Cyclists have been in a state of euphoria since the Cape Town municipality announced they would be creating dedicated bicycle lanes in and around the city. The City of Cape Town is one of the first municipalities in South Africa to advocate the need for bicycle lanes, which not only provide a slight relief in highly congested traffic locations but also provide safety for the thousands of leisure and commuter cyclists using roads every day.
The cycle path from Cape Town to Table View is the first of its kind in South Africa and stretches along the coastline from Table View, through Milnerton, successfully avoiding the highway through the harbour to the Foreshore. Cycling enthusiasts and those trying tirelessly to promote cycling as a means of transportation in and around the city are encouraged by the changes.
Many cyclists have been campaigning for the municipality to adopt a ‘bicycle friendly’ outlook such as experienced in Europe, and more recently in major cities in the US, such as New York. Bicycle culture has spread like wildfire and has finally reached our distant shores, a culture now receiving an injection of worldwide support due to the devastating effects of exhaust fumes on global warming.
For residents of Table View and Milnerton, suburban areas just North of the city, the bicycle lanes in Cape Town have created a much needed solution to the two to three hours of traffic they have long endured. One cyclist reports that the commute that has taken him 60 minutes by car, spanning a distance of only 15km’s, now takes him only 40 minutes by bicycle. He remarks that there is no better feeling than cruising past the bumper-to-bumper traffic he used to sit in on the way home, before the bicycle lanes were built.
Bicycle enthusiasts hope the bicycle lanes will inspire other municipalities to follow suit, creating a healthier attitude towards cycling in South Africa and promoting transport for all. Perhaps soon we’ll be seeing more beautifully dressed men and women, cycling to work in all their finery, such as witnessed in Paris and Copenhagen.