In anticipation of another beautiful South African spring and summer, many South Africans are looking forward to enjoying the warmer weather outdoors, including cyclists who remain a vulnerable group among road users.
The Automobile Association (AA) said motorists and cyclists need to ensure safety by adhering to the rules of the road, focusing on the road and traffic, and by acknowledging that each has a right enjoy the road.
Cyclists often compete for limited road space with other road users, which can sometimes lead to aggressive behaviour resulting in confrontations.
The AA has urged all road users to keep calm on the road, and to respect others. It said motorists could ensure their and cyclists’ safety by applying the following tips:
- Yield to cyclists, especially at intersections and circles
- Check your blind spots and ensure the way is clear before changing lanes or turning
- Don’t drive, stop or park in bicycle lanes (where they are available)
- Be patient and only overtake when it is safe to do soGive cyclists more than enough room when overtaking
Cyclists, too, have a responsibility to ensure their safety. The AA said cyclists should:
- Ensure that your bicycle is safe and roadworthy, especially if it hasn’t been used over winterAlways obey traffic laws
- Keep left and keep at least one metre clear of pavements and parked cars
- Ride with the traffic, not against it
- Make sure that you and your bicycle are as visible as possible when on the road (wear reflective clothing)Always wear a protective helmet with the chin straps properly fastened
- Ride in single file and use clear hand signals when turning or changing lanes
- Use lights when riding in low light or at night
- Be courteous to other road users and avoid confrontation
“Cyclists should also avoid transporting passengers on their bikes as this can obstruct their view. As with any other mode of transport, cyclists should also ensure their bikes are in good condition including the brakes and tyres, and that their bikes are suited for the rider’s weight and height,” the AA said.
It also noted that cyclists must adhere to regulations that prohibit them from riding on freeways, and be aware that it is illegal for cyclists to hold onto other vehicles while they are in motion.