Be aware of cyclists during your commute

A cyclist and motorist demonstrate the preferred safety distance between each other on the road. PHOTO: Supplied

JULY is known as holiday time, which also means road trip time for many South Africans. Besides an influx of motorists travelling during this period, there will also be an increase in cyclists as they enter the final stages of training for the gruelling Amashova Durban Classic, a 106km race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on 22 October.

The organisers of the Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic urge motorists to take cognisance of road safety rules as they travel around the country.

Race director, Annie Batchelder, said, “Road safety is a major issue on our roads and the number of fatal incidents involving cyclists, motorists and pedestrians is unacceptably high. We are deeply committed to educating people about road safety, which is why we have funded the building of bike safety parks at schools. We also actively promote road safety through our association with organisations such as Pedal Power and its Stay Wider of the Rider campaign.”

Also read: Grant toes the line at Amashova challenge

The campaign encourages motorists and cyclists to keep a safe 1.5m distance between each other while passing. To date, two bike parks have been funded by Amashova and built in disadvantaged schools in areas surrounding the Tsogo Sun Amashova route. A third bike park will be opened in October this year. At the parks, children are taught to become safe cyclists and to understand general road rules.

In recent years, the Department of Transport and the Department of Basic Education partnered to bring to South African schools the Safer Schools and Safer Roads campaign which teaches children to abide by the rules of the road. The idea is to nurture future generations to act as ambassadors for road safety.

Tips for cyclists:
1. Familiarise yourself with all the applicable traffic laws and cycling rules.
2. Do not run stop signs or red lights or cycle on the wrong side of the road.
3. Ensure that you have enough room to handle emergencies and that you do not cycle too close to the left.
4. Before reaching an intersection, choose a lane and merge with the traffic to make your presence known.
5. Always wear a helmet and make sure you are visible with bright lights and reflective clothing.
6. Be aware of your surroundings and look out for road hazards.
7. Know your hand signals and make sure your brakes are working properly.
8. Using an iPod, headset or radio while cycling is against the law.
9. Try and cycle in a consistent and predictable fashion and don’t make hasty decisions.
10. Be polite to other road users.

Motorists:
1. Remember that you share the roads with vulnerable commuters.
2. Check your rear view and side mirrors before opening your doors to avoid injuring an approaching cyclists or pedestrian.
3. Bicycles are considered vehicles and have the same rights as motorists on the road.
4. Do not drink and drive.
5. Check your mirrors and blind spots before turning or changing lanes.
6. Be patient.
7. Do not use your phone while driving.

 

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  AUTHOR
Lloyd Mackenzie
Journalist

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