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PPA Stay Wider of the Rider celebrates World Bike Day asking all road users to share the road

PPA Stay Wider of the Rider celebrates World Bike Day asking all road users to share the road

Friday 3 June

The Pedal Power Association will celebrate World Bicycle Day in Velddrif, where we are hosting a safe cycling awareness ride to share the uniqueness, versatility and longevity of the bicycle as a simple, sustainable, economical and reliable mode of transportation and a means of staying healthy. We will be joined by the Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, as well as the mayor of the Bergriver Municipality, Ray Van Rooy. Feel free to join us for the awareness ride which starts at 8h00 from the Noordhoek Public Library in Velddrif. It is a short 12 km ride followed by coffee afterwards at the Riviera Hotel. Everyone is welcome to join.

With so many road users jostling for space on the road, the Pedal Power Association’s Stay Wider of the Rider safe cycling campaign has become instrumental in creating national awareness to share the roads throughout South Africa. Busier roads mean more potential for danger and conflict amongst motorists and cyclists.” There has to be mutual respect on the road towards each other and both motorists and cyclists have to adhere to all rules of the road at all times,” explains Neil Robinson, CEO of the Pedal Power Association.

“It is our mission to raise awareness of cycling’s role as a key and sustainable mode of transport and to make it safe for everyone to cycle,” explains Robinson. Cycling is one of the most affordable means of transport and great for exercising. It is becoming more and more popular as a means of transport due to the ever-increasing fuel price in South Africa. Emphasising that ‘cycling is part of the solution’ as a mode of transport in South Africa, the campaign aims to remind drivers and cyclists to take preventative steps to avoid crashes on our roads. “The road is a shared space where all road users have rights and responsibilities,” Robinson explains. 

Let’s be reminded that vehicles are heavy pieces of machinery, therefore cyclists (and pedestrians) are extremely vulnerable on our roads. Motorists can possibly avoid crashes with cyclists, by following some simple and logical (but very important guidelines) – we always believe that prevention is better than cure. : 

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for cyclists.
  • Reduce speed if you see cyclists ahead
  • When passing a cyclist (s), please give them at least a one-metre berth, but preferably as much room as possible. Many times, cyclists cannot keep too far left as it becomes dangerous and they may need to swerve to avoid hazards in the road.  Some parts of our roads as we know are in very poor condition. 
  • If you are towing a trailer or caravan remember to give extra room when passing a cyclist and don’t cut in too early.
  • Don’t drive too closely behind a cyclist – you may not be able to stop in time if they come off their bike suddenly or do something abruptly. If the road is narrow and you want to pass, rather slow down and wait until there is enough room.
  • Be particularly vigilant if you see there are children riding bikes – they may do something unexpected.
  • When making a left turn, remember that there could be a cyclist coming up behind you who is proceeding straight. Double check that there are no cyclists before making the turn.
  • If you are turning right and there is a cyclist approaching you in the opposite lane do not underestimate their speed. A cyclist can ride at up to 40km per hour, so rather pause a moment and let the cyclist through safely.
  • Avoid “dooring” a cyclist – check behind you before opening your door to exit your car. Also, remind your children to do the same.
  • Do not park or stop in cycle lanes, it puts cyclists in even more danger when they move around your vehicle.
  • Drive slowly in restricted or low visibility conditions – remember that a cyclist could be around the next corner, so in residential areas, on rural roads or those with limited sight distance or low visibility slow down when you are not sure what is on the other side.

“The PPA is extremely concerned about the high percentage of hit and run crashes caused by intoxicated drivers on the roads in the early hours of the morning, so we appeal to cyclists to be vigilant, especially when out cycling early mornings and even more so when approaching areas which have been identified as crash hot spots throughout South Africa,” says Robinson.

Cyclists also have a responsibility to safeguard themselves on the road and at all times to follow the rules of the road. The following are some obvious but nevertheless important safe cycling tips:

  • Be visible, so please wear bright clothes so that drivers can see you – anything neon is great during the daytime. It’s best to avoid biking before sunrise and after sunset, but if you do go for a ride in the dark, be sure to wear reflective gear and use your bike lights. When turning, be sure to signal to drivers and make eye contact when possible. 
  • Always cycle in a straight, predictable line so that you don’t take any drivers by surprise. The same applies to riding in a group. Always ride single-file, never abreast of one another. Even if there seems to be no or  minimum traffic on the road, things can change very quickly
  • Before you head out, check your tyre pressure, lights and brakes to make sure everything is in order. This way there is less of a chance of some sort of malfunction that could jeopardize your safety.
  • Ride in groups if possible as safety and security remain a huge concern: More and more cases of muggings and bike jacking are reported to the PPA daily. Try to slot in with a local WhatsApp group for your own safety.
  • Be extra vigilant when riding in the early hours of the morning as data shows that most fatal crashes happen between 4am and 7am when drivers head home from a night out.
  • Always wear an ID bracelet when you are out cycling. Most of these have an emergency number to call should you need medical attention. It also makes it easier to contact your next of kin should you be out riding alone.
  • Do not use your cellphone while riding, stop to take a call or make a call in an area safe to do so.
  • Report crashes and muggings to the SAPS and the PPA Hotline WhatsApp no 081 043 9890.
  • Always stay aware of your surroundings, riding with earphones is illegal and detracts from you being aware of what is happening around you.

 “Cyclists, be sure to keep yourself safe on our roads, be the best cyclist you can possibly be; every time you head out, you’re an ambassador for all cyclists on the road. The same goes for motorists. Remember to give a cyclist a wide berth of at least 1 metre when passing. If in doubt, don’t pass the cyclist and wait for an opportunity to pass safely. Remember space, mutual respect, courteous behaviour and time save lives, “ Robinson concludes.