January 29, 2013

Commuting in SA

Brussels Express from Sander Vandenbroucke on Vimeo.

This video came to me via a mate this morning on our Tuesday Classic ride. It reflected so well for me on South African cycling and the environment we, as cyclists, tackle on a day-to-day basis. Our congestion is not nearly as bad here in CT, but for Jozi & Durban, Pretoria and many other major cities, this reflects what cyclists are facing.

Cycling is a joyous experience. Bike transport is becoming more and more important. Messenger services like these are hugely important as cities become more clogged.

The gurlfrang was explaining something she picked up in Jozi on her last trip. She mentioned that nobody mentioned how far anything was. Only time taken. It’s purely because of traffic. Something is 30-40min away, whether it’s 8 or 30km away. Here, in Cape Town, we still go by distance because traffic is at a minimum. Sure, I choose to live in town and drive against traffic in the mornings and afternoons whereas many people sit in traffic for 30-60minutes a day, but I know of people in Pretoria who spend upwards of 3 hours a day driving to work and back. It works out to a month per year, they spend travelling to work and back.

It blows my mind.

As South Africans, we need to collectively stand together to relay the importance of the commuting culture in our near future. Our roads are some of the most disorderly I have ever experienced in the whole world. We are all to blame – talking on cellphones, texting while driving, reading email while at the traffic lights. This is our creation and it’s up to us to stop this behaviour.

I love the #commutingfriday movement and I don’t commute enough, so this is as much my game as it is yours. In CT, we have enough space and bike lanes to commute. Folks in Jozi don’t have that luxury. It’s time we stood up and used the bike lanes to their full effect.

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