Cape Town’s cyclists are concerned for their lives after a spate of robberies that target those on bikes. There have been reports of cyclists being robbed of their expensive bikes and electronic devices such as cellphones, and they are now calling on authorities to do more to protect riders.
Speaking to eNCA, Faiek Davids, a Capetonian who has been cycling for the past 35 years, says his favourite activity has now become his “worst nightmare”. He has had his bike stolen, and was also hospitalised for two weeks with a broken ankle after he was attacked during a robbery.
“Just as I passed him I got jagged from behind, with that your feet is locked into your clipless paddles and there’s a slope there,” Davids said. “Me and him, we tumbled down the slope with the bicycle and all. And with that my ankle broke, I couldn’t move and I couldn’t stand.”
According to the Pedal Power Association (PPA), a cycling organisation within the Western Cape, there is a current crime hotspot just outside of the American consulate in Tokai, as well as around Ocean View and Kommetjie.
Wear bright clothes so drivers can see you – anything neon is great during the daytime. It’s best to avoid biking at before sunrise and sunset, but if you do go for a ride after dark, be sure to wear reflective gear. “When turning, be sure to signal to drivers and make eye contact when possible. Ride in a straight, predictable line so that you don’t take any drivers by surprise,” the Association said.
Avoid riding in the early hours of the morning:
“We are currently very concerned about the amount of hit and run accidents that happen between 4am and 5am when a lot of intoxicated drivers return home from a night out,” they warned cyclists.
Check your bike:
Before you head out, check your tyre pressure and brakes to make sure everything is in order. This way there’s less of a chance of technical malfunction that could jeopardise your safety.
Ride in groups, if possible:
More and more cases of muggings and bike jacking are reported to the PPA on a daily basis. Try to slot in with a local WhatsApp group for your own safety.
Wear an ID bracelet:
Most of them have an emergency number to call should you need medical attention. It also makes it easier to contact your next of kin should you be out riding alone.
Do not use your cellphone:
Just as when you are driving your car, don’t text or call whilst riding. Rather stop to take or make a call.