OUT of concern for all road users, and particularly the cyclists who use Marine Drive from Schoenmakerskop to Summerstrand for early morning exercise, I appeal to cyclists not to create a "bus" of 60 to 80 riders – and ride three and sometimes four abreast. The extent of the "bus" varies from 80 to 100m – with cyclists sometimes overtaking each other and often straddling both lanes.
I believe their confidence in the vehicle road users is misplaced, as when encountering them there is no way, on such a winding road, that one can pass without jeopardising the safety of the cyclists, or on choosing to overtake, risking a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle.
The alternative is to stay behind them and travel at 30 to 40km/h from Schoenies to Summerstrand – an expectation that very few South African drivers will adhere to! On attempting to overtake them they hurl abuse at you, and probably rightly so, as they fear for their safety...and so do I (and thus the letter), and for my safety and those of my passengers!
I am all for their right to use this lovely scenic route to exercise. However, the greatest risk for the early morning road user, whether running, cycling or driving, is the state that I see people driving on their way home from a night out and this concerns me most.
Apart from this, a completely sober driver just has to make a poor judgment call, by either losing patience or wrongly assessing the time to overtake the "bus".
Surely, like other cyclists using the route, the organisers of this larger training ride can split the "bus" into smaller groups and so limit the risk that they expose themselves to. At this stage, the organisers are demanding sole use of the road, an action that is illegal and needless.
Paradoxically, they will be the first to decry motorists as being reckless should an accident happen.
Perhaps this is a case where, in the interests of all road users, Ironman SA can seek to educate cyclists and motorists alike through awareness campaigns and visible safety reminders/guidelines along the Ironman route?
Concerned road user (name supplied), Port Elizabeth