Reply to Mr Pretorius on behalf of our SA cycling family

15 May 2017

Dear Mr. Pretorius Obo our SA cycling Family

Your letter is noted, appreciated and echoes the sentiments of the National Body Cycling South Africa exactly. Rather unfortunately, this is definitely not an isolated issue, with all provinces seeing and suffering the same problems.

Although it does not change the fact that cyclist have been hurt, will be hurt and are even targeted, most of the provinces and Cycling South Africa do have a very good rapport with almost all newspapers as many reporters, editors and their families are cyclists. To this end we do see regular cycling features to some extent or another. This noted, it is difficult to quantify to what extent this makes a positive effect, but no doubt that it does promote cycling awareness in general, to both cyclists and motorists. This is one of the avenues we have always condoned and pushed.

The statistics from the AA you reflect are correct, the combined “soft target” road users (This includes cyclists) have unfortunately ALWAYS remained the highest number of serious and fatal injury crash statistics year on year. This is to some extent a societal issue, with the perceived importance of the Automobile historically and even to date being given absolute priority in aspects of infrastructure design. It has always been our target to try and get designers, engineers, developers, municipalities to included cycling lanes and specific areas; this is usually impossible due to what is always referred to as “monetary constraints”.

Interestingly, in the academic studies and all reference manuals of designers (especially civil engineers who are usually responsible from most road and general infrastructure), consultation with all role players (Cycling South Africa and provincial bodies are rarely contacted for advice and input at all) is part of the design requirement in either the start-up design or further process, however this is usually never the case. Even where undertaken, such “extra” infrastructure is usually the first items to be “cut out” due to the limited budget.

Given a range of difficulties in the data collection and analysis by the Provincial and National Department Of Transport, along with traffic crash cases not being seen as an important factor (Amazingly as this is one of the biggest costs {Millions in loss} to the national fiscus!) by the relevant parties, monitoring the actual finer details of exactly how big the problem is and related factors, is extremely difficult.

These factors noted, Cycling South Africa, like all sporting codes is severely limited in the ability to be massively proactive, primarily due to the same issue of finances. Nonetheless efforts are always made to promote safety through on-going online articles, on-going discussions with race owners and organisers, and where possible coordinated training through lectures with clubs.

Cycling South Africa also acknowledges and massively appreciates the on-going work and effort by individuals, clubs, provinces, associations and all parties in any respect of road safety and rider safety.

Yours sincerely,

Craig Proctor-Parker
Chair Events and Safety Commission