Cycling clubs have applauded the eThekwini Municipality’s decision to deploy extra security guards between the Durban Bird Park and the Blue Lagoon bridge.
Patrols along the route have been beefed up, with the number of guards increased from four to eight.
This comes after cyclist Dave Douglas, 60, was stabbed on Thursday by a man who jumped into the cycle lane near the bridge’s turret staircase above the mangrove swamp.
Douglas, who is still nursing his wounds, said he was pleased that extra security measures had been put in place at the problematic area.
“It shows that the City is concerned about the welfare of cyclists,” he said.
Grant Westbrook, from the Cappuccino Cyclists Club, said the club welcomed the measure. “There have been five (criminal) incidents (in the area) this year that I’m aware of, and one of them involved the stabbing of a woman,” he said. “These attacks don’t only affect cyclists but also pedestrians in that area.”
Westbrook said the increased number of guards and extended patrol hours created a safer environment for cyclists.
The Cyclesphere Cycling Club’s Gregory Albert said it was heartening that the City acknowledged the importance of cyclists’ safety and implemented an action plan quickly.
“The cycling paths are used by many people and clubs every day. Well done to all involved in making it safer and avoiding any more incidents involving cyclists,” he said.
The senior liaison officer for the City’s security management unit, Bongiwe Zondi, said Douglas was attacked between 4.30am and 5am when there were no guards on duty.
“Since the incident the City has decided to deploy extra security. From December 1 security guards were stationed in the area but were not available for 24 hours.
“Now security guards will be stationed at the Riverside area between Durban Bird Park and Blue Lagoon beach, and also at the beach for 24 hours as an extra measure.”
Durban North ward councillor Shaun Ryley said yesterday that following a meeting between the security management unit and cycling clubs it had been decided to deploy added security at Blue Lagoon bridge.
“Initially guards were working in a 12-hour routine. However, together with the City, we have now added more security in the beach area and at the bridge in the Riverside area between Durban Bird Park and Blue Lagoon bridge for an extended 24-hour period,” he said.
Ryley urged guards to report incidents such as the attack on Douglas or any form of crime to the police.
“If people don’t report these incidents, when (crime) stats come out they paint the picture that the crime rate has decreased when in fact people are just not reporting these incidents to the police.”
Ryley applauded the City for introducing the added security measures in the area.