The strategy aims to create a culture of cycling and includes proposals for a bike manufacturing plant and bike-share system. Industry associations such as Accelerate Cape Town and Pedal Power Association (PPA) believe this is a move in the right direction to both reduce congestion and grow the local economy.
PPA chief executive Robert Vogel says he is excited that the City is actively seeking to include utility cycling in Cape Town’s transport mix. He says that a bike-share system would be best suited if introduced as part of the city’s bus and train systems, as has been done in the Netherlands.
“The bike-share system allows anyone to rent a bike for a short period of time and payments are made per trip. This is a model that works in urban centres and targets tourists as well as locals and would especially benefit poorer communities who spend large amounts of their income on public transport.” He adds that a bicycle manufacturing plant would only make sense if the number of utility cyclists increases considerably.
“In our opinion, it may be advisable to consider bicycle assembly first, before opting for the manufacturing of bicycles. The sustainability of the (manufacturing) facility is critical, if we want to create sustainable employment opportunities.” He cites safety as the main constraint to cycling. Road hazards, crime and the high cost of bicycles (R2 000 for an entry-level bike) are also major impediments to making this a more popular mode of transport. Other considerations are the long distances many people have to travel to work, not having access to showers and safe bicycle parking and a lack of information on cycle routes.
According to Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Brett Herron, the municipality has committed substantial resources over the past decade to creating a cycling-friendly city. However there was no increase in commuter cycling with cycle lanes mainly used for recreational cycling. Vogel said that this was because less than one percent of Capetonians use bicycles as a means of transport and the city could not be compared to other countries that had taken generations and spent billions on infrastructure and awareness campaigns.