The Pedal Power Association (PPA) organised a memorial ride on the 6th of May 2017 in commemoration of all the cyclists that were killed on our roads in recent month.
“The law has to protect cyclists,” says PPA CEO, Robert Vogel. Hit-and-run incidents have become a common phenomenon in South Africa with few, if any, of the drivers being prosecuted, fined or jailed. In January 2017, the Pedal Power Association was shocked to hear about the tragic deaths of Daleen Boonzaaier and Greg Basson who both died in hit and run crashes in the Western Cape.
“We are organising a memorial ride in Cape Town on Saturday 06 May in honour of cyclists killed and injured in crashes. We would also like to express our dissatisfaction with the current situation,” Vogel says. All cyclists in and around Cape Town are invited to join the memorial ride.
In 2013, a law was promulgated in the Western Cape which makes it compulsory for drivers to pass cyclists with a berth of at least 1m. “Families and friends of those who have been affected by hit and run crashes agree that there is a lack of interest on the side of the authorities to prosecute and proceed with these cases in court. Since the inception of the ‘one metre law’ in 2013, not a single driver has been prosecuted, which means that the law is not being policed,” explains Vogel.
“This memorial ride is our way of expressing our immense frustration with the current situation,” says Vogel.
“The safety of cyclists on our roads is of utmost importance. Since 2011, we have invested Millions in various safe cycling campaigns to secure safer roads and awareness for cyclists, and to advocate mutual tolerance and respect amongst road users,” says Vogel.
The memorial ride will start at 08h00 from the Cape Town Stadium P3 Parking Area. The ride will follow the various cycle paths along Somerset Road to Adderley Street and Government Avenue, where a letter stating PPA’s grievances will be delivered to representatives of the MEC of Transport, City of Cape Town and the SAPS. “We would, however, like to urge everyone attending the ride to write your own letter of grievance and bring it along to hand over,” Vogel says. “If you cannot attend the ride, ask a friend to bring your letter along. It’s time that the authorities hear from all of us.”
There will be marshals to assist during the ride but no road closures and all cyclists participating in the memorial ride are expected to obey all traffic rules and wear helmets. Please wear your ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ cycling jersey, should you have one.
Part of the cycling day, was set aside to hand a letter of concerns to the Minister of Transport. Mr. Kenny Africa, Provincial Traffic Chief in the Western Cape, accepted the letters of concern on behalf of the minister (who could not make it), and urged both motorists and cyclists to use the roads with respect for each other.
He also asked cyclist to report any motorist who does not obey the 1 meter rule to him directly. Africa further undertook to have a meeting with all the traffic officers and ensure they are aware of the new regulations and the concerns of the PPA.