No 'Burry Gap' for Joburg cyclists

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Independent Newspapers

Hundreds of cyclists pass over the Nelson Mandela bridge in memory of the legendary Burry Willie Stander who was knocked over and killed by a taxi driver in Kwa-Zulu Natal. File photo: Paballo Thekiso

Joburg has no plans to follow the Western Cape’s example of implementing a 1.5 metre passing rule for cyclists’ safety.

Cyclists and safety groups have called for this to become law in the wake of the death of ace mountain biker Burry Stander.

On social media sites, fans of Stander have since dubbed the law they are calling for the “Burry Gap” in his honour. “The Burry Gap: the 1.5m distance motorists have to keep from cyclists in order for both to use the road safely,” said @Ernst_SA on Twitter.

“At the least, let’s get the law passed,” said Andrew McLean, the founder of Cycle Lab stores and co-host of SuperSport’s SuperCycling show. He said the 1.5m gap would prevent many collisions between cyclists and motorists.

The MMC for transport at the City of Joburg, Rehana Moosajee, said there were no plans “for now” to implement the Burry Gap on Joburg’s roads, despite the Western Cape’s plans to implement the law by mid-year. However, she said plans to ensure safer cycling would be “ramped up” this year.

SAFE CYCLING ROUTES

“It’s not like this has been a response to the Burry Stander (incident); it’s something the city has been engaged with for some time,” said Moosajee.

She said they planned to complete dedicated cycle lanes in Noordgesig; create a “cycle map” that would show safe cycling routes; and host events in which roads are closed to traffic except for cyclists and pedestrians. She would continue to meet with cycling groups to further discuss safety issues and improve the relationship between cyclists and her department.

Last year, the Western Cape government passed the Provincial Road Traffic Bill in the legislature which allowed MEC for Transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle to introduce a Burry Gap into traffic regulations. These regulations are being drafted and should be published later this month, according to Western Cape Transport and Public Works spokesman Siphesihle Dube. Once they are published, the regulations will have to go through legislative and public participation processes.

The national Department of Transport’s spokesman, Tiyani Rikhotso, failed to respond to question on whether there are plans to implement a Burry Gap nationally. -The Star


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