Top safety tips for cyclists {& motorists} training for the Cape Town Cycle Tour

Friday, 13 February 2015 16:45
Top safety tips for cyclists {& motorists} training for the Cape Town Cycle Tour
16.13 km
Wind Direction
5.84 km/h
Updated 4/18/2021 03:47:50
Maintenance in Progress, information may not be accurate!

At the beginning of each year, the number of cyclists increases substantially due to the Cape Town Cycle Tour which takes place annually on the second Sunday of March.

The Cycle Tour is the biggest cycle event in South Africa and one of the largest timed events in the world, and attracts thousands of visiting cyclists to Cape Town. Many of these cyclists are not regular riders and not always accustomed to cycling on the roads in and around Cape Town. This in turn poses challenges to both cyclists and motorists on our roads.

Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most popular sections of the Cape Town Cycle Tour route and many people use the drive for training purposes.  We are seeing a remarkable increase in cyclists on the drive in the build up to the event but we do please with both cyclists and motorists to  be aware and considerate of each other and let’s encourage safe cycling.

Top Safety Tips for Cyclists:

  1. It’s a no-brainer:
    Helmet. Wear one!  A crash or fall can happen in a split second and leave you badly injured. A well-fitting helmet can absorb the impact and help minimize damage to your brain and skull. Wear one whenever cycling and remember “No helmet no ride!”  PS: It is the law (since 2004)
  2. Be loud and proud:
    Visibility is key to safety. Fit lights on your bike, wear reflective strips and wear brightly coloured kit especially if training in the early morning or evening or in overcast, misty or rainy conditions. Go loud, go bright, go lumo – it’s okay – do whatever you have to do but make yourself seen.
  3. Imagine that you are INVISIBLE:
    Narrow twisty roads without a road shoulder often pose problems for both motorists and cyclists as cars battle to pass cyclists and when there is not enough space will ‘squeeze’ the cyclists off the road. #Chappies is one of these narrow twisty roads. Ride as though no one has seen you and make ALL your intentions obvious.
  4. Stay Single!
    Ride in single file, unless you are overtaking. Two abreast is not going to help you or anyone else especially on narrow twisty roads. Cape Town has lots of these roads, #Chappies included. Two abreast holds up other cars and makes the motorists angry.  Oh yes and there is that small matter that it is against the law!  That’s right it is actually unlawful to ride next to each other, except when overtaking.  Refer to section 3(3)(b) of the Gazette.
  5. L is for Left!
    Stay left. Please! Just stay on the that side and don’t ride in the right lane. If you are turning right, stay on the left hand side of the lane as you turn please.
    Yes we do know that the far left of the road often has debris.  We know there are ‘cat-eyes’, gutters and drain covers. The road camber is often worst near the edge (left) of the road.  We do know; really we do! Remember that if you are riding a metre in from the side of the road – this will force a motor vehicle to cross the centre line in order to pass the cyclists and likely into oncoming vehicles. #Kaboom. Remember Keep left, Keep left, Keep left !
  6. Be aware: 
    Be aware of your surroundings- watch out for car doors opening or pedestrians running across the street. Take care to ride predictably and avoid sudden braking or changes of direction and try to maintain a steady straight line.
  7. Communication:
    Know your hand signals and calls, especially if riding in a group with other cyclists. The cycle tour has some communication Safety tips on their website but motorists take note. A left arm extended means you are turning left. The same applies to the right arm and the right turn.
  8. Red means Stop!
    It’s a rule of the road. Bicycles are a vehicle on South Africa roads and have to obey the rules of the Road. This includes stopping at Red Robots or Stop Signs. It does not mean checking to see if anything is coming and cycling through.
  9. Lose the Attitude:
    Yes cyclists don’t like motorists and motorists don’t particularly like cyclists but yelling at motorists or gesticulating at them isn’t going to help. Sorry cyclists – be polite, thank motorists for giving way and let’s help the relationship along, arrogance will make it worse.
  10. Be Safe:
    Tell someone where you are cycling and stick to your route. Keep identification on you (on your bicycle & your person, should you get separated). Carry any medical aid details with you if applicable. Programme the details of your next-of-kin into your cellphone under ICE (In Case of Emergency).

Top Safety Tips for Motorists:

  1. Think Bike.
    Expect to see cyclists! Cyclists are particularly prevalent in the build up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March. Our roads are narrow and twisty and there are many people training (35 000 to be precise!)
  2. Stay Wider of the Rider:
    The message is a clear and simple one: “Cyclists stay alive at 1.5 m”. If those of you who don’t understand the metric system… that’s at least half a car’s width. Don’t force your way past them and be mindful on narrow roads like Chapmans Peak Drive, where this spacing is challenged for everyone!
  3. Indicate:
    Yes you! The one behind the wheel.
    Please indicate and signal your actions which includes indicating EVERY time you pass a cyclist.
  4. Turning:
    Left turns: Watch for cyclists on the inside if you are turning left !
    Right Turns: Be aware that right-turning cyclists need more space and time.
  5. Slow Down
    Speed Kills – why not simply slow down, drive smoothly and keep within the speed limits. The speed limit on #Chappies is 40km/hr and there is a very good reason for it – plus it’s WAY better for taking in the views.
  6. Watch the wind
    Windy weather is tough on cyclists. Be considerate and leave them a little bit of space in case they get caught in a gust. If you expect sudden movements from cyclists  in bad or windy conditions, you are already helping!
  7. Park it
    Watch where you park and please check for cyclists before you open your car door.
  8. Light it up.
    Make sure your lights are on so you are also visible to the cyclists. Be aware that if your bright lights are on, you can dazzle or blind a cyclist.
  9. Remember that cyclists are FAST.
    Cyclists can be very fast movers! Think of a bike like a vehicle – because it is. Whilst most motorists travel faster than cyclists, some of the pro guys can do some serious speeds. Take your time and be a little patient when passing.
  10. Lose the attitude:
    Don’t yell, rant, throw the finger or squeeze the bike guy off the road. Cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists and are often threatened by inconsiderate or reckless driving. They also have to deal with different road surfaces, debris, faster traffic and your attitude.

In general:
The roads in South Africa and Cape Town in particular are heavily tilted in favour of cars.  Drivers do seem to hate the idea of being slightly inconvenienced so that other modes of transport might be safer or more sustainable. At Chapman’s Peak Drive we feel that both cyclists and motorists should become more aware of each other and both share a responsibility to understand each other’s needs… and to respond positively to establish a culture of mutual courtesy and care, especially on #Chappies.

Cape Town Cycle Tour is held every year on the 2nd Sunday in March.
2015 Date:  Sunday 8 March 2015

Please note that Chapman’s Peak Drive will be closed from 18h00 on Sat 7 March 2015 until 18h00 on Sunday 8 March 2015.  (24 hours)

Chapman’s Peak Drive
Customer Service Line: +27 (0)21 791 8220
Like us on Facebook: Chapmans Peak Drive
Follow us on Twitter:  @ChapmansPeakSA

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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.