Another cyclist killed

With the Cape Argus Cycle Tour only 3 weeks away, another cyclist, Colin van Schalkwyk, died on Saturday after he was hit by a truck in Milnerton. Another terribly sad accident and another family man killed. News24 utilised a convenient if overly-dramatic soundbite for its report title: Cyclists fear for their lives.

In there, two telling comments from people “in the know”:

The City of Cape Town is planning a meeting about the issue with various roleplayers.
Pieter Cronjé, a spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, said it was important to realise that there was no quick fix or easy solution. “You can only address a problem properly if you truly understand what the causes are,” he said.

Absolutely right, Pieter. And, as if proving Cronjé’s point, this from the Cycle Tour Director, David Bellairs, who clearly doesn’t understand what the causes are:

It is true that in summer there are more cyclists on the road. You would expect that motorists were more tolerant towards them.

What an utterly ridiculous comment. More cyclists on the road means more red lights and stop signs ignored, more 6-wide pelotons to avoid and more wobbling, weaving idiots more concerned with their chat than their direction. You want tolerance – encourage common sense, encourage lawful cycling, educate them – don’t simply blame the motorists.
Yet, that’s the sort of “expert” with his blinkered beligerence that motorists are up against in this debate. Perhaps David should read the comments following the News24 story. Very… telling.

Meanwhile, the hugely vocal Cape Argus is once again (rightly) outraged by the death of another cyclist. That’s four deaths in the last three months. Of course, this pales into insignificance next to the number of pedestrians and drivers killed in the same period, but then the Argus doesn’t sponsor walking or motoring events, does it?

  • Nixgrim

    Once again, I have to say that I am frustrated by your obviously biased views on this topic. If you want to quote stats, then do so for the deaths of pedestrians and motorists. Don’t just say ‘it pales into insignificance’.

    The other thing that you fail to mention is that the vast majority of cyclists are also motorists. So if you call cyclists idiots, then motorists are idiots too.

    There are no easy answers to this, and once again I have to point out how irresponsible it is of you to suggest otherwise.

  • You make a sterling point. However, I fear the wrath of the Cycling Gods upon you.

    Emil´s last blog post was: ‘n Vers vir Samantha (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  • Really? You didn’t get enough flack from the idiots after the last cycling post that you thought you’d try again? 😛

    I think we need to have a proper chat with this oke. No one is asking him the right questions, like, why should we be tolerant of people who arrogantly ignore the rules of the road every day and are a danger to everyone else on that road.

    Just saying 😉

  • Nixgrim > Where to begin… where to begin..?
    OK – easy stuff first: I am biased. I don’t hide my bias. I even link to my bias just 3 words into the post.
    Next: Yes, the majority of cyclists are also motorists, but the majority of motorists are not cyclists. Yes, some motorists are idiots. I wonder how that demographic matches up with the cyclists?
    Interestingly, there does seem to be a bit of a shift in thoughts about cyclists, since I wrote my “Not Blameless” post in Nov last year (http://6000.co.za/2008/11/26/not-blameless/). Look at those News24 comments: How many start “I’m a cyclist and a motorist and I think cyclists are idiots”? The winds of change, Nixgrim – the winds of change.
    And when did say that there was an easy answer? Aside from the laughable suggestion of banning cycling, there is no easy solution. But there is an easy starting point, as that’s people like Cycle Tour Directors acknowledging that cyclists are not as pure as the driven snow.
    And… over to you. 🙂

    Emil > Bring them on. Then we can laugh at their funny outfits.

    Goblin > Hot topic, innit? But I think comments like that, especially from people in a position of responsibility, really don’t help.

  • Yeah, definitely not helpful.

  • As a cyclist and a motorist I totally agree that education is necessary. On BOTH sides! Both are wrong sometimes, however the difference is that the motorist has a lethal weapon.

