JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Collisions involving cyclists and motor vehicles have become almost commonplace on South Africa’s roads so cyclists and motorists need to take steps to avoid fatal collisions.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, believes drivers tend to have little regard for cyclists.. “Speed is a major influence in this problem. A collision which exceeds 45km/h gives a cyclists a less than 50% chance of survival.
”Even at lesser speeds a cyclist will probably be severely hurt. Drivers should look out not only for other vehicles but also for cyclists.
“Theres an unfortunate belief that cyclists have less right to the road’… should keep out of a motorist’s way. Part of keeping cyclists safe is to change such an attitude. They are just as entitled, provided that they follow the rules that apply to them, to be on the road as any other user.”
‘LEARN THE LAWS’
Herbert suggests road users take time to brush-up on the laws that govern cyclists. “In South Africa bicycles are considered legal vehicles and are bound to the same laws, and courtesy, as motor vehicles. If you know the rules that govern cyclists you will better understand how to interact with them in tricky situations such as roundabouts.
“Cyclists should learn the laws that apply to them. MasterDrive also advises knowing how drivers and cyclists should react when they encounter each another. If the right response does not occur the cyclist can be ready to avoid a collision regardless of the actions of the driver or refuse to react based on who has ‘right of way.”
”The ultimate goal should be to avoid any collision.”
For now, here are some tips for drivers and cyclists…
- Remember, when turning right, that a cyclist could be alongside and intending to go straight. Double-check before making the turn.
- Don’t underestimate the speed of an approaching cyclist and risk a swift right turn. A cyclist can ride at up to 30km/h.
- Give cyclists the internationally accepted 1.5m of space when overtaking – even more in rain. This is not only to avoid a collision but also to leav room should they fall or encounter an obstacle.
- Look backwards for cyclists before opening a car door.
- Do not park or stop in a cycle lane. It puts cyclists in even more danger when they ride around your vehicle.
- Cyclists must never cycle two abreast when on the road.