Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Break the cycle of cycling abuse with greater tolerance

By Letter Time of article published Nov 22, 2017

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Chris Grinton’s letter (November 20) regarding cycling in single file refers.

Cyclists are like any other part of society – there are good, law-abiding cyclists, and there are are those who aren’t considerate towards anybody else. 

So the only point of correction I have is that the letter is addressed to “all” cyclists – which is unfair, as there are more law-abiding and considerate cyclists than those who are not (in my experience, anyway). 

I can’t apologise for the poor behaviour you witnessed on Friday as I was not in that group. I would have felt as frustrated as you, as I too am a motorist as well as a cyclist. 

To stereotype all cyclists as law-
breaking would be unfair to those who are considerate and realise that a car will win the physical battle 10 times out of 10. 

I also can’t apologise for those cyclists who commented that you should relax when you are on your way to work. That in itself would make me mad. 

Here you are on your way to go and sit down behind a desk, and here these guys are busy enjoying the world and expecting everyone to beat to their drum. That is certainly annoying in itself.

The Pedal Power Association (PPA) has over 19 000 members and we continually promote safe cycling. The purpose of our safe cycling campaign is to raise awareness for both cyclists and motorists. 

We have limited road space and it's in everybody’s interest to be tolerant. And sadly that’s what we lack in this country across so many levels: tolerance for each other. 

I have never witnessed such levels of aggression between motorists and cyclists as in South Africa. Maybe it's because over 27 cyclists were killed by motorists on Western Cape roads alone in 2017. Sometimes a default response is aggression when feeling threatened. 

Certainly anyone who has been to Europe, the US or Australia will tell you that there appears to be more mutual respect between these two road-user groups. 

But in South Africa we seem hell bent on shaking a fist and yelling at someone – whether you’re a cyclist or motorist. Perhaps that is an unfortunate snapshot of our society as a whole: We’re impatient and angry. I know how many bad drivers have nearly taken me out on the road when I am cycling. But
I recognise that it's not all motorists who behave like that. 

Be that as it may, if you do come across some wayward cyclists who hog the road and don’t obey simple (and safe) traffic regulations, please do get as much detail as possible. Perhaps you could stop and take a photo. 

Cycling kits are often like a car's number plate in that they can be quite distinctive to certain cycling groups. 

Send them in to PPA and we will post them on our social media pages. But we can’t stop cyclists from breaking the law. 

That’s up to the values and morals of the person on the bike. Just like in any other segment of our society. 

Rens Rezelman

Chairperson: Pedal Power Association

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