A harrowing incident recounted by a local cyclist is a warning to bikers across the City to beware of cycling in certain areas and keep their safety in mind when taking to the streets. A new lane in Woodstock specifically has caused much concern as many cyclists have experienced attacks along the route in recent months.
According to a cyclist, a road that he had driven for the past two days turned into his worst nightmare one morning during his daily commute to work. A brand new cycle lane had just been built along the route to his work and he was planning to utilise it to avoid all of the cars on the N1.
“At 6.20am, I was cycling to work. I got onto the MyCity cycle lane at Woodstock bridge (Church Street bridge). I cycled towards Paarden Eiland, away from town. There is a small hill that leads onto the straight before it goes under the N1. I saw four coloured guys standing on the cycle lane,” says local cyclist, Don Connan.
It was then that he knew his morning cycle would not be the same as it had been the days before and he was confronted with both a knife and a gun.
“As I got to them to try pass, they grabbed me and took my bike, backpack, and phone. At least one had a knife. As they started dragging my stuff through a hole in the fence, I saw another guy come running down the hill towards us. Not knowing if he was coming to help me or them I ran diagonally across the MyCity lane towards where I came from and he was coming from. As the guy got closer and passed me he pointed a handgun at me and I just kept running shouting to please not shoot,” explains Connan.
He ran for his life and was lucky enough to make it out alive.
“I then climbed over the fence onto the busy on-ramp from Marine Drive to the N1. As I got over, these guys where all through the hole in the fence and then I saw the security car come driving past. This makes me believe the guy with the gun was on the hill keeping a lookout for this car and ran down when he saw it coming. Do not cycle this route alone please, as it is very dangerous. It is such a pity as it is a beautiful new cycle lane that is unusable,” adds Connan.
He says this is the first time he has been attacked, but that for cyclists, this is a common occurrence so he had always prepared himself for the day when it would happen to him by cycling with just the bare minimum.
“I know two guys at work that have been attacked on their bikes over the last four years in separate events. One managed to get away but another broke an arm as they pushed him off his bike,” says Connan.
The incident was reported on Table Mountain Bikers group on Facebook where a number of incidents along the same route have been shared.
Local cyclists are concerned about their safety in general in Cape Town and a number of incidents have taken place where cyclists are the victims. Many are asking what can be done to protect bikers and make it safe enough for them to use the new cycling lanes the City has provided.
According to Connan, there is much the City can do to better protect cyclists.
“The City must maintain and fix the fence along that route. When holes are made fix the fence or put in a stronger fence. Next they need to remove the illegal squatters. It is a major problem as the squatters do crime and make the place a mess as there are no toilets. This should not be tolerated,” says Connan.