Cyclists still at it

As yet another cyclist was knocked off his bike in Fish Hoek this weekend:

David Swingler was injured while cycling along Kommetjie Road in Fish Hoek late on Saturday morning.
Police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn said Swingler and a white Toyota Quantum minibus taxi had been travelling in the same direction on the dual-lane road. They tried to change lanes at the same time and Swingler was hit from behind by the taxi.
“The cyclist allegedly wanted to go into the right lane and the taxi into the left lane at the same time,” Steyn said.

Pedal Power Association vice-chair Elton Davids said although the recent spate of accidents involving cyclists had made many others reluctant to venture out, some were “not obeying the rules of the road”.
“They are not making it any easier for themselves,” he said.

And even the dangerously subjective Cape Argus finally admitted that not every cyclist is as pure as the driven snow:

Out on Ou Kaapse Weg, tempers frayed as motorists battled with cyclists for right of way on Saturday.
Motorists told Weekend Argus there had been scores of cyclists on Ou Kaapse Weg, and while most were cycling within the yellow lane, others either tailgated motorists or rode in front of cars.

Dave Bellairs, director of the cycle tour, said they did not condone cyclists disobeying the rules of the road, as they was for their own safety. But he pointed out that the majority of cyclists obeyed the rules of the road.

“Obeying the rules of the road is for the safety of the cyclist and the motorist and it shows mutual respect.”

A motorist said cyclists on Ou Kaapse Weg were riding three abreast. Another said a cyclist tailgated him on the scenic mountain drive.
Photographer Chad Chapman said even though most of the cyclists obeyed the rules, he saw some at the summit picking up speed and sweeping into the traffic lane, cycling in front of cars.

Meanwhile, in Milnerton:

Oh Lordie…
This morning, at half past dark, coming down the R27 to work, the fog/mist was so thick that in places visibility was down to 50m.
Bad.
At Woodbridge Island, scene of Saturday’s unfortunate death, it was especially heavy, and just past that, what do i see…?
Some **** on a bicycle, black shorts on, dark top, dark helmet, dark backpack, a rear light consisting of about 2 LEDs, and NO front light.
Now, one would have assumed that given the blanket coverage in all the Cape papers and other media, this two-wheeled tit would have ‘caught a wake up’.

Obviously not.

Live by the sword… die by the sword. But is this message finally beginning to get through their thick helmets?

EDIT: Please see Ordinary Life’s comment below with links to (allegedly – I haven’t read them yet) sensible posts about cyclists taking responsibility for their safety on the roads.

Eyes on the ball

Yes, another quota picture, but in fairness, one I saw in the paper last week and meant to share earlier.

This from Halden Krog, a stark contrast to his Flames of Hate pictures of the xenophobic violence in South Africa last year.  

picture11

Why do I like it? It’s local, it’s in black and white – moody and atmospheric, the kid with the ball didn’t quite realise how high the dog was going to jump and there’s a sunken boat in the background.

All the boxes ticked.

Keep dreaming, Helen!

Incoming on twitter:

@JacquesR Zille calls on JZ to step down: http://tr.im/gAkc.
The comments after the article are scary (besides mine, of course).

And yes, she did:

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has called on her ANC counterpart Jacob Zuma to step down as his party’s presidential candidate in the coming elections.
“Put your ambitions aside and act in the interests of the country and the constitution by publicly stepping down,” she said in an open letter to Zuma on Thursday.

Zille then went on to call on pigs to fly, bears to defaecate away from areas containing large numbers of trees and the Pope to tell us the truth: that the whole “God” thing is made up. Just what she is trying to achieve with this is beyond me. 
More seriously, her hint at legal action should JZ become President concerns me. I don’t see that that course of action would help at all. It would surely destabilise and further divide the country at a time when what the people need is more stability and unity in politics. But going through the courts seems to be how the DA is working just recently – perhaps because they realise that those are the only battles they stand a chance of winning. 

And yes, the comments after the article are a bit scary, but assuming that the things people say after an emotive political story on the Times website are representative of the views of your average South African is like assuming that what’s written in the Daily Mail is how all British people think. It’s just silly people saying silly things.

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?

Quota photo time

When all else fails and one needs to fulfill one’s obligations to one’s readers – namely a post a day in February – one must turn to the quota photo.
I’m going back to late 2005  and early 2006 for these, either of which I would happily (and concietedly) submit to postcard manufacturers and both of which are available with added generosity in the height and width departments by clicking their descriptions. 


Picture Postcard Day in Franschhoek


Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak Drive

The reason for this lack of wordage is not laziness – it’s sheer bloody exhaustion.
Last night, child-wise, sleep-wise, was… bad. Further detail would only bring back horrid memories and tears to my eyes. I now find myself desperately playing catch up.
So, with that – and at 8:24pm – goodnight…