Cape Town - It might get your suit sweaty, but it’ll make rush hour easier for all Capetonians.
Today begins Bike2Work week, a campaign to encourage residents to cycle to work and help alleviate heavy traffic into the city centre.
Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities, Alan Winde, will be putting feet to pedal this morning to lead by example.
Winde planned to cycle from Durbanville in to the city centre at peak hour traffic, and invited residents to join him.
“I’d like as many people as possible to join the Bike2Work movement this week,” Winde said. “We already have riders cycling in from Athlone, Hout Bay, Newlands and Melkbosstrand.”
He planned to leave home at 6am, and suggested riders around the Cape do the same. After dodging frustrated drivers beginning their day with a crawling commute into town, Winde will cross his personal finish line outside the KFM studios in Green Point.
“I’ve been attending the Mobility Indaba this week, and we’re looking at the challenges around how people move through the region,” Winde said. “it has a direct impact on the economy, and we know that problems such as road congestion and train delays also come at great emotional cost for commuters.”
The Mobility Indaba at Kenilworth Racecourse was a free event over the weekend to encourage the family to explore alternative ways of getting around, from bicycles to skateboards.
Some Capetonians who have already converted to commuting by pedal power expressed their support on bikehub.co.za.
“I will try do the whole week on my bike. Just takes a bit of planning and luck,” one commuter said.
“(I) have been commuting from Milnerton to Newlands every weekday for the last year,” another dedicated rider wrote.
“Not sure if it’s because it’s not quite summer yet or because I’m more often than not running late, but if I see one person per week commuting in same direction as me (between Woodstock and southern suburbs) it’s a lot. And there’s not even that many people commuting in the other direction (towards town).
“I always wonder what’s stopping people from commuting by bike.”
Target: eight percent
The city’s transport authority, Transport for Cape Town, announced last week it would be releasing a draft cycling strategy within the next two months.
At present, one percent of commuter trips into the city are made on bicycles. The city aims to increase that to eight percent by 2032.
Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said while the city had done extensive upgrades to make Cape Town cyclist-friendly, it hadn’t been enough to change the way people travelled to work.
“\We have not succeeded as yet in convincing more residents to accept and use cycling as a legitimate mode of transport,” Herron said last week.
“Although some of these lanes are popular for recreational cycling, we still have not seen the growth in commuter cycling we are aiming for.”
The Bike2Work campaign has been launched in collaboration with the Stellenbosch Municipality, which is partnered with Eikestad Nuus and the Pedal Power Association.