Additional safety measures are set to be introduced to protect our most vulnerable road users, those using bicycles on public roads, it was announced in Parliament on Thursday.
To ensure that all bicycles are roadworthy, bicycles will be subject to an annual roadworthy test and then licensed accordingly, the portfolio committee on road safety and security said. It is intended that every bike in South Africa be registered. The committee has proposed an annual bicycle licence fee of R350.
Bicycle riders will also have to pass a bicycle rider test – adapted from the motor vehicle K53 driver’s test – to qualify for a bicycle driver’s licence. The licence would be valid for three years.
These measures are designed to bring bicycle riders into a regulated space where some measure of control can be exerted to reduce the hazards bicycle riders face on a daily basis.
“There is no justification for allowing bicycles to be exempt from the general rules of the road,” a spokeswoman from the Department of Transport said.
The DA said theye were happy that bicycle licence revenue would accrue to the provincial and not central government.
The DA pledged that all bicycle licence revenue generated in DA-controlled provinces would be used solely to provide and maintain cycling infrastructure.
“It was told to us that this initiative is a giant step forward to improving the life of the poor. Nothing will make us wobble in our determination to make a success of this.”
Sanral, however, insist that all road-related revenue should flow to them and have threatened legal action to challenge this aspect of the proposal.
We will wheel in our big guns,” Sanral spokesman Cannon Dale said.
The KZN provincial legislature are pleased with the proposal and look forward to improving bicycle infrastructure in KZN and in particular the uThungulu district. “We are gearing up to provide everyone with equal opportunity to move freely throughout the district in a quest for a better life. We are committed to snapping the chain of poverty,” a senior official said.
The EFF have however voiced concern that this was yet another free-wheeling opportunity for the ANC “Premier League” to enrich themselves. “Cycling issues are not a priority for the EFF. We need to stop the cycle of corruption in this government.”
La Cotter Pin of Cope said: “We are tyred of the ongoing attempts by the ANC government to accumulate ever more wealth at the expense of the man in the street. This is just a patch job and avoids dealing with the critical problems facing our country today. #Bikesmustfall.”
The ANC has dismissed the criticism of the proposed licences. A senior ANC insider said: “They never see anything good in any initiative of the ANC, only because it is an initiative of the ANC.
“Well, the opposition better understand that we are a determined bunch leading the country and we will cross the finish line together, committed to making a success of this project. We will not deviate from our chosen course. No one will puncture our resolve to see this through to a successful conclusion.”