“Whoever would have thought that fitness enthusiast congestion would become a problem for runners and cyclists?” wonders Steve Hayward, Chairman of the Pedal Power Association. “Thanks to Covid-19 there is an increase of both runners and cyclists on our roads – which is GREAT news indeed but does increase the possibility of accidents unless people take far more care. This is especially of concern along more popular routes that have not necessarily been well designed for the number of people out there now using them,” he said.
“Motorists also need to be aware that there are far more people walking, running and cycling both on the popular routes and in the suburbs. With the change in working practices and schools remaining closed, people, especially children, are out exercising or just playing during the day and not only on weekends. Drivers need to be particularly vigilant and drive cautiously when they see children, cyclists or runners.” said Hayward.
Of particular concern to PPA are those routes popular for both cyclists and runners that don’t have sidewalks or verges suitable to run on. This means that runners and cyclists will need to share the shoulder and cyclists may have to move out into the road if there is nowhere for runners to move out of their way. We appeal to drivers to be particularly careful along these routes and proceed slowly, with caution, making sure they can pass cyclists safely. It is good practice to ensure that you allow at least one metre between your vehicle and the cyclist.
The law requires that pedestrians (and thus runners) should travel as near as is safe on the right hand side of the road i.e. facing oncoming traffic. This is so that they can at least see traffic approaching rather than not knowing a cyclist (or vehicle) is approaching from behind which may cause a more dangerous situation. “Having to share the road means that runners and cyclists need to act responsibly and give each other space on the road to exercise safely,” explained Hayward. “Respect and courteous behaviour towards each other whilst on the road, will prevent accidents, Hayward said.
Runners running in the shoulder of the road should, wherever safely possible, should move onto the verge when they see cyclists approaching. Ideally runners should not run in a demarcated cycle lane, but if there is no sidewalk or verge, proceed with caution and make every effort to allow cyclists through as motorists may think that cyclists will not move into the road to pass.
Cyclists should observe all rules of the road and slow down as they approach runners or walkers. Where you are riding on a shared route such as a green belt, please remember to observe the route rules – especially with regards to speed and use your bell.
The single file rule applies to both runners and cyclists especially on routes like Chapman’s Peak which is narrow with no shoulders and has tight blind corners along sections.
Visit https://www.arrivealive.co.za/Rules-on-the-Road#part1_21 to view the rules of the road in South Africa.
“All active users are advised to wear bright, preferably reflective colours and to use lights in the mornings and evenings. It is really great to see some many out and about, but let’s all share the road responsibly and with consideration of our fellow South Africans in these unsettled times. A simple good morning and a nod of thanks will not only make your day better, but also build goodwill whilst we are out there enjoying what we do,” concluded Hayward.