The Herald VW Cycle Tour, with the Pedal Power Association (PPA), has launched the Eastern Cape leg of the 'Safe Cycling' campaign in Port Elizabeth this week.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)
The national awareness and lobbying campaign encourages motorists to keep a 1.5m distance from cyclists. According to The Herald's chief marketing officer, Justin Peel, creating a safe cycling environment is critical for both cyclists and motorists alike.
A 10m billboard had been erected on the corner of Strandfontein Road and La Roche Drive in Port Elizabeth and on the outgoing road towards Uitenhage. The core message 'cyclists stay alive at 1.5m', will be reiterated on lamp-pole advertising on major cycling routes throughout the city.
PPA chairman Stephen Hayward said the recommended distance was in line with international best practice. "What we're trying to do is make motorists more aware of cyclists. It's a matter of tolerance; we're not trying to force it down anyone's throat."
A first step
Hayward said the Western Cape became the first provincial government to sign it into law in November last year. "They've only given us one metre but that's the first step. That means that anyone who hits a cyclist in that province is now going to face the law."
He said the Eastern Cape cycling event, which takes place in Addo and PE on 1 and 2 February, provides the ideal platform for launching their national lobbying campaign. "If we can get every province to do what the Western Cape has done, it will go a long way in saving lives. Our plan is to take part in road races in every province and to hold a memorial ride ahead of each race in memory of those cyclists who have died."
The 'Safe Cycling' campaign, which was first launched in February 2012, gained nationwide momentum after mountain biking champion Burry Stander was killed during a training ride on 3 January last year.
Hayward said the cause was also personal to him, as his brother-in-law had been knocked down and killed while out training in PE. He said the date for the local memorial ride had not yet been finalised.
He encouraged participants to order their branded cycling shirts from the PPA website to create maximum visibility on race day. In addition, all cycle tour participants will receive free vehicle bumper stickers in their goodie bags. Among the goodie bag items will be a full-colour souvenir race booklet, courtesy of official printing sponsor Bukani Print.
Managing director, Iqbal Sain said the company was proud of its long-standing relationship with the weekend festival of cycling. "Our participation is part of our commitment and social responsibility to the environment in which we operate our business and raise our families."
Both avid sportsmen and runners, Sain and business partner Alan Taylor had thrown their weight behind the safety campaign. "Our involvement in a number of sporting events over the years has been a big part of the culture we encourage at Bukani. We aspire for Port Elizabeth to be a chosen destination for many more sporting events."
Sain said printed communications - which included posters, flyers and entry forms - still played an essential role in the event. "Just imagine telling participating cyclists to view their medals electronically. Having a booklet, like a medal, acts as a memento and adds that human touch which society is sadly learning to do without."
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