In its email newsletter today, the Pedal Power Association notes that “Several complaints have been received by the operators regarding the behaviour of cyclists on Chapman’s Peak, riding abreast and/or taking up the whole road. This has prompted discussions of banning cycling on Chappies. This cannot happen! Please ride responsibly: Keep left, and make sure the cyclists who ride around you do the same. Let’s keep Chappies open for cyclists.:

We’re wondering…

1. If we complain about driver behaviour on Chapman’s Peak, could we prompt discussions of banning motorised vehicles from Chapman’s Peak? Drivers behave badly all the time, but does this prompt debate about removing them from roads to which they have the right?

2. Is it even legal to prohibit one mode of transport (an absolutely legal mode of transport, with exactly the same rights to the road as cars drivers have) from a stretch of road? Does this being a toll road change the regulations that bicycles have the right to all public roads other than freeways?

3. Why do complaints againt individual road users hold so much weight?

4. It’s almost impossible to be held up by a cyclist on Chapman’s Peak unless you as a driver are breaking the speed limit…

5. And how would the City of Cape Town and Western Province be able to look anyone in the eye and continue to claim to be bicycle-friendly, should a crucial connecting route be closed to bicycles, despite their claims to putting people and public transport first? (OK, it’s true that another crucial connecting route, Kalk Bay Main road, is perhaps the most bicycle-hostile road in the city, and despite multi-million road upgrades no bike lane was installed, and claims to bicycle-friendliness continue… but that’s a debate you’ll find elsewhere on this blog…)

And finally, every time I ride on Chapman’s Peak, I am taken aback by the behaviour and impatience of cyclists and drivers alike – share the road is the answer, no mode has the right to dominate… But nor should people who ride have to fear that should some individuals break the law, all rights to ride will be removed. In addition to appealing for ‘good behaviour’ we therefore need to be vigilent in entrenching our right to ride. For many people, a bicycle is their only mode of transport, and losing the right to this connecting route would mean losing their jobs, and their ability to connect with friends, family and economic opportunities on the other side of the pass.



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  1. graeme McGregor says:

    As on the sea :power should give way to human propelsion as power boats give way to sail boats

  2. I am a cyclist ,and a coach, but I get frustrated watching cyclists ride in groups ( sometimes three wide ) up over chappies towards Hout Bay holding up traffic, and creating frustration amongst drivers. The legality of banning is not the issue, simple awareness is.

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