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Swarms of cyclists have taken to the roads to train for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in a month’s time, raising the risk of cycling accidents on busy roads.
One cyclist died on Democracy Way in Milnerton on Thursday morning, under mysterious circumstances.
ER24 medics responded to a call at 7.25am, saying a cyclist had been knocked over, but upon examining the man found no evidence of an impact.
“Paramedics found the cyclist lying on the side of the road, showing no signs of life,” said ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring.
Efforts to resuscitate the man were fruitless, and he was declared dead at Somerset Hospital.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said an inquest case docket would be opened to determine the circumstances of the man’s death.
It is not known whether the deceased man was training for the Cycle Tour, but leaders in the cycling community have urged training cyclists and motorists to be more vigilant on the roads.
Dave Bellairs, the director of the Cycle Tour, said that although there is a marked increase in cyclists on the roads in the run-up to the race, there isn’t necessarily an increase in accidents.
“We see accidents all year round. We appeal to motorists and cyclists to be extremely careful and aware of each other.”
Bellairs asked motorists to pay attention to the one-metre law, and give cyclists a wide berth on the roads. He also said cyclists should behave responsibly on the roads “as a sign of respect to all road users”.
Bellairs warned about the dangers of pushing your body too far when cramming in last-minute training. “We’ve four weeks to go, so over-training at this point is not recommended. Get out there, try to get some miles under the belt, but don’t overdo it.”
Bellairs said he strongly advises entrants to make sure they are in decent physical condition before taking part in or even training for the gruelling race.
“If they have any health concerns at all they should seek professional medical advice before embarking on any serious exercise,” he said.
Pedal Power Association general manager Karin Pohl also warned against fitness efforts at the 11th hour. “Every year there’s a lot of panic training that happens. People try to pack more into the available time.”
Pohl gave these tips to cyclists toeing the line on health: cycle with at least one partner, stop if you feel dizzy, make sure somebody knows what route you’re taking, and wear some kind of identification that can speak on your behalf if you cannot.