19 May Cape Town’s New Cycling Strategy
Cape Town’s New Cycling Strategy
In a move to popularise urban cycling in the Cape, the City of Cape Town’s Transport and urban Development Authority claims that the City has committed substantial resources over the past eight years to pursue the vision of a cycle friendly city. So much so that there are currently 450 kms of cycle lanes in the city, some of them completely separate from the road.
And although not mentioned at the time, a 3.267km section of tarred race track, within the confines of the secure Killarney International Raceway in Table View, has recently been opened exclusively to cyclists every Sunday. Although mainly for recreational and instructive purposes, it will also be used for organised events.
According to councillor Brett Herron, although some of the City’s lanes are also popular for recreational cycling, they have still not seen the growth in commuter cycling required to have a noticeable impact on the traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and an improvement in mobility, in lower income areas.
For this reason, the City has introduced a new draft Cycling Strategy aimed at an approach that will realise the council’s goal to increase the percentage of commuter trips to 8% within the next 13 years.
According, to Councillor Brett Herron, although some of the lanes spread across the Cape, are popular for recreational cycling they have still not seen the growth in commuter cycling required to have a noticeable impact on the traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and an improvement in mobility in the lower income areas.
Proposed key strategies are as follows:
*Improved access to bicycles for lower income communities is essential.
*Road Safety (traffic), and personal security (crime prevention), along cycling routes must be improved.
*The planning, design and provision of cycling lanes must be location specific. What works in one area does not necessarily apply in another.
*Cycling infrastructure, that includes cycle lanes, bicycle parking facilities, and storage facilities must be improved and maintained.
A survey conducted by the council last year, at 50 locations across the city, indicated that no more than 1% of all trips are made by bicycle. Many commuters claimed that they would cycle but could not afford the cost of a bicycle.
This strange, given that low income transport users in in Cape Town are said to spend up to 45% of their monthly household income on transport, while the international norm is between 5% and 10%.
Herron continued that the biggest challenges pertain to improved access to bicycles, while ensuring that cycle routes are safe in terms of road safety and crime and to convince more residents to accept and use cycling as a legitimate means of transport.
“For cycling to become a norm we need a network of well designed cycle routes and an appropriate cycling infrastructure,” he said.