Scant regard for traffic

CM O’Reilly, Milkwood Park

I wish to bring to your attention something I believe to be a serious problem with regard to road safety.

Over the last year or so there has been a steadily increasing number of people involved in scrambler bicycle racing on the verge of Black Hill Road opposite and just above the entrance to Stonehaven.

I am sure there are road laws about clear strips along the sides of national and public roads where building of structures is not allowed, and also rules about parking along such roads on the hard shoulder.

On many afternoons and weekends there are cars and bakkies parked there, sometimes even over the yellow lines and projecting into the road. People are riding their bikes on the track they have built, but there are also spectators/ friends/ family moving to and fro, sometimes into the road with scant regard for passing traffic on this busy road. Cyclists are at times working on their bikes on the side of the road as well, with traffic speeding by.

It would be inter-esting to know whether the traffic police are aware of this situation. If they are, I would suggest that they are derelict in their responsibility for the safety of all persons using this road.

It would be interesting to know too what rules exist concerning what has developed there.

Is there a process that should be followed to apply for permission to do what has been done, and what controls should be in place to verify that what happens is in accordance with what (if anything) was approved by the relevant authorities?

I have no axe to grind with those involved. They have every right to enjoy their sport of choice, but in safe conditions for themselves and their general public.

My biggest fear is that it will not be long before we hear of something tragic happening there.

* JP Smith, Mayoral committee member for safety and security, responds:

The City of Cape Town’s Traffic Service is not aware of the situation described by the writer.

We will, however, investigate and take action if necessary.

While we are committed to ensuring the safety of road users and the public in general, we do not have the resources to be everywhere all of the time and rely heavily on residents to bring things to our attention.

We therefore appeal to the public to report any transgressions or concerns to us on 021 596 1999 to help us direct our enforcement efforts.

* Felicity Purchase, chairperson, Sub-council 19, responds:

This track was developed in consultation with the roads engineers and parks officials as a sub-council project after the mountains were closed to the public after the fires of March last year by SANParks.

There had always been an informal mountain bike track on the Black Hill western road reserve for about six years and the need to improve it was identified. It is part of a plan we have to establish mountain bike tracks all around the south peninsula in order to provide adequate recreational space for our residents.

The plan will be to take it eventually all the way to Glencairn and then also behind Sun Valley on the Chapmans Bay side.

I am not sure what the resident’s concerns are, but if he feels it is unsafe I would like to understand his reasoning to try and address the issue.

Bollards as a barrier could be placed on Black Hill if necessary, but it has not been identified as a requirement at this stage.