Joburg needs proper infrastructure to become a bike-friendly cityNovember 21, 2022
It was Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Islanders which first took a dip at cricket, describing participants as “flannelled fools”.
After yesterday’s traffic disruptions caused by “Ride Joburg”, many residents might wonder if cyclists are “lycra’d fools”.
Yet the estimated 15 000 pedallers, who yesterday brought parts of the city to a standstill, are a healthy sign that Johannesburg does have the potential to build its own, iconic sporting event.
It’s never going to be in the realm of the Tour de France, but our own city cycle race could, if marketed properly, send out an entirely different image of this, the wealthiest city on the African continent.
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We doubt there are many other mass-participating cycle events held at such a high altitude so that already sets us apart.
However, while we should acknowledge the power of such an event to market our city in a positive way, we should also lament the almost total lack of support for cycling and cyclists by our metro.
Cycling offers the benefits of zero-emission commuting and the positives for personal health are obvious.
But to become a bike-friendly city, we need proper, safe infrastructure as well as a campaign to educate motorists that the two-wheeled brigade are not fools.