In an ongoing effort to promote safety on South African roads, Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire (Bakwena) urges cyclists to keep off freeways and stop endangering their own and others’ lives.
Bakwena commercial manager, Liam Clarke, says the toll concessionaire has noticed a significant increase in the number of cyclists using its routes, most notably the sections closer to Pretoria and Rustenburg. “It is illegal and extremely dangerous for cyclists to be on the freeways, especially given the increase in the number of fatal accidents involving cyclists.”
Clarke points to challenges that cyclists face on public roads and freeways according to Arrive Alive:
- Vulnerability – if the collision speed exceeds 45km per hour, there is a less than 50% chance that the cyclist will survive the impact. Even at a low impact speeds, cyclists can be badly injured. “Given that vehicles travel at speeds of up to 120km per hour on the freeway, it becomes self-evident why cyclists should avoid these roads,” says Clarke.
- Flexibility – motorists can never be sure when or where to expect cyclists, especially in instances where some cyclists tend to ignore the road rules. “Cyclists are not expected on freeways and motorists are not looking out for them. This makes their situation highly precarious,” adds Clarke.
- Invisibility – cyclists are often difficult to see, even if they are wearing reflective clothing – this is especially true at night.
- Estrangement – cyclists are often treated as nuisances on the roads and sometimes not seen to have equal road rights.
Clarke says cyclists need to plan their journeys ahead of time so that they don’t resort to using the freeway as a option. “They should consider what routes to use and when they need to leave to get to their destinations in time. Cyclists who have smart-phones can use a GPS app to plan their routes accordingly.
“The time of day that cyclists decide to travel is also important. According to international statistics, most cycling accidents occur on weekday afternoons and the risk of cycling accidents is four to five times greater after sunset.”
Safe cycling tips
- Ask experienced cyclists in your area on which routes/roads they train and why they prefer those roads.
- Be alert to the risk that drivers in cars might be blinded by the rising or setting of the sun and might not see cyclists travelling on the side of the road.
- Watch out for surface conditions like pot- holes and debris.
- Never ride your bike through puddles as there may be hazards hidden in the water that cannot be seen.
- Avoid travelling in the dark.
- There is strength in numbers. If possible, do not travel alone and rather find a regular partner to train with. This is also important especially in the event of an emergency.
- Inform friends and family of your cycling schedule, the road you will be cycling on and when you can be expected to return.
- Carry a fully charged cellular phone with you so you can request assistance in the event of an emergency.