The Pedal Power Association (PPA) proudly launched its ‘Safe Cycling’ campaign in 2011. The campaign focused on promoting a safe passing distance of 1.5m between vehicles and cyclists.
In February 2012, the safe cycling campaign focused on increasing safety for sports cyclists. At the beginning of each year, the number of cyclists increases substantially due to the Cape Town Cycle Tour which takes place annually on the second Sunday of March. The Cycle Tour is the biggest cycle event in South Africa and one of the largest timed events in the world, and attracts thousands of visiting cyclists to Cape Town. Many of these cyclists are not regular riders and not always accustomed to cycling on the roads in and around Cape Town. This in turn poses challenges to both cyclists and motorists on our roads.
“We are in the fortunate position that the Pedal Power Association and the Rotary Club of Claremont are the beneficiaries of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust who organises, amongst others, the annual Cape Town Cycle Tour (previously called the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour). The PPA uses any profits received in this way to run the Association, and to fund cycling projects that fit in with our Constitution,” explained PPA Chairman, Steve Hayward. The PPA Safe Cycling campaign soom became one of PPA’s biggest projects.
The campaign rolled out across radio, print, social media, moving media (back-of-bus) and even bumper stickers to help spread the word.
Cycling routes throughout South Africa are busier than ever. This potentially increases the risk of incidents involving cyclists. With so many road users jostling for space on the road, the Pedal Power Association’s ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ campaign urges motorists and cyclists to share the roads safely.
The PPA spends millions on awareness campaigns to keep cyclists safe on our roads. The association’s ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ campaign which launched in 2014 has been instrumental in creating awareness amongst motorists especially when passing cyclists “Cyclists are vulnerable road users and should be given space of at least one metre on our roads.
Busier roads mean more potential for danger and conflict amongst motorists and cyclists. Both can be avoided if cyclists and motorists commit to sharing the road and being respectful of one another.
Cyclists need space on either side of them to take evasive action without veering into the path of approaching motor vehicles. In windy or wet conditions, motorists should give a cyclist even more space when passing. Potholes and loose debris pose a greater threat to cyclists on skinny wheels compared to the wider tyres of a car or bus.
If there is a hard shoulder on the road, cyclists will use it to stay out of the roadway. If there is no shoulder, a cyclist should “claim his or her space” in the lane. If a cyclist sticks to the very left of the lane, the motorist has a tendency to overlook the cyclist and try to stay in the lane in the face of oncoming traffic. The motorist, risking the life of the cyclist, claims the safety gap.
Do you know that motorists can cross a solid white when overtaking a cyclist? Space save lives, it is as simple as that. If there isn’t enough space to overtake, the motorist should slow down and wait for a safe opportunity. Losing a few seconds in travel time is nothing versus a family losing a father, a husband losing a wife or parents losing a child.
Whether we are cycling or driving, we all would like to reach our destination safely so we need to respect each other’s journeys. Cyclists need to have a presence on the road and should always wear high-visibility clothing and use bike lights at all times.