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'On your bike', Cape Town tells commuters

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Cape Town - The city council wants to see at least eight percent of the city’s workforce going to work on bicycles by 2032.

With this in mind, the city’s transport authority, Transport for Cape Town, will be releasing a draft cycling strategy within the next two months.

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With 450km of cycle lanes and more on the way, Trasnport for Cape Town wants tourists and locals to use bicycles as a more frequent mode of transport. Business opportunities, alleviating congestion and limiting pollution are the main drivers of the draft cycling strategy to be rolled out in the next few months. Picture: David Ritchie / INLSA

It will propose alternative approaches for cultivating a cycling culture in Cape Town and also make a business case for how a cycling culture can contribute to the local economy through opportunities such as a bicycle manufacturing plant and a bike-share system.

Currently, one percent of commuter trips in the city are made by bike.

Turning cycling into a safe, viable and popular mode of transport, as opposed to it being a largely recreational activity, will be one of the key points for discussion at a five-day Mobility Indaba, which starts in the city on Thursday.The indaba coincides with transport month and is hosted by the Dutch consulate, a nation known for its cycling culture.

The gathering will bring together thought leaders in business and government, activists and non-motorised transport stakeholders to collaborate with Dutch experts in drafting a sustainable mobility plan for the city.

Mayoral Committee member for transport Brett Herron said he was confident the city would gain useful insights from the Dutch who are world leaders in creating sustainable cities within a geographically-confined environment.

“Although the City of Cape Town has committed substantial resources over the past decade or so to create a cycling-friendly city, we have not succeeded as yet in convincing more residents to accept and use cycling as a legitimate mode of transport,” he said.

Encouraging non-motorised transport

The city’s cycle network comprises 450km of cycle lanes and lanes are being installed where new roads are being constructed or refurbished.

“Although some of these lanes are popular for recreational cycling in particular, “ Herron said, “we still have not seen the growth in commuter cycling we are aiming for.”

The first two days of discussions at the indaba will be dedicated to rethinking the ways people move around the city and how the city can encourage non-motorised transport over private vehicles for travelling to work and school.

“One of the biggest challenges we are currently facing is traffic congestion.” Herron explained. “Some expect the city to simply keep on providing new road infrastructure. However, new roads alone will not solve this challenge.

“We need our residents to also do their part and to start changing the way they travel.

“We need residents to use bicycles for shorter trips and we need our motorists to accept cycling as a legitimate mode of transport.”

Herron said the city wanted to encourage tourists to explore the city on bicycles and that traffic congestion could also be alleviated if cycling becomes an accepted form of transport.

Cape Argus

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