Safer cycle lanes call as riders struggle to stay safe

A cyclist is forced to ride on the road as cars park on cycle lanes. l SUPPLIED

A cyclist is forced to ride on the road as cars park on cycle lanes. l SUPPLIED

Published Aug 29, 2022


Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is facing criticism for not adopting the best practices when it comes to the designs of bicycle lanes around the city.

The Bree Street cycle lane which was piloted in 2010 is considered to be unsafe according to world standards. The lane has no barricades to protect cyclists as a plethora of cars park on it and It’s low use by cyclists.

Cars park on the lane and cyclists run the risk of getting bumped over or hitting a car while the driver opens the door.

Last year, a father and son were knocked down at the Glencairn Expressway approach to Kommetjie Road while on their bicycles.

“The City of Cape Town has cycling infrastructure, but now needs to make sure they are connected and safe,” said Sindile Mavundla, the founder and managing director of Khaltsha Cycles and self-appointed Bicycle Mayor of Cape Town.

“To ensure the City achieves this and is not ticking boxes it needs to consult and work together with cycling communities on the development of cycling infrastructure ”

Mavundla added that the updated 2017 Cycling Strategy needs to reflect this and that a big step to bring the City up to date with international best practices is to remove Class 3 (paint) cycling lanes from its network and policy documents.

Even official vehicles park on cyclists lanes in the city. l SUPPLIED

“Class 3 is the worse form of cycling lanes as it creates a superficial perception of safety. We need to ask, will I allow my daughter to cycle there if the answer is no therefore we need to plan better?”

“Cycling is not only a climate, health or mobility argument, but an economical argument (access to opportunities). I feel the youth wants infrastructure that promotes other forms of mobility for a more liveable city.”

In recent months, the right cycling infrastructure has proven to attract more cyclists in countries like France and the Netherlands.

Roland Postma, co-ordinator for Young Urbanists South Africa said the City had a solid base of cycling and non-motorised transport (NMT) infrastructure – it now had an opportunity to improve what they have like changing Bree Street.

"This will be a big test for the City, especially with Phase 4 of the City Wide-NMT Network improvements earmarked for 2022. We do not want to see Bree Street being repeated across our city.

"As the youth, we want more options than just to drive. Cape Town can be the leading example for cycling, walking and public transportation in the African continent."

Good Party MP Brett Herron was involved in the planning of some of the lanes. He said the DA had an incoherent approach to transport policy.

“They default to car dominance or succumb to motorist pressure too readily. This can also and easily be observed in the fight councillors put up for the provision of on-site parking for all developments – thus preserving a car-dominated city and driving congestion.”

Mayco member for Urban Mobility, Rob Quintas, said Bree Street was no longer a pilot project and it formed part of the city-wide NMT network and that the initial painting of the Bree Street project was informed by the international best practices at the time.

“The Bree Street project formed an integral part of the 2010 NMT Masterplan which was in line with the 2010 Soccer World Cup NMT Planning. We have allocated funds for the rollout of NMT in this financial year as per the budget, and I have made it a priority for all new road projects/improvements, where possible.”

Weekend Argus