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Cyclists rally in safety campaign

Hundreds of cyclists rallied in their neon-coloured “Stay Wider of the Rider” bibs on Saturday, raising awareness about road safety and other issues threatening the safety of cyclists in and around Nelson Mandela Bay.
The rally was sparked by the September 4 2017 accident between cyclist Gerrit Radder, an NMU professor, and a transit vehicle moving along Walmer Boulevard, in which Radder was killed on impact.
Port Elizabeth Pedal Power Association representative Leon Claasen said Radder was cycling alone when he was hit by the truck from behind.
“Radder was a regular cyclist and he was a safe rider. We don’t know the details of the accident because unfortunately he was on his own.”
The case was due to come before court in June, he said.
“What we are trying to achieve with this ride is to raise awareness of our rights as cyclists but also telling cyclists we need to respect other road users by sticking to the rules of the road.”
The association was due to hand over a letter outlining their concerns and to provide recommendations to the municipal mayoral committee member for safety and security, Litho Suka, prior to the ride, but Suka did not arrive.
The cycle demonstration was a 30km loop from Wayne Pheiffer Cycles in Summerstrand to the Willows Resort, with almost 200 riders of all ages taking part.
Asked why he had not arrived for the event after confirming the previous day that he would attend, Suka said there was a breakdown in communication when his PA confirmed the meeting while he was out of town.
“I had a bereavement in Alice and my PA, who is also out of office, confirmed, not knowing that I was away.
“I am planning on meeting the association [on Monday] to formally apologise and also discuss plans that we as the municipality have for enforcing laws and preventing crime in the Nelson Mandela metro,” Suka said.
He said he fully supported the call to be wider of the rider, adding that the municipality was yet to improve bylaws that regulated road signs and designated specific roads for cyclists.
The association also raised its concerns regarding the sentencing of driver André Gouws who, in 2015, was convicted of hitting cyclist Clem Morris on Kragga Kamma Road, killing him on impact.
The national body of the Pedal Power Association, which is behind the national Stay Wider of the Rider safe cycling campaign, believes the resulting five-year sentence did not reflect the seriousness of the offence.
The association also wants the municipality to be mindful of attacks on cyclists and various traffic-related issues.
Pedal Power Association CEO Robert Vogel said there had to be a shift in behaviour.
“We are asking motorists and cyclists alike to modify their behaviour and to do the right thing by obeying the rules of the road,” Vogel said.
“Behaviour shift is the only sustainable and cost-effective way to make the roads safer.
“When traffic laws are broken, we need a zero-tolerance approach from the authorities.
“We are family people. We pay our taxes.
“We ask for the authority’s. . . attention in addressing the issues that so tragically impact the SA cycling community.”

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