To cycle or not to cycle, that is the question!

In light of the start of Johannesburg cycle week there is a difference in opinion between public transport and cyclists

COMMUTERS: Cyclists want consequences to be enforced when vehicles are parked in cycling lanes.

COMMUTERS: Cyclists want consequences to be enforced when vehicles are parked in cycling lanes. Photo: Rafieka Williams

Johannesburg Cycle week starts today, but whether or not cycling in Braamfontein is a sensible option for commuters is in question.

This week will be used as a way to educate commuters about the use of cycling lanes. But taxi drivers and bus drivers, are complaining about the space that lanes take up on the roads in Braamfontein. 

“It’s disturbing because it makes the roads smaller”

Luka Sibiya (59) who has been driving buses for 25 years said, “It’s an interruption because you stand here for one hour but you won’t see a single person riding a bike.” He added, “Now we have to stop in the middle of the road and that is going to hold up traffic.”

“It’s disturbing because it makes the roads smaller,” said 33-year-old taxi driver, Sifiso Thwala. He thinks the lanes are unnecessary and that it threatens taxi drivers’ job security because people will want to cycle instead of taking taxis.

Making Johannesburg a more cycle friendly city

Cyclist Mehita Iqani of the Johannesburg Urban Cycling Association (JUCA) believes that Braamfontein is an ideal place for cycling lanes. According to Iqani the lanes provide a protective space for cyclists on the road. When asked about other commuters who don’t respect the cycling lanes, she said “they’re not interested in sharing the road … Cars that park in the lanes need to stop doing that”.

Simphiwe Ntuli of Johannesburg Road Agency said the reason for the lanes were on the basis that there are a large number of students who cannot afford public transport and don’t have their own cars.

“As the City of Johannesburg, our strategy is to educate our community with one on one talks and leaflets” said Ntuli. The next step would be to enforce the rules of the road said Ntuli, “if you park on the lane you get a nice big fine.”