Here we go again: City concerned about how cyclists and pedestrians behave toward other road users…

With the upcoming series of public holidays and long weekends, many Capetonians will be making use of Cape Town’s roads and highways to travel, says the City of Cape Town in today’s media release – which initially reads like a call for tolerance by all road users…

That is, until we get to the usual *)(*))%: guess who’s fault it all is… The vulnerable road users, yes, those who walk and cycle. “The City of Cape Town would like to remind all road users of some of the rules of the road,” they say, then proceed to note that the way in which pedestrians and cyclists behave is of a concern… Hands up anyone who has never seen a motorist “ignoring traffic lights and jumping red robots.”

Oh, and because motorists don’t look out for cyclists, cyclists must make themselves visible. And pedestrians must hot-foot it across badly designed, human-hostile streets… Yes, we will, as we know who’ll come off worst in an ‘accident’, but how about a call to motorists to LOOK! Seems the City’s cognitive dissonance with regard to NMT is at it again…

PS – above, see a photograph of a rare occurance, a motorist disobeying a road marking and causing a danger to cyclists…


With the upcoming series of public holidays and long weekends, many Capetonians will be making use of Cape Town’s roads and highways to travel. The City of Cape Town would like to remind all road users of some of the rules of the road.

“It is disturbing to note some media reports which seem to suggest a general intolerance towards each other on our roads, and a disregard for the law,” said Chief Inspector Merle Lourens, spokesperson for Cape Town Traffic Services. “We remind road users that they all – regardless of the manner in which they travel – have a responsibility to adhere to the rules of the road. Our law enforcement officials will enforce the law equally against anyone transgressing these basic rules.”

Two areas of particular concern is how pedestrians make use of pedestrian crossings, and how cyclists behave in relation to other road users.

The flashing red man pedestrian signal is a vital part of the message that we need to convey to both pedestrians and motorists and the fact that motorists do not respect its meaning is a result of ignorance of basic traffic laws rather than the system being confusing.

The pedestrian signal system consists of three signal indications, namely the steady red man, steady green man and flashing red man.

The steady red man is well understood to mean that pedestrians should not begin to cross the road. The steady green man indicates to pedestrians that they may begin to cross the road. Pedestrians should not begin to cross after the end of the green man signal as they may not have sufficient time to complete the crossing before the start of the steady red man.

The flashing red man indicates to a pedestrian that has begun to cross on the green man that he or she should complete their crossing without delay. The length of time for which the flashing red man is displayed is based on the time that it would take the average person to cross the road.

A pedestrian who begins to cross the road on the last second of the green man will therefore have sufficient time to complete the crossing. Without the flashing red man signal, pedestrians would not be able to judge whether they can reach the opposite side of the road before the start of the steady red man. The length of the flashing red man is extended in instances where it is known that the pedestrian crossing is used by significant numbers of people, or people who walk slower than the average person, such as the elderly.

There is a misperception amongst drivers and some pedestrians that pedestrians must finish crossing the road within the green man signal. This is untrue. A person who begins to cross the road during the green man has right-of-way over cars both during the green and flashing red man signals. Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing lawfully during these periods.

“The signal system is not complicated, but is misused by those people who do not know its meaning and resort to doing what they think is correct. The City encourages all road users to familiarise themselves with the meanings of traffic signals and to display patience and courtesy towards others,” said Lourens.

Road traffic laws do not differentiate between the driver of a car, nor a cyclist. In the eyes of the law, they are equal; each with a set of rights and responsibilities. A bicycle is considered a vehicle, under South African law. Too often cyclists are observed ignoring traffic lights and “jumping” red robots. Cyclists are breaking the law and will be liable for a fine if they are observed ignoring traffic lights.

There are several ways to stay safe on the roads:
· Be visible. Unlike in many global cities – where thousands of cyclists commute and drivers are used to keeping an eye out – drivers in South Africa don’t always expect cyclists. Cyclists can help by wearing high-visibility clothing (orange, neon green, yellow or pink), flashing LED belts and trouser-straps – and by riding 1.5m in from the road edge rather than in the road gutters.
· Obey the rules of the road: South African law considers you the ‘driver’ of a vehicle, so you have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists.
· Be assertive, but polite. Show others the respect you would like to be shown.
· Pay attention at intersections and traffic circles – particularly where vehicles may be turning left in front of you.
· Be predictable. At busy intersections indicate to traffic where you intend to go.
· Ride often and keep up your urban riding skills – nervous, hesitant cyclists often endanger pedestrians and motorists.
· Ride in single file and wear a helmet – a helmet won’t prevent you from being involved in a crash, but it may prevent serious injury if you are.
· Don’t deliberately swerve your bike from side to side, and always keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
· Light up your bike: white lights/reflectors on the front; red lights/reflectors on the back.
· Be prepared: Carry water, a pump, a puncture repair kit, and identification (on your person and your bike, not only in your wallet and on your phone, as unfortunately these may be stolen if you’re in a collision).
· Check your bike for obvious mechanical problems every time you leave for a ride.

“Tolerance, awareness and mutual respect is key for road safety, especially during this busy cycling season,” said Lourens.




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