Motorcyclists are revved-up over a City traffic by-law amendment they say will outlaw lane sharing with cars or riding between cars (lane-splitting) Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA) Archives.
Cape Town - Motorcyclists are revved-up over a City traffic by-law amendment they say will outlaw lane sharing with cars or riding between cars (lane-splitting).

Bikers have accused the City of trying to ban them from riding between motor vehicles and making motorcycles behave like cars.

Bike dealership Bike Bros said there many changes were proposed, but the one of most concern to them is Section 49 (6) (a) of the Draft Traffic By-law that states that lane sharing by a motorcycle and another vehicle will no longer be permissible.

“We believe that this section of the proposal is extremely ill-advised. Bear in mind that Cape Town is the most heavily congested city in the country.

"Making motorcycles ride like a car in congested traffic situations makes no sense at all - it will just add to the problem.”

The amended by-law states: “People, other than authorised officials in the performance of their duties, driving (sic) motorcycles on a public road, shall drive in single file except in the course of overtaking another motorcycle, and two or more persons driving motorcycles shall not overtake another vehicle at the same time: Provided that where a public road is divided into traffic lanes, each such lane shall, for the purposes of this paragraph, be regarded as a public road.”

According to Bike Bros, this would be the death knell for many motorcycle dealers. “If the dealers start disappearing, what will happen to the already stressed motorcycle market? Motorcycles will end up as no more than toys for the wealthy few.”

Vice-chairperson of Nomads Motorcycle Club Kevin Farrow said: “It is not possible for motorcyclists to ride behind a vehicle. We do plan on objecting to this.”

Another Biker Club, Gifted Knight, also raised concerns.

Club president Sidney Petersen said: “It will be more traffic on the road as motorcycles were never really part of traffic congestion. It will mean we have to travel by car as our motorcycles are not able to ride at 20km/h . They'll overheat and break down. The proposal is definitely ill-advised.”

Petersen also raised concerns about the safety of motorcyclists.

“It could be dangerous because bikers get rear-ended very easily.”

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith has dismissed the bikers' claims. “Whoever is suggesting that the new traffic by-law is attempting to ban motorcycles from riding between motor vehicles has not read it and is creating a false panic.

“The section clearly shows that the provision in the by-law does not attempt to ban motorcycles from 'lane-splitting'. The provision in the by-law is an exact duplicate of what the national legislation says and the national legislation does not ban motorcycles from moving between vehicles when traffic is slow moving.

"There is therefore no reason to submit objections. Anybody wanting to object is free to undertake the effort, but their objection would not be speaking to an actual provision in the by-law. This has been confirmed with the officials who drafted the by-law.”


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Cape Argus