Cyclists stage protest after hit-and-run
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Cape Town - Pedal Power Association members and other cyclists gathered outside the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in protest. A 28-year-old man is expected to appear in court for allegedly knocking down a cyclist over the weekend, and then driving off .
Last weekend, Alriza Reid from the City Cycling Club was seriously injured after a hit-and-run incident close to Llandudno. She was knocked over and crushed under the wheels of a silver BMW.
The allegedly drunk driver was arrested after he tried to run away, leaving his blood-spattered car abandoned in Hout Bay, said authorities. According to the City Cycling Club’s ride co-ordinator, Duncan Nel, Reid was part of a group of 12 riders snaking along the road, which is a popular spot for cyclists because it includes a variety of climbs and downhill sections, such as Suikerbossie.
Reid was training for the Coronation Double Century.
Outside court this morning Robin Hunt-Davis, chairman of the PPA safe cycle campaign, said cyclists, ultimately, paid the price when motorists were negligent.
“We are all taxpayers and contribute to the safe keep of the roads. Commuters and school children cycle to work.
“But I don’t let my children cycle to school because the roads are not safe. There is a disrespect of the rules of the road.”
He added that with a new law the Western Cape government passed this year, it is the responsibility of motorists to prove that they were not negligent.
“If you see the number of cyclists killed on the road, it is quite scary. It’s about the law of 1 metre passing distance.”
He added that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians needed to show respect and common courtesy.
“Motorists use the defence that cyclists ride three to four abreast. They are hiding behind it, saying that cyclists are negligent, but cyclists pay the price with their lives.”
Cyclist Lauren Cohen, a friend of Reid, said she was shocked when she heard about the incident.
“The group of cyclists there that day are so traumatised. I wasn’t there, but it has shaken me to realise it could happen to me and anytime we get on our bikes.”
She added that Reid was still in ICU.
David Bellairs, a director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, said the biggest concern was the need to foster mutual tolerance.
“This kind of incident is unacceptable. Motorists need to understand the new 1 metre rule and cyclists need to ensure that they earn the respect of motorists.
“Cyclists are very vulnerable and this time of year we see more on the road training for events like the Cape Town Cycle Tour.”
Steve Hayward, chairman of the PPA, said earlier this week that its safe cycling campaign focused on sharing the road in a safe way by having mutual respect for each other.
“The turn down to Llandudno is a dangerous part of the route, especially for descending cyclists.
“Car drivers are often unaware of the speed that some cyclists get to and can misjudge their approach when crossing the road to access the turn.
“This is the area where we would like to see signs to remind motorists and cyclists of the newly legislated 1m rule.”
He added that all road users sometimes broke the rules but simple road courtesy should prevail. “Motorists please abide by the new 1m law, it is the law. One road, many users, so let’s share it,” said Hayward.