Mr President, let us ride again: cyclists promise to implement strict rules

A cycling association has asked to be allowed to ride during the lockdown and promises strict conditions that would promote health and fight the coronavirus.
Image: 123RF
Cycling once daily, close to home for short distances, is the pitch to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday by the Pedal Power Association (PPA).

Ramaphosa said on Thursday night that physical exercise would be allowed, as lockdown restrictions are eased from May 1, but did not provide details.

The cycling organisation’s chairperson Rens Rezelman said it had submitted a proposal to the presidency to have cycling allowed under lockdown.

“For cyclists, these times are exceptionally frustrating and like the rest of the population, there are many who are extremely worried, and justifiably so, about how their jobs and personal incomes are going to be affected by Covid-19. Despite our personal and varying opinions on the matter, South Africa has to abide by strict lockdown measures and will have to do so for quite some time,” Rezelman said.

Based on international practice, the PPA said, it believed that limited and regulated cycling activity had numerous benefits that outweighed the risks associated with the activity.

  • cycle in groups of more than two people (and both cyclists need to reside at the same dwelling);
  • cycle for more than two hours;
  • cycle further than 20km from their home; and
  • cycle more than once a day if cycling recreationally.

Rezelman said all other safety aspects such as wearing helmets; having rear lights; ensuring visibility; not riding solo for crime-related reasons; adhering to the rules of road; and social distancing would apply.

From a commuter perspective, the PPA believes that by using a bicycle as opposed to crowded public transport options, the spread of Covid-19 can further be reduced.

“The PPA would like to encourage those who have bicycles to use them instead of public transport. We would also like to ask those who have old bicycles to donate them to people who could really use them to be economically mobile,” Rezelman said.

“Cycling is a healthy pastime and regular exercise helps improve the immune system,”he said.

TimesLIVE

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