Motorcyclists across Cape Town are outraged after it was announced that the City plans to outlaw lane-sharing with cars, as well as driving in between cars. Bikers have reportedly accused the City of making attempts to force motorcyclists to act more like car motorists.
The amended by-law states: “People, other than authorised officials in the performance of their duties, driving (sic) motorcycles on a public road, shall drive in single file except in the course of overtaking another motorcycle, and two or more persons driving motorcycles shall not overtake another vehicle at the same time: Provided that where a public road is divided into traffic lanes, each such lane shall, for the purposes of this paragraph, be regarded as a public road.”
“The City of Cape Town is proposing changes to its Traffic By-Laws. There are many changes proposed but the one of most concern to us is Section 49 (6) (a) of the Draft Traffic By-Law that states that lane-sharing by a motorcycle and another vehicle will no longer be permissible,” Bike Bros, a motorcycle dealership based in Cape Town said. “We believe that this section of the proposal is extremely ill-advised! Bear in mind that Cape Town is the most heavily congested city in the country. Making motorcycles drive like a car in congested traffic situations makes no sense at all – it will just add to the problem!”
According to Biker Bros, studies have shown that the use of motorcycles reduces both carbon dioxide emissions and congestion in cities.
“Motorcycles and scooters are a cost-effective transport solution, and for many citizens are their primary means of transport. They also require less parking space. This is not rocket science,” the dealership said. “Current thinking in Europe is that more should be done to encourage the use of motorcycles and scooters.”
JP Smith, Mayco Member for Safety and Security, is refuting the claims of bikers.
“Whoever is suggesting that the new traffic by-law is attempting to ban motorcycles from riding between motor vehicles has not read it and is creating a false panic,” he said. “The section clearly shows that the provision in the by-law does not attempt to ban motorcycles from ‘lane-splitting’. The provision in the by-law is an exact duplicate of what the national legislation says and the national legislation does not ban motorcycles from moving between vehicles when traffic is slow moving. There is therefore no reason to submit objections. Anybody wanting to object is free to undertake the effort, but their objection would not be speaking to an actual provision in the by-law. This has been confirmed with the officials who drafted the by-law.”
Gifted Knight, a biker’s club, has also raised concerns that less motorcycles on the roads will lead to more congestion. “It will be more traffic on the road as motorcycles were never really part of traffic congestion. It will mean we have to travel by car as our motorcycles are not able to ride at 20km/h. They’ll overheat and break down. The proposal is definitely ill-advised,” club president Sidney Petersen told IOL. “It could be dangerous because bikers get rear-ended very easily.”