- Cycling in South Africa with a panic button in your pocket is a quick and effective way of securing assistance from armed response teams within minutes of triggering your device
- Keep your eyes peeled on both pedestrians and motorists when cycling as unusual motorist activity may be an indication of a potential bicycle hijacking operation
- If you are ever in a tragic bicycle hijacking, resist the urge to fight back and rather respond calmly to the criminal’s instructions and hand over your bike and belongings
- Always avoid common risk areas, such as dangerous roads and high-crime suburbs – information you will find online or via your Facebook community group
Cycling is a popular recreational hobby among casual enthusiasts, a viable career opportunity for professionals like Nicholas Dlamini, who recently undertook the pinnacle of competitive cycling, the Tour de France, and a mode of transportation for many South Africans without access to private vehicles. Cycling in South Africa appeals to people from all walks of life and, although cyclists get a bad rap from motorists, they risk their safety every time they get on a bike. Bike theft, bicycle hijackings, roadside crashes, among other things threaten the lives of cyclists daily. There is no better time than now for our cyclists to equip themselves with the tools and knowledge necessary to stay safe on our South African roads.
Beyond adhering to all of the cycling rules, regulations, and laws outlined by Arrive Alive, the following 5 best road safety tips for cyclists will help you stay safe when you’re pedalling around the streets of South Africa.
1. Safe Cycling in South Africa With a Panic Button in Your Pocket
Armed Response apps and panic buttons are becoming critical safety tools in all areas of life, particularly for adventurers and individuals who spend their free time outdoors. Cyclists in South Africa are among the long list of active individuals who should consider the addition of an armed response app or panic button when they are out on the roads.
Armed Response Apps vs Panic Buttons for Cyclists
The best security companies should offer both armed response apps and panic buttons for total safety with new, on-demand security technology. Secura prides itself in providing active South Africans with a variety of security products designed to mitigate security threats on our roads, in our homes, and in workplaces. But, what is the perfect product for cyclists in South Africa?
2. Remain Vigilant of Unusual Motorist Activity
An efficient and effective panic button should be the go-to choice for cyclists as it is incredibly easy to activate from a riding position. Whether placed in your pocket or attached to your handlebars, cyclists can quickly trigger the alert button from a seated position when threatened. Within minutes, a reliable armed security team will arrive on the scene thanks to tracking software installed in the device.
Bicycle hijackings continue to plague South African streets, and many cyclists fall victim to smart criminals developing new tactics to target unsuspecting riders. A common strategy employed by these criminals is to bump or knock the cyclists down with a vehicle, at which point they jump out and steal the bike and belongings of the injured individual. It is essential that cyclists remain vigilant of their surroundings and not only take note of pedestrian activity but motorist activity while on the roads. As a best practice, regularly check behind you and to your sides to ensure that you are not being followed. Always pull over as far left as possible to allow cars to quickly pass you. And, keep your eyes peeled for narrowed detours that would allow you to subtly veer off along paths inaccessible to vehicles.
3. Let Go of Your Bike and Belongings
Criminals are agitated quickly and can become hostile when cyclists are not responsive to their orders during a hijacking. If you are ever in this devastating situation then rather calmly step away from your bicycle and allow the criminals to take your belongings off of you. Avoid making sudden movements like reaching behind your back to pull out your wallet as this can come off as a threatening sign towards the criminals, who may react aggressively. Never put up a fight as your life is far more valuable than your bicycle and belongings.
4. Avoid Common Danger Zones
It is tragic to note that more and more common areas are becoming cycling risk zones for morning and afternoon riders. Unfortunately, one should avoid these particular areas at all costs and develop new routes in busier neighbourhoods where more people are visible should anything tragic occur. According to Business Tech, the following roads remain the most dangerous for motorists and cyclists alike:
- R71 Mankweng in Limpopo
- R573 Umhlanga in Mpumalanga
- N4 Nelspruit in Mpumalanga
- N2 Libode in Eastern Cape
- N1 Naboomspruit in Limpopo
- N2 Umkhomazi in KwaZulu Natal
- N2 Pongola in KwaZulu Natal
- N2 Idutywa in Eastern Cape
- R37 in Mecklenburg
- N3 Harrismith in the Free State
If you are not aware of the safety on roads within particular districts and suburbs, please consult your community group on Facebook for greater insight into the threat levels nearby your favourite routes for cycling in South Africa.
5. Ride at the Right Times
Our final tip is to ensure that you cycle in safer areas at safer times of the day. Avoid setting off on a trip before the sun has come up or after the sun has gone down as, not only will you be less visible to motorists but, you will be more vulnerable to night-time opportunity attacks.
From cycling with a trustworthy panic button in your pocket or attached to your handlebars to avoiding dangerous roads and areas, the 5 tips above are critical road safety guidelines cyclists should follow to stay safe out on the South African streets.