March 09 2010 at 07:24AM
By Caryn Dolly and Michelle Jones
Motorists who “don’t give a damn” about cyclists have created a crisis, says Transport MEC Robin Carlisle.
He reacted angrily yesterday after hearing three cyclists from Oudtshoorn had been killed when a bakkie, which was trying to overtake a truck, smashed into them.
Jan Eloff, 72, Frank Nel, 60, and Magda van Lill, 50, died at the scene on the R62 about 9km outside Oudtshoorn, while a fourth cyclist was seriously injured.
The accident was the fifth incident involving cyclists being knocked down in two months in the province.
“I’m actually furious about this. I’ve been a cyclist all my life. I’ve done 14 Argus’s. What we’ve got here is a crisis. A real crisis interface between motorists and cyclists. We’ve got motorists who don’t give a damn…
“I’m going to call on my colleagues to make war on people who do this,” Carlisle said yesterday during a press conference with Community Safety MEC Lennit Max and Sport MEC Sakkie Jenner.
Carlisle said his department was looking at ways to improve cyclists’ safety: “This includes identifying roads with the highest rate of cycling accidents and creating designated temporary cycling lanes on those roads. The long-term objective is to expand dedicated cycling lanes on all identified major roads in line with international best-practice.”
Carlisle had also instructed legal advisers to look at whether traffic laws could be changed so motorists would not be allowed to overtake cyclists when there was oncoming traffic.
Stephen Hayward, the Pedal Power Association’s chairman, said measures to improve cyclists’ safety were being seen throughout the city.
“We’re seeing the city slowly starting to move. They’re turning the yellow lines into cycle lanes.”
He said while it was not yet possible to cycle through the city for a considerable distance, it was hoped this would soon be possible.