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PPA demands enforcement of ‘one metre law’ to keep cyclists alive on our roads

PPA demands enforcement of ‘one metre law’ to keep cyclists alive on our roads

The Pedal Power Association is saddened by the death of yet another cyclist, Roy Neil Smith, aged 70, who died while cycling along Victoria Road in Camps Bay, on Tuesday afternoon. “In 2013, the Western Cape Government passed a law stating that drivers must pass cyclists with a minimum of one metre and it is time that drivers adhere to the law or be prosecuted,” says Steve Hayward, chairman of the organisation. “Drastic action needs to be taken by government to enforce this law to keep cyclists alive,” says Hayward.

The fatal accident appears to have been caused by bus forcing the cyclist into the pavement where he fell and was subsequently crushed by a construction truck. Several PPA members have reported via social media channels of being narrowly missed by  busses on this particular stretch of road where road works are currently taking place.

“There is no road shoulder, yet the bus drivers seem to just plough through at full speed without even the slightest deviation to give cyclists some room,” one comment reads.

“The time has come for bus services – and indeed all companies that use large vehicles – to educate their drivers about the vulnerability of cyclists, pointing out that they are breaking the law in the Western Cape by not passing at (at least) 1 metre,” explains Hayward.

In memory of the deceased and in protest of the unnecessary deaths of cyclists on our roads, the PPA will be placing a ‘Ghost Bike’ at the spot where the fatal accident occurred during the PPA Safe Cycling ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ Awareness Ride on Saturday 28 February.

The PPA today heard of another incident on the notorious Clovelly/Kalk Bay Main Road where it seems a commuter on his way to work was fatally injured.

The new law in the Western Cape is quite clear that a driver of a motor vehicle who passes a cyclist on a public road must—

(a) exercise due care while passing the cyclist;

(b) leave a distance between the motor vehicle and the cyclist of at least one metre;

c) maintain that distance from the cyclist until safely clear of the cyclist.

Statistics show that almost all cycling fatalities on our roads are caused by cyclists being hit by a motor vehicle from behind or when a vehicle underestimates the speed of a cyclist and turns in front of the cyclist. Cyclists have almost no protection when they are involved in an accident, so by giving them adequate space on the roads, motorists can avoid accidents that can cost precious lives. “There are thousands of cycling commuters using our roads as a means of getting to work every day, the road is for everyone’s use, so let’s show tolerance and respect for one another,” says Hayward. The number of cyclists and motorists on our roads are increasing each year. As of 2013, accidents involving motor vehicles and cyclists have increased by over 80% and statistics show that 40% of all road fatalities are vulnerable road users, including cyclists.

“The PPA has made significant progress in promoting safe cycling but every death or incident reminds us it’s still not enough. Please support our ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ campaign and let’s raise awareness to keep cyclists safe on our roads,” Hayward concluded.

For more information, contact liz@pedalpower.org.za