Cyclists Obey The Rules of The Road Please

Cyclists in South Africa are a friendly bunch, and – most of the time – feel a special affinity with other cyclists.  Even if they have completely different jobs, lifestyles and backgrounds, they have something in common- cycling.

However, there are some occasions when cyclists can’t help but feel a little bit frustrated with other riders on the roads whilst preparing for one of South Africa’s largest cycling races, the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, in  just a week’s time.

Thousands of cyclists are currently taking to the roads to train. “Most cyclists have been shouted at or abused by a driver at some point. This is never ok, regardless, ‘cyclists don’t obey the rules of the road’ is one of the most common arguments drivers use to justify their behaviour. Every time one of these drivers sees a cyclist flout the rules, it adds more wood to the furnace of their aggression,” explains Pedal Power Association CEO, Robert Vogel. “Cyclists also need to obey the rules of the road. It is a two–way street,” says Vogel.

Some useful tips for cyclists when out on the roads training and sharing the road with other riders and drivers:

Pass other cyclists on the right with an audible verbal warning. Other cyclists expect you to pass on their right hand side.

Use hand signals. Use hand signals so other road users know what your intentions are.

When you reach a red light, you should wait behind the cyclist who is already there. It seems to have become a standard practice to pass the rider and stop in front of him, even if it involves doing so in the middle of a pedestrian crossing or in the actual intersection, well ahead of the traffic light. This is an incredibly rude practice.

Don’t ride against traffic. Riding in the opposite direction on the opposite side of the road is extremely dangerous.

Don’t ride with headphones. Don’t hinder your ability to hear warnings and approaching dangers on a bike in the middle of traffic. It’s also against the law.

Don’t  jump read lights or stop signs. Why? If you want to be treated like a road user, you need to act like a road user.

Also no flitting from road to the pavement and back. Make life easy for drivers to predict what you’re going to do, and you will find it easier to stay safe.

Be predictable. Just like riding in traffic, riding in a group means you need to think about what other people expect you to do. The perfect group ride will be a seamless body of movement and this is, in part, due to the awareness of the riders. The natural extension of this is holding your line. If you have to take the hit and ride through that small pothole, you do it. Just don’t flick the bike around and weave all over the place – nobody can predict that and you’ll eventually cause a crash.

Don’t overlap wheels. This is like sitting in someone’s blind spot when driving. You know you’re there, but they might not. And if they move out slightly and hit wheels with you, one or both of you are coming down. The best places to be are behind, beside or in front of someone else, never overlapping wheels. Unless the group consists of experienced riders who know that you are riding half a wheel behind.

Ride single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends. It is very frustrating for other cyclists as well as motorists if they cannot pass a group of cyclists riding abreast endangering the lives of other cyclists.

Don’t leave your bicycle in the pathway of other cyclists if nature calls or to answer a call. It is frustrating and dangerous to other cyclists to leave your bike in the middle of the road to talk on your cell . there is also lack of control over your bike should you answer a phone call whilst cycling.

Be on the lookout for road hazards and don’t cross the centre line when cutting corners.

Don’t expect to be granted right of way in any instance. Please be careful and alert on the roads.

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