Battle of the road - cyclists vs motorists vs pedestrians on Chappies

Battle of the road - cyclists vs motorists vs pedestrians on Chappies
Friday, 25 November 2016 13:40

Summer is coming and with it the desire to get out and enjoy the beauty of Cape Town has intensified. There are few more beautiful spots in this gorgeous city of ours than Chapman's Peak Drive... and as always at this time of year, the walkers, the runners, the cyclists, the Sunday Drivers, the tour buses, the gobsmacked self-drive visitors join the daily commuters on Chapman's Peak Drive for the sheer joy & pleasure of being there. .

It is no longer surprising to us, that year after year the battle between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians continues with alarming consistency, indignation and seeming shock and surprise that someone from "The Other Group"  is sharing the space with them.... and the war begins. Motorists are called aggressive, impatient and inconsiderate. Cyclists are called arrogant, selfish and inconsiderate. Pedestrians (walkers or runners) take a slightly lesser damage rating but they too are targeted too. 

Chappies is a toll road and is maintained as a shared resource for all road users.  Regardless of which "group" you belong to, all users must adhere to the rules of the road as provided by Provincial and National legislation.  Chapman's Peak Drive adheres to both sets of legislation and as Chappies is a unique route, comprising of a narrow winding mountain pass, it is essential that all road users adhere to the rules for safety reasons.  At Chapman's Peak Drive we have erected additional signage and polite notices reminding all our users of the rules.

Under South African Law, bicycles are regarded as legal vehicles.  According to National Legislature - the following rules apply to motorists and cyclists.  (See 1996 act here)

  • Always stop at all red traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Giving way to pedestrians and stopping before crosswalks (pedestrian crossings) so they’re free for pedestrians to use.
  • Riding with the flow of traffic on streets on two-way and one-way streets.

These rules relate specifically to cycling:

  • Riding without a helmet is illegal.
  • Always stop at all red traffic lights and all stop streets, and give way to pedestrians.
  • The law says you must ride on the left of the road.
  • You must be seated in your saddle.
  • You must ride in single file.
  • You may not deliberately swerve your bicycle from side to side.
  • If you are riding on a public road where there is a bicycle lane, you must use that lane.
  • Along with dedicated bicycle paths and lanes, you may therefore ride on any road open to cycling. This excludes freeways (like the M3, M5, N1 and N2 in and near Cape Town, and all roads which indicate they are closed to bicycles.
  • Use cycle lanes wherever these exist.

Provincial legislation - this relates only to the Western Cape and outlines the duties of motorists (e.g. the 1m passing rule) and cyclists (e.g. riding in single file and to the left of the road edge) and rules regarding cycle safety (e.g. lights and reflectors). It's worth reading here and noting that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of these regulations commits an offence, and on conviction is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year. 

Some key points:

  • Motorists may not come closer than 1 meter to a cyclist
  • Cyclist may NOT ride abreast of another cyclist unless overtaking
  • Bicycles must have lights on, front and back, between sunset and sunrise
  • Bicycles must have front and rear reflectors

Duties of driver of motor vehicle when passing cyclists

  • 2. (1) The driver of a motor vehicle who passes a cyclist on a public road must—
    (a) exercise due care while passing the cyclist;
    (b) leave a distance between the motor vehicle and the cyclist of at least one metre; and
    (c) maintain that distance from the cyclist until safely clear of the cyclist.
  • (2) Despite any solid barrier line or other road traffic sign prohibiting encroachment upon the right-hand side of the road, the driver of a motor vehicle on a public road may, where the roadway is not wide enough to comply with subregulation (1)(b) or (c) when passing a cyclist, encroach on that part of the road to his or her right, but only if—
    (a) it can be done without obstructing or endangering other persons or vehicles;
    (b) it is safe to do so; and
    (c) it can be done and is done for a period and distance not longer than is necessary to pass the cyclist.
  • Duties of cyclists
    3. (1) A cyclist riding on a public road must—
    (a) if the road has a pedal cycle lane, ride only in the pedal cycle lane and may not ride on any other portion of a public road except when crossing the road; or
    (b) if there is no pedal cycle lane, ride—
    (i) to the left of the left edge of the roadway; or
    (ii) on the roadway, keeping as close as practicable to the left edge of the roadway.
  • (2) When riding on a public road, a cyclist must—
    (a) give conspicuous driving signals as contemplated in regulation 300 and Part II of Chapter X of the National Regulations; and
    (b) stop in the circumstances contemplated in regulation 307 of the National Regulations.
  • (3) A person may not ride a pedal cycle on a public road—
    (a) on the right-hand side of a motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that motor vehicle or turning right at an intersection;
    (b) abreast of another cyclist proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that cyclist;
    (c) while wearing a headset, headphones or any listening device other than a hearing aid; or
    (d) while carrying another person on the pedal cycle, unless that pedal cycle is specifically equipped to carry more than one person.
  • (4) A cyclist must exercise due care while—
    (a) passing a motor vehicle or turning right in the circumstances described in subregulation (3)(a); or
    (b) passing another cyclist in the circumstances described in subregulation (3)(b).

Having provided all of you with the rules, we ask that all road users give each other space and respect. Cyclists and runners, please use single file - it's a narrow road and whilst we do understand that it's great to chat to your buddy on your morning cycle or run, it may not be safe to do so and it's inconsiderate to the other road users. Cyclists and runners please wear bright visible clothing or reflective gear so you can be seen easily.  Motorists please be reminded that the speed limit on Chapman's Peak Drive is 40km/hour so you can't actually go speeding along. We ask that if you are stuck behind a cyclist, to breathe, relax, look at the view and with a bit of patience a space will open to pass safely - they might even be travelling faster than you! Let's all do our best to get along on Chapman's Peak Drive this summer by adhering to the rules of the road and respecting each other. 


Chapman’s Peak Drive Toll Plaza Office Hours:

The Toll Plaza is open Monday - Friday from 08h00 - 17h00 for registration as a Frequent User.
Address: Toll Plaza, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay, Cape Town
Plaza Tel: 021 791 8220

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Updated Tue, 25 April 2017, 00:40
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About Chapman's Peak Drive

  • Chapman’s Peak Drive toll road winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast on the south-western tip of South Africa. Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world.

    Chapman’s Peak Drive is affectionately known as #Chappies.