PEDAL POWER: Stay wider of the rider

Denise Lloyd – Join the drive for making our roads a safer place for cyclists and motor drivers alike.

Cyclists and drivers on the road are on the same side and we all want safer roads. However cyclists are more exposed and they are constantly at the mercy of motorists, especially those that insist on engaging with their cell phones while driving.

On Heritage and Braai Day on Monday 24 September the national Pedal Power Association is hosting a Stay Wider of the Rider Awareness ride in Mossel Bay. Everyone is invited and the ride starts at 08:00 at the Shell Truck Port at Voorbaai. The idea of the ride is to create awareness for cyclists on the roads in the area. Motorists are asked to give cyclists at least one metre when passing them –  that is the law in the Western Cape.

 Speed is a major contributor to the death toll on our roads. Collisions, which exceed 45km/h, give cyclists a less than 50% chance of survival. Even if a cyclist is hit at slower speeds, they face suffering severe injuries. “Always look out for cyclists on the road,” says the Pedal Power Association’s CEO, Robert Vogel,

“There is this belief that cyclists have less right to the road and should keep out of a motorist’s way. Both have equal rights on the road. We need mutual respect and tolerance among all road users,” says Vogel. “Remember that when you need to turn or change lanes, there could be a cyclist next to you. Make an extra effort to double check your blind spot and mirrors before you turn or change lanes. Motorists also need to be aware of cyclists approaching from the front, when intending to cross the path of oncoming traffic,” he added.

“Drivers should not underestimate the speed of a cyclist,” Vogel explained. “If we all obeyed the rules and showed a bit of courtesy to other road users, we would realise that our journey is not more important than the journey of any other person. We would most probably reduce speed, stop overtaking on white lines and skip red lights. Motorists hold the key to making roads safer for everyone,” he said.

 Pedal Power invites everyone to join them in the 27km awareness ride on the public holiday.  The route is from Shell onwards towards Oudtshoorn. The turnaround will be at Brandwag  church, through Hartenbos and back to Shell Voorbaai. For more information contact liz@pedalpower.org.za or zarah@pedalpower.org.za

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