    Driving as close as you can to a cyclist is not clever or funny. Driving really fast past a cyclist without moving over even slightly is VERY dangerous. I don’t think motorists realise how much draft their cars or trucks cause, how unstable on a bike you actually are or that we can’t cycle on the very edge of the road because the condition of our roads is so bad and they just break away unevenly and are full of pot holes.

    Cyclists need to realise that motorists are idiots! Ok, cyclists need to realise that they are their own worst enemy and that yes they are also road users but taking up 3/4 of the road in not legal, not intelligent and is going to annoy all of those trying to get past them and coming towards them. As a legitimate road user they have a responsibility to obey the rules of the road.

    The solution is very simple – for all involved to obey the rules of the road. However, enforcing this is where the problem lies.

  • Goblin > Not even a little bit helpful.

    OL > I have a feeling that you’re more likely to be able to sort out the Israel/Gaza situation than this little cyclist v motorist problem. The problem does NOT lie solely with the motorists, far from it. The two most recent accidents seem to have been the motorists fault, certainly, but at some point, some blame must lie with the cyclists – they’re using the road too – even if they’re not paying for its upkeep.

  • I said for ALL involved to obey the rules of the road, this includes the cyclists, who I totally agree are not blameless – as you said, far from it.

  • OL > “the difference is that the motorist has a lethal weapon.”
    A gun is only a lethal weapon if you swerve into the path of the bullet.

  • And bicycles can be lethal weapons too…with enough imagination 😀

  • Or if you aim it intentionally at somebody – and believe me that happens! Some people seem to think it is fun to try and run cyclists off the road.

  • Goblin > Indeed; I think it was in Live & Let Die that James Bond transformed that penny-farthing into a high-powered sniper rifle in that castle overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean.

    OL > Please let’s not get silly (comments about penny-farthings aside) – you are talking about 1 idiot motorist out of every 10,000. I am talking about 1 errant cyclist out of every two.

  • You must be very disappointed? All this harrasing cyclists and only me rising to take the bait. So much for a good slanging match on a Tuesdsay morning.

  • Not in South Africa, but go and have a look at this picture.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/06/car-accident-cyclists-race-mexico.php

  • OL > Seen that Mexico one before – horrendous.
    And as for “baiting” cyclists, no. I’m just writing about what’s happening in the Cape Town news. It’s what I always do. This is a hot topic here at the moment.

  • Have a look here at what the stoopid cyclists where doing this morning at the same place the guy died on saturday..

    http://www.carforums.co.za/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=99

    BTW the above site was created yesterday in response to a compliant by a cyclist that caused over 300 members of the Cartoday.com motoring forum to resign in protest.

    Amandla! Awethu!

  • Alex

    60000> I am only a motorist myself but most of my family is involved in some way in cycling. You sound very arrogant, offensive and dangerous to all road users. Will it cause you intolerable agony to just slow down a little when you see cyclists and pass when it is safe for both parties? I also live in Cape Town and most of the roads don’t have decent yellow lanes to cycle in. Trust me, if there was an option to cycle on a different track, cyclists would not cycle on the road, next to people like you. Just have some patience; we don’t need more people who drive like taxies.

    If it was your child on the bike next to the road would you slow down? Cyclists also make mistakes and I agree can be a hazard to themselves, but don’t let yourself be the one responsible for their deaths. Be the one who thinks for other drivers this includes cyclists. Be the better man.

    Fyi. Sport cyclists pay for the upkeep roads as well, just as much as you.

  • Alex > You’re missing my point.
    I am saying that it takes two to tango. Cyclists and motorists are BOTH to blame for the conflict on our roads. And thus both must act more responsibly.
    My problem is that (until very recently, perhaps) only the motorists were getting the blame. Not fair.

    No – it would’t hurt me to slow down and give extra passing distance when I am passing cyclists. Maybe I do that already… Would it hurt them not to ride 6 abreast? Probably not.

    And if it was my child on a bike, then I’d want to know what he was doing out on his own, cos he’s only 2.

    P.S. If I sound arrogant, you sound rather condescending.
    If I sound dangerous – I’m not.
    If I sound offensive, fair enough.