Cape Town - The Province has laws to protect cyclists, but enforcing them seems to be the big problem.
That is according to the Pedal Power Association (PPA), after a deaf cyclist was dragged 30 metres by a taxi. He miraculously survived the ordeal.
PPA chairperson Rens Rezelman, said 27 cyclists were not so lucky last year.
The cyclist’s mother Anne Abrahams said her son Ashley Abrahams, who has been a cyclist for most of his life, was going home from work when the accident happened in Wetton Road.
“As he proceeded down Wetton Road in the cycle lane close to the entrance of Youngsfield, a taxi hit him from behind. The impact took him off the bike and he catapulted up, landing on the front of the vehicle. He then fell down and landed under the taxi, but the driver continued driving, failing to stop after the impact."
She said her son had the presence of mind to hold on to something under the taxi and was dragged along the road for 30 metres.
“Had an eyewitness, who was driving behind the taxi, not been able to overtake and force the driver to stop, the result would most definitely have been fatal. The taxi driver had to reverse the taxi as Ashley was lying under the taxi,” she said.
Rezelman said that for many years the PPA has lobbied and campaigned for a safer cycling environment.
In a progressive move, the Western Cape government in 2013 passed a provincial law that forced motorists to give cyclists a berth of at least one meter passing space.
“This move was praised and welcomed by the cycling community - but we are fast becoming disillusioned with the inability of the authorities to implement this law."
“In every crash involving a motorist, where a cyclist is killed or injured, the one meter passing law has been broken.
“Based on geographical elements preventing wider road expansion, Cape Town has some narrow roads and efforts to increase the number of cycling paths are also applauded. Our grievance lies with the seeming inability of the authorities to successfully prosecute the drivers of vehicles who crash into and either maim or kill cyclists on our roads."
“Despite witnesses being present and the obvious breaking of various traffic laws in each incident, not one motorist has been successfully put behind bars for destroying or taking another life. In a province promoting cycling as an economic and tourism accelerator, this gross injustice unravels all the good work being done to promote it."
“The PPA asks that the authorities responsible for the successful prosecution of negligent drivers get their act together and make our roads safer for cyclists."
“SAPS, the Metro Police and the courts are urged to make sure the one meter law is firstly understood by all parties involved in the investigation of these cases; that correct procedures are followed; that all the facts are gathered with due process and that negligent motorists are prosecuted accordingly.”
Thabisho Molelekwa spokesperson for SA National Taxi Council, said he was not aware of the incident.
“But we regret that an incident like this happened."
“The taxi driver obviously did not observe the cyclist."
“It is wrong to run down a cyclist,” he said.