With exciting cycle and trail ride routes just on their doorsteps, Joburg cycling enthusiasts are taking full advantage of the great weather and heading out. Unfortunately criminals are also taking advantage and targeting cyclists in the more remote areas on the outskirts of the city.
Gilbert Hickman, a spokesperson for the Muldersdrift Community Action Group (MCAG), encourages cyclists heading out of the Northern Suburbs towards areas like Muldersdrift to be conscious of their surroundings at all times and preferably cycle in groups.
“There have been recent incidents of theft involving cars and bicycles. It is important for cyclists to be aware of this and make sure they leave their cars and bikes in suitable, guarded areas,” he says.
A number of the hotels in the area like Riverstone, Valverde and Avianto are ‘Cycle friendly’ hotels and offer cyclists the opportunity to leave their cars securely parked at the hotel before heading out. “Be smart and make sure your vehicle is secure. We have seen cases where cyclists have left their keys on a tyre of the car, for example, and criminals have simply driven off with the car. Also make sure any valuables left in the car are out of sight. Or better yet, make sure they aren’t left in the car at all. Remove any temptation that could lead to a window being broken or the car stolen for the goods inside,” he says.
Hickman adds that if you are stopping at one of the numerous venues along the cycle routes for a refreshment make sure you keep your bike in sight and report any suspicious individuals who may be lurking around to the venue owner. “There have been incidents where criminals pose as cyclists and hang around the parking lots watching for opportunities. Be vigilant and don’t be afraid to speak up if you suspect something isn’t quite right.”
Hickman also mentions these top 10 safety tips for cyclists, provided by The Leverage Corporation:
- Always ride with your helmet on and properly fastened
- Comply with traffic regulations
- Ride on the left hand side of the road and in the allocated bike lanes
- Stay within site of your team or partner at all times and rather not cycle alone
- Carry a first aid kit
- Carry enough hydration liquid and nutrition if you are covering long distances
- Carry a cell phone and have an emergency number ready on quick dial
- Download one of the emergency apps like mySOS or cyclemeter
- Have respect for the environment and wildlife
- Be cautious when approaching farming operations and transport vehicles
- Always tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to be back
“We have the most brilliant cycling routes that are there to be enjoyed. By following these simple safety points we can work towards keeping all cyclists safe,” concludes Hickman.