Tag Archives: cycling

A safer 1m passing gap

A safer 1m passing gap
After several accidents involving reckless drivers and cyclists, and in an effort to keep our cycling community safe, the Western Cape Government instituted the 2013 Safety of Cyclists regulations that outline the responsibilities of both motorists and cyclists using our roads.

The basics of the law is that cyclists must keep left (except under specific conditions) and not ride abreast (as in this photo), and cars must be darn careful and maintain a 1 meter gap at all times (as in this photo), and may cross the solid white line to abide by this law (as long as it's safe to do so).

Below is a summary of the responsibilities I mentioned:

The Regulations Require a Driver of a Motor Vehicle to:

  1. Exercise due care while passing the cyclist.
  2. Leave a distance between the motor vehicle and the cyclist of at least one meter.
  3. Maintain that distance from the cyclist until safely clear of the cyclist. However, motorists may cross a solid barrier line to pass a cyclist provided that it can be done without obstructing or endangering other persons or vehicles. If it is safe to do so, it can and is done for a period no longer than is necessary to pass the cyclist.

The Regulations Require a Cyclist to:

  1. Make the appropriate use of pedal cycle lanes where these are available.
  2. Give conspicuous driving signals as contemplated in National Regulations.
  3. Keep as close as possible to the left edge of the roadway.
  4. Obey road traffic signs and rules.
  5. Fit and use effective front and rear lights when riding in hours of darkness and when visibility is limited.
  6. Not ride on the right-hand side of a motor-vehicle proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that motor vehicle or turning right at the intersection.
  7. Not ride abreast of another cyclist proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that cyclist.
  8. Not ride while wearing a headset, headphones or any listening device other than a hearing aid or while carrying another person on the pedal cycle, unless the pedal cycle is specifically equipped to carry more than one person.

Source: Safety of Cyclists and Blue Lights Regulations Announced

Finally, then, to clear up some confusion (that I certainly had) - the law requires a minimum 1 meter gap be maintained when passing a cyclist, but the Pedal Power association promote keeping a 1.5 meter gap. The 1.5 meter gap is probably just to play it safe, in case motorists underestimate how far 1 meter actually is (and because trucks 'n trailers sometimes have pointy bits that stick out wider than the driver may realise).

So, I reckon we try to keep that 1.5 meter gap whenever possible - and let's be a little more careful with people's lives. Ok? :)

Cycling around Cape Town

I've been thinking of getting back into cycling again - but after 12 years, I can only imagine the amount of pain that I'll endure while whipping this relaxed body of mind back into form.

We live about 25km outside of the city - and I've often though how awesome it must be to live in the city center, or anywhere around Table Mountain in fact. Compared to the mountain and ocean routes of the Cape Town area, our Northern suburbs residential roads are plain boring.

If you're visiting Cape Town, consider hiring a bike - you'll see far more than you would by car, and cover far more ground than you would do walking. You could also consider doing a cycling tour - it's probably safer and you may even make a few new friends.

Cyclist cycling

Cyclist cycling
Did I ever mention that I was moderately into cycling towards the end of high school and while I was studying? While I never actually took part in any races (it's not my thing), but my cousin and I enjoyed taking rides out towards Stellenbosch or to the Big Bay and around to Melkbos. They were fun times, and I was far fitter then than what I'm now. The irony is that it would be far better for me to be fitter now than back then, and while I've been saying it for a while now - I really have to do something about whippin' myself into shape again!

This photo was taken on Wellington Road, as it leaves suburban Durbanville and enters the farming district.

The way up Signal Hill

The top of Kloof Nek Road
In this photo (map), did you notice the three cyclists coming down the road from Signal Hill? I imagine that they'd been for a morning ride up to the lookout point at the top of Signal Hill.

The ride up the hill is really very beautiful at sunrise. From the road you're able to see the bright glow ascending in the distance over the Boland Mountain Range and the low-lying mist over the city and suburbs that slowly clears as the sun heats the air. The city looks so peaceful from the hill that it's hard to imagine that there is anything but friendly happy people waking up from their slumber.

Biking and Cycling around Cape Town

Biking and Cycling around Cape Town

Many years ago I got into cycling in a small way. I never rode in any fun rides or cycle tours, and never trained with friends. I bought a racing bike and started cycling around Cape Town, up to Melkbos (along our west coast), and around to Stellenbosch (the heart of wine country). It was awesome. Then Kerry-Anne came along and there was no more time left for riding my bike. :) In fact, I haven't ridden a bike in several years.

I discovered a company called Downhill Adventures that looks really cool, perhaps more so for visitors to Cape Town than locals. I haven't tried them out (so don't take this as a recommendation, please), but it seems as though one can hire proper, hardcore, mountain bikes from them and join trips on the slopes of Table Mountain, in Tokai Forest, and plenty of other places. It's always safer to cycle in a group when out in the middle of nowhere (which is exactly what it's like in the forests of Table Mountain), so I think it's great for people visiting Cape Town to be able to join others on a trip.

We should give this a bash some time... it would be fun cycling in the forest. The only concern that I have is regarding our fitness levels... I fear it would be insanely embarrassing. :D

Matt Damon riding in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour!

Matt Damon riding in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour
As I was working through my photos from yesterday's Cape Argus Cycle Tour, I discovered that I'd quite unwittingly managed to snap a photo of Matt Damon! That's him, on the back of the tandem, just to the right of the motorbike. (His brother Kyle, an experienced athlete, was apparently occupying the front saddle of the tandem.)

Matt is here in Cape Town to film The Human Factor, a Clint Eastwood film about the 1995 Rugby World Cup. And it turns out he's a brave guy - he took part in the race despite having suffered a sprained ankle during a rugby practice session on Thursday. (He'll be playing the role of former Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar in the film, by the way.)

In case you missed yesterday's post, you can see more photos of the Cycle Tour in our 2009 Cape Argus Cycle Tour album.

Cape Argus Cycle Tour 2009

Western Province Rugby Cyclist

Given the look on this cyclist's face, you'd never guess that today's Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour was one of the most challenging (possibly THE most challenging) races ever. Winds of 60 to 90km/hour, of which 70% were apparently headwinds, made race conditions incredibly difficult, and resulted in delayed start times for most groups, and longer race times for pretty much everyone.

Well done to all those who braved the gale-force winds (which were so strong near the start that they knocked a number of cyclists off their bikes), and congratulations to 23-year-old Arran Brown, who crossed the line just before Robbie Hunter to claim his first Cape Argus title. You can see more photos of all these determined and resilient cyclists in our 2009 Cape Argus Cycle Tour album.

Look right, it must be white

Cyclists on Sir Lowry's Pass

In yesterday's post I asked a question about the direction in which I was taking the photo. Trust an engineer to work it out first - although I guess it would be fair to mention that Duncan knows this particular road pretty well. :)

So yes to all of you who agreed; from this shot (taken a little further on) you can easily deduce that yesterday's photo was indeed taken in reverse. While the reason Duncan gave was correct, it's not the reason I was probing for - read on.

South Africa has a few large roads that carry traffic in one direction only. If the line on the road (in yesterday's photo) were white then this road would be one of these roads (carrying traffic in one direction only) and I would have been taking the photos facing forwards.

If you're ever driving in South Africa and find that darkness or fog prevents you from seeing too much, take note of the solid lines on the left and right of your vehicle - left should be yellow, right should be white... if that's not the case, pull off the road really fast!

Surprisingly, this does happen - I once experienced two such incidents in a single day. Leave a message if you're interested in reading the story and I'll add it as a comment.