Mass ride to promote safety

Safe Cycling PE’s Leon Claasen and his wife, Christine, prepare for the ride tomorrow
Picture: Werner Hills

PE cyclists in bid to raise awareness of dangers and have concerns addressed

A group of Port Elizabeth cyclists hope to set an example for fellow riders this weekend when they take to the streets to raise awareness about cyclist safety.

Safe Cycle PE, with the support of national safety organisation Pedal Power Association (PPA), will embark on a 26km mass ride through Walmer and surrounds tomorrow.

It is to draw attention to the dangers cyclists face and to hand over a list of concerns to municipal officials which they hope to have addressed.

The group will also put up a ghost bike memorial for Professor Gerrit Radder, who was killed last month when he was hit by a cash-in-transit vehicle while cycling along Walmer Boulevard.

Safe Cycle PE coordinator Leon Claasen, 52, said this weekend’s campaign was aimed at raising awareness among cyclists and motorists about mutual safety.

“We know only a handful of cyclists and motorists break the laws of the road, giving the rest a bad name. So we just want everyone to be more tolerant towards those who adhere to the rules,” Claasen said.

The ride, starting from the Grass Roof restaurant just off Seaview Road at 9am, will be open to professional athletes, recreational riders and people using bikes for their daily commute to work.

Besides traffic safety, they also want to draw attention to the recent spate of attacks on cyclists, hoping the local authorities can implement measures to ensure the safety of riders out on the road.

Claasen’s wife and Safe Cycle PE member Christine, 53, said recent attacks had brought the safety of cyclists and sporting events like the Ironman into question, and they hoped their list of concerns reassured the public and sporting world that cycling in Port Elizabeth could continue.

“As a woman I don’t feel safe riding by myself. We hope to raise awareness among officials who have some authority and can assist in our plight to improve the safety of everyone on the road,” she said.

Mayor Athol Trollip is expected to be among the cyclists taking part, and mayoral committee member for safety and security John Best will be among the officials receiving Safe Cycle PE’s list of concerns.

Best said he hoped residents supported the initiative.

“This kind of initiative highlights how worried cyclists have become about their safety,” he said.

“We hope to address their concerns as efficiently as possible to put their minds at ease. “My directorate is already working very closely with the police service and traffic officials on a number of initiatives that have been put in place to address the concerns cyclists have raised.”

After receiving the list, he would liaise with the police to find the best way forward.

“Everyone should be safe on our roads,” he said.

“Not only cyclists, but runners, pedestrians, motorists, and anyone else making use of our roads.

“We hope our support of this initiative shows our commitment to promoting the safety of the public.”

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