Cycling is a top activity for many Capetonians, however, this sport is not as safe as it once was.
According to the chairperson of the Western Province Cycling Association Sharief Peters, there has been a 75% increase in attacks on cyclists since lockdown level 4 eased.
Cyclists have become targets as criminals seek to steal their bicycles and sell them as they can get a lot of money for them. Some have resorted to incredibly violent tactics, using weapons like bricks, knives, panga’s, sticks, guns and pepper spray.
“There was an incident in Scarborough where they crashed into the cyclist with a vehicle and took his bike. Criminals will sometimes pretend to be crossing the road and then attack or attack the slowest rider at the back. Single riders are an easy target,” explains Steve Hayward, spokesperson and chairman of the Pedal Power Association (PPA).
Another cyclist was recently attacked by knife-wielding men in Wynberg along Castle Town Road. The men had jumped across the fence on the railway side, pushed him off his bike and attempted to stab him before taking his bike and phone, which were later recovered. He sustained serious injuries to his leg and arm.
According to the PPA, areas of attacks seem to shift but hotspots include :
– Road passing Ocean View at Imhoff as well as Scarborough
– R44 close to Stellenbosch Square
– R 304
– Johnson Road Belgravia
– Castle Town Road Wynberg
– West Coast Cycle Lane – Woodstock area
– Wetton and Chucker Roads close to Rosmead Ave
As soon as an area is patrolled the attacks stop, says Hayward. These attacks have been increasing since lockdown was enforced in March 2020, and all second-hand bike dealers and the cycling community at large are urged to be on the lookout for anyone trying to sell stolen bicycles and to report it to the authorities.
Hayward also encourages cyclists to ride in groups and not go out alone, as that makes them easy targets.
The PPA reports on hotspot areas via their social media channels to alert cyclists of any potentially dangerous areas they should avoid. There are also many Facebook and WhatsApp groups that post regular updates on hotspot areas to avoid, and cyclists are urged to join these groups to stay abreast of any updates.
Any cyclists who see attacks or are attacked are encouraged to report the incident to the South African Police Service and to notify the PPA.
“The more entities cyclists alert after an attack the better, these include neighbourhood watch groups and security entities,” says the PPA. “The PPA regularly asks authorities to patrol known hotspots and erect signage to warn cyclists of potential danger on routes regularly targeted by criminals.”
Call the Cape Town Metro City Emergency Services Call Centre; dial 107 from a landline and 021 480 7700 from a cell phone as they send out alerts after attacks.