Pedal Power to hit Jozi streets
Joburg’s efforts to promote cycling as the most desirable form of transport are gaining traction.
A wide range of initiatives are planned for 2015 to turn it into one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities. The Cycle Jozi from 17 to 22 March will launch a number of activities designed to encourage citizens to convert to “pedal power” as they swap their car keys for bicycle helmets. Activities planned for the coming months will eventually culminate in the EcoMobility Festival to be held in October.
Registration for the Freedom Ride has already opened and more details can be found on www.freedomride.org.za or on the FreedomRideJozi Facebook page.
A two-day SAICE Cycle Jozi Training Workshop for engineers and planners on designing cycling infrastructure will be held on 18-19 March. On Friday, 20 March, the National Department of Transport and partners will host a National Cycle Cities Workshop to bring together planners and bicycle activists from around South Africa to share experiences.
The highlight of the Cycle Jozi Week will be the staging of the Freedom Ride from Alexandra to Sandton on Sunday 22 March to coincide with the annual celebrations of Human Rights Day. Last year’s event attracted more than 4 000 cyclists on the route between the Nelson Mandela Bridge and Soweto. This time organisers say they expect even larger numbers to pedal through the City’s streets.
JohannesburgMayor, Councillor Mpho Parks Tau, can rightly be described as the City’s “First Cyclist”. As an avid cyclist, he has been leading the charge to promote cycling and walking among City residents as viable alternatives to motorised forms of transport.
In addition to the obvious health benefits associated with exercise, cycling also promotes other City objectives such as social cohesion; improved mobility and traffic flows; a reduction in carbon emissions and the broader movement towards a greener and more eco-friendly Johannesburg.
To achieve this transition, the City has already initiated the construction of a number of dedicated cycle lanes and improved sidewalks across Johannesburg. A five-kilometre development in Orlando is complete, while the route linking Alexandra with Sandton and a 20km stretch in Ivory Park will be finished in 2016. Lanes within the Inner City will be built on an ongoing basis.
The MMC for Transport, Councillor Christine Walters, says the City is working closely with cycling organisations and activists to plan the roll-out of future infrastructure. Cycle safety and awareness about the rights of cyclists among other road users are regarded as the top priorities.
During the year, the City will also introduce initiatives to make bikes more available to disadvantaged communities and launch bike sharing and rental schemes to promote its popularity among Joburg residents.
Cycle Jozi, from 17 to 22 March, will focus the attention on non-motorised forms of transport through a range of activities:
• Organised cycle rides at the Universities of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand and from Fourways, along William Nicol Drive, to Diepsloot;
• A two-day seminar in partnership with the SA Institute of Civil Engineering to discuss the construction of cycle lanes;
• The hosting of the National Cycle Cities Conference at the Orlando Stadium;
• The monthly Critical Mass Ride starting in Braamfontein;
• The Freedom Ride from Alexandra to Sandton. Registration for this event has already started and more details can be found on https://www.facebook.com/FreedomRideJozi