Ooh. Cyclists. My favourite people.
The new cycling laws come into force in the Western Cape today, and the biggie is that, as a driver, you must allow at least 1 metre between the side of your vehicle and any cyclist or you will be a criminal. I’m not sure that this will make cyclists feel any safer, given that people generally completely disregard any other traffic laws with impunity anyway.
I’ve done a handy PDF version of the new regulations for you.
Quite what happened to the mantra of “Cyclists stay alive at 1.5”, I’m not sure. Presumably, around 33% more cyclists will not be making it safely back from their ride now. Obviously, this is sad.
Also, drivers are now allowed to cross a solid white line to pass a cyclist as long “it is safe to do so”, which is a bit weird, because if it was safe to cross the solid white line, then there wouldn’t be a solid white line there, would there?
What is quite interesting is that there are some rules for cyclists included in the new regulations as well. Obviously, the cyclists are up in arms about this (the discussion on the new laws is taking place in the “Rant & Rave” section of the local cyclists forum), because they’ve been reminded of all the rules that they should have been obeying anyway.
Have you got a front and rear reflector on your bike? Didn’t think so.
In addition, predictably, the laws for motorists apparently don’t go far enough and the laws for cyclists are too strict, ill-thought out or just annoying. Sample quote:
I will no [sic] be complying with the provisions of this law which I feel do nothing to improve my safety.
Of course you won’t, because we can all pick and choose which laws we want to comply with, can’t we? Idiot.
No. Don’t be so silly, because what these new regulations do is reiterate the rules which both drivers and cyclists must abide by, reminding road users that everyone needs to be responsible for their own safety and the safety of others, and that can only be a good thing in the efforts to prevent unnecessary road deaths.
With that in mind, obviously, if a driver breaks the law, by, say, going withing 95cm of a cyclist, then you can report them by taking down their car registration number and informing the authorities.
Equally, when you see the lycra-clad peloton of cylists going through the red traffic lights at Kalk Bay six abreast on Sunday, you can… erm… you can… right. You can’t.