Stuart Pickering's picture

Are cyclists our own worst enemy?

It is not often that I write an article knowing that I am going to get taken to task but I feel this one will do it!

On my way to ride last weekend had to try and overtake a group of guys riding four abreast along a busy dual carriageway.  A car in front of me, also a cyclist, hooted the group to which he was provided with enough hand signals and bad language to last a long time!

For those who are not familiar with South Africa, in the north of Johannesburg we are very lucky to have an area “The Cradle of Humankind” which has great roads with nice wide cycle lanes and now spring has well and truly sprung, a lot of cyclists on their  morning rides.

On my days off from writing and following cycling I like to visit a local hostelry which is also frequented by the “biker” guys  who also like to cruise through the “Cradle” on their breakfast runs, and for a long time I have spent hours defending our cyclists position, but alas no more!

In the last few weeks I have seen more inconsiderate cyclist behavior than ever before and there is no way I can justify how cyclists are riding in what should be “our safe place”


The list is endless:

Big groups of club riders, two three and four abreast blocking traffic. Why is it the biggest and most well-known clubs think they rule the road?  It would appear when rider numbers get into the double digits groups just forget basic road rules and decency.

Why do I not mention names?  We all know who I am talking about ….

But it is not just the clubs. 

If you are riding as a couple the cycle lane is wide enough for both of you, one rider does not need to be in the middle of the road, move over! 

Great to see groups of friends out enjoying the beautiful weather, but why do you stop “en mass” to chat and block the cycle lane and so all following have to move into the middle of the road.

If you have a puncture move off to the side of the road.

Do you really need a support vehicle to follow one amateur rider and create more traffic?

Let’s now discuss the amount of litter dropped on the roads, absolutely no excuse, take it home with you even if it is a sticky gel wrapper, it’s yours!

Riders you have arms, try using them for hand signals, it can’t be that difficult to take a hand off your handlebars can it? And it really helps other road users.

Here is a good idea, if you are crossing the flow of traffic especially where numbers stop to rest and take a drink, look first before doing a U turn in front of other cyclists.

Even worse there were reports today of a cyclist physically and verbally abusing one of the local residents, there really is no reason for that kind of behavior!

Over the next few weeks leading up to Telkom 947 these roads which we love and are so lucky to have access to, will get a lot busier, if we all stick to these simple rules it will help everybody!

The local residents "loath" the cyclists and we are seeing a growing number of incidents that dangerous to all parties.

It is time this stopped and if we as the cycling community take the lead so much the better for all.  Sadly I feel my words will fall of deaf ears!



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