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PPA supports silent protest against senseless deaths of cyclists

The Pedal Power Association, one of South Africa’s largest cycling organisations, supports the actions of the group known as ‘Stop Killing Cyclists SA Org’ , which staged a silent protest outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday 29 July, in protest against the senseless deaths of cyclists on South African roads.

A driver, who allegedly struck and killed a cyclist on the pavement of Uranium Road in Fourways, Johannesburg, on 11 June, dragging him some 30m down the road, was granted bail of R8 000 in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on 15 June. On Wednesday 29 July Ishe Davani briefly appeared in court again. The case was postponed until 30 October for further investigation. The cyclist, 37-year-old Steve Preston, an IT executive from Johannesburg, died while trapped under the man’s BMW.

According to Sean Badenhorst from Tread Mountain Biking, Preston’s family was fragile during the court procedure but encouraged by the magistrate’s attitude towards the case. Dawn Burnett, a founder member of ‘ Stop Killing Cyclists SA Org’, who lost her life partner in a cycling crash, said that the organisation felt that they had to protest against the lack of respect for the lives of cyclists lost on our roads. Burnett said that the taxi driver who allegedly caused the accident in which tandem duo, Frans Duys and Janine Hopkins were killed in November 2019 in Isando, has still not been charged.

Chairman of the Pedal Power Association, Steve Hayward commented that cases like these required proper investigation and harsher sentencing. “Cyclists are children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers to their families, friends and ordinary people.”

In less than ten days two cyclists have been killed. Last week in Durban, Ralph Harris was killed when a bus collided with him along Jan Smuts Drive in Durban. The driver has been charged with reckless driving. On the same day as the court case, yet another young cyclist, Jeffrey Jantjes, was killed on Baden Powell Drive, close to Strandfontein in the Western Cape by an eighteen wheeler truck which attempted to pass without giving him sufficient space, resulting in yet another tragic loss of life. No charge has been brought against the driver as yet, as the accident is still under investigation.

“Our condolences go out to their family and friends. Too many cyclists lose their lives on the roads in South Africa due to reckless driving or by motorists driving under the influence of alcohol. What is also a real concern to us, is the amount of time it takes for cases to get to court and that many cases are often dismissed due to lack of evidence or improper investigation,” said Hayward.

“As an organisation that prioritises safety across all forms of cycling, with funds primarily raised from membership fees, the Pedal Power Association invests millions of Rands in stakeholder engagement to educate motorists on the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads,” Hayward continued. “Every driver we influence represents a step closer to improving the safety of cyclists. The risk of being killed in traffic per kilometer travelled, is over 4 times higher for pedestrians and cyclists than for motor vehicle drivers. As cycling in all its forms – as transport, sport and recreation – is rapidly increasing in popularity the imperative to focus on the safety of cyclists becomes even more important.

The education all road users to behave responsibly, the recognition of cycling as a key form of transport especially with the need to socially distance while travelling and the improvement of cycling infrastructure are all essential to improving the safety of cyclists.

PPA continues to increase its efforts to promote cycling – for sport, recreation and, most importantly, for commuting and to help it become part of the solution to safe and affordable travel for all our citizens.” Hayward concluded.

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