
(e) a vehicle with a mass not exceeding 230 kilograms and specially designed, constructed or adapted for the use of a person suffering from a physical defect or disability; or
(f) a tractor.
Refer to the full regulation for more information
What about bicycle racks? Why do cyclists get fined in this regard?
You may not obscure your vehicle’s number plate, so if you carry your bicycle(s) in a carrier rack behind the car, make sure that the vehicle’s number plate is still legible. If needs be, firmly attach a copy of your vehicle’s number plate on the outside-most bicycle. Make sure that the number plate is the correct one for the vehicle being used – unless it is a separate trailer, it must be the same as your vehicle.
What do you do with hired vehicles? Either find out beforehand what the number plate of the vehicle is, or rather use a bicycle carrier rack that fits on top of the roof of the vehicle.
It became law in 2004 that you must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Apart from this being law, it is just good common sense to always wear a helmet – few cyclists plan a fall and you never know when a dog / car / rock / tree etc is going to jump out in front of you, causing you to fall.