Mass ride in protest against tolling

Published Jul 28, 2013


It would seem that Bikers Against E-Tolls had hit a nerve as several hundred riders turned out in miserable Cape winter weather for what the City of Cape Town has said was the first motorcycle protest ride for which it had granted a permit.

Tolls, whether manually or electronically extracted, have always been something of a sore point for bikers, as the vast majority of toll plazas across South Africa charge the same for a motorcycle as for a heavily-laden minibus taxi pulling a trailer.

But even the riders were themselves were taken aback at the depth of support for the protest ride, convened by Bikers Against e-Tolls under the auspices of the Motorcyclists Association of the Western Cape, as two (and three) wheelers of all shapes and sizes, from neat little scooters to racy-looking superbikes and imposing adventure tourers, rolled into the gathering point on the normally quiet Keizergracht in District 6.


Their riders ranged from teenagers to pensioners, mainstream club stalwarts to motorcycle riding instructors - some from as far away as Robertson, anxious to make the point that the proposed tolling of major access routes to the Cape Metropole will hit farm workers in the Boland as hard as it will impact lower-income city dwellers.

The ride was escorted by police and traffic services, with mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron representing the City. MAWC spokesman Cedric Newton had nothing but praise for their marshalling, as SAPS and Traffic Services teamed up to close intersections and on-ramps along the route, ensuring the ride ran smoothly along the N2, the R300 and back along the N1 to the start point in District 6.

Nevertheless, it was the weather gods who had the last laugh, in typical Cape of Storms fashion. The rain held off for most of the ride but, just as the bikers were parking their machines back at the Keizergracht and taking off their helmets, the heavens opened, democratically drenching all the riders and marshals alike.

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