Cooperation Between Cyclists and Motorists: Crucial for Improved Safety on Chappies

Monday, 22 May 2017 11:11
Cooperation Between Cyclists and Motorists: Crucial for Improved Safety on Chappies
16.13 km
Wind Direction
1.47 km/h
Updated 4/18/2021 04:12:50
Maintenance in Progress, information may not be accurate!

Chapman’s Peak Drive is perhaps one of the world’s most beautiful and exhilarating routes to drive, cycle or even ramble.  It’s no surprise that it is an integral part of two sporting events: The Two Oceans Marathon and the Cape Argus Cycle Race.  Anywhere that draws both motorists and cyclists, be it a spectacular mountain road like Chappies, or a bustling city centre, has to face the same issue, and it is the most important issue of all: safety.  

Cyclists are disproportionately represented among road-based casualty lists, with up to 40% of all fatalities on the roads in South Africa being made up of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.  The mismatch in vulnerability between a motorist and a cyclist is clearly a key element in these figures- a cyclist will always come off worse in a collision between the two. However, in order for everyone to use and enjoy roads safely, whether it be Chappies or a simple two-lane urban thoroughfare, both cyclists and motorists must cooperate, and observe some common safety procedures.

For Cyclists

One of the key things that cyclists can do is to know the law surrounding cycling on public roads.  A cyclist is classed as the operator of a vehicle, and is therefore required to follow many of the same rules and regulations as a motorist.  Weaving in and out of traffic, skipping over red lights, turning the wrong way at junctions, and riding on the pavement in non-designated areas are all actions which both decrease the safety of the individual cyclist and contribute to a sense of uncertainty about cyclists in the eyes of motorists.  If all cyclists follow the rules of the road to the letter, then the movements of cyclists in general are much more predictable to motorists; less uncertainty leads to greater safety.

For Motorists

Similarly, whilst cyclists must remember that they are subject to the rules of the road, motorists must remember that cyclists are entitled to be on the road. They are not imposters, interlopers or nuisances, but rather vehicle operators, just like motorists, motorcyclists and lorry drivers.  Studies have shown that attitudes towards cyclists, specifically with regards to their perceived legitimacy as road users are crucial factors in road safety.  In particular, drivers were found to perceive cyclists as being unpredictable and to not follow the rules of the road; this in turn led them to excuse poor road behaviour by motorists, and demonise cyclists for even very small transgressions.  

Cooperation is Key

This is a perfect example of how and why road safety requires harmony and cooperation between cyclists and motorists. Cyclists must respect the fact that they are vehicle operators and as such must abide by the rules of the road, and motorists must also respect the fact that cyclists are vehicle operators and have the right to be there.  If both parties can accept this then road safety can move forward, and the number of cyclists being injured or killed on the roads can be brought down. This is why cooperation is absolutely crucial to the improvement of road safety, and why every individual cyclist and motorist can and will influence the success of this cooperation every time they take to the road.  Each time a motorist sees a cyclist run a red light, for example, it will degrade their faith in the legitimacy of cyclists as road users. Conversely, each time a cyclist sees a motorist overtake a cyclist at a junction, for example, it will degrade their faith in the efficacy of observing the rules of the road.  Individually, motorist or cyclist, we can make a difference. 

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

Article by Sally Perkins
Image by Markus Spiske

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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.