Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the City’s transport authority, will soon publish a draft Cycling Strategy which aims to increase the percentage of commuter trips made by bicycle from the current 1% to 8% by 2032. Cycling as a viable and safe means of transport in Cape Town is thus one of the key discussion points at the five-day Mobility Indaba which commences at the Kenilworth Racecourse tomorrow, 6 October 2016.

The Mobility Indaba coincides with Transport Month, and is hosted by the Consulate-General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in collaboration with TCT, Wesgro, and Accelerate Cape Town. The Indaba brings together thought leaders in business and government, activists, and non-motorised transport stakeholders who will, in collaboration with Dutch experts, draft a sustainable mobility action plan for the city.
 
‘We are extremely excited to be taking part in the indaba. I am confident that we will gain useful insights from the Dutch who are world leaders when it comes to creating sustainable cities within a geographically confined environment. Although the City of Cape Town has committed substantial resources over the past decade or so to creating a cycling-friendly city, we have not succeeded as yet in convincing more residents to accept and use cycling as a legitimate mode of transport. The city’s existing cycle network now covers at least 450 km of cycle lanes. Also, cycle lanes and walkways are installed if there is space to do so wherever the City constructs new roads or undertakes major refurbishment of existing roads. Although some of these lanes are popular for recreational cycling in particular, we still have not seen the growth in commuter cycling we are aiming for. As such, we are looking forward to the engagements with cycling experts over the next few days,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
 
Discussions during the first two days of the Mobility Indaba will focus on rethinking the way people move in the city and how we can contribute to Cape Town’s long-term sustainability by opting for non-motorised transport (NMT) as opposed to using private vehicles for travelling to work, school, shopping centres, etc.
 
‘Walkways and cycle lanes form an integral part of all of the City’s current and future transport planning. One of the biggest challenges we are currently facing is traffic congestion. Some expect the City to simply keep on providing new road infrastructure to alleviate congestion, however, new roads alone will not solve this challenge. We need our residents to also do their part and to start changing the way they travel. More sustainable travelling choices such as public transport, carpooling, or working flexi-time – as is proposed in our draft Travel Demand Management Strategy which is currently available for public comment – must be considered. Sustainable travelling choices include cycling and this will be addressed in our draft Cycling Strategy which will be ready for public comment within the next eight weeks,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
Cycling has numerous advantages: it is cheap, environmentally friendly, and is a healthy alternative to private vehicles for trips of 10 km or less.
 
‘We need residents to use bicycles for shorter trips and we need our motorists to accept cycling as a legitimate mode of transport – thus, that cyclists are also entitled to use the city’s roads. We also want to encourage cycling tourism so that visitors can explore our city on bicycles. Cycling as a mode of commuter transport can contribute to alleviating traffic congestion if more residents opt for bicycles where possible and practical,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
Turning cycling into a popular mode of transport (as opposed to it being a largely recreational activity), the ability to ride, access to bicycles, safe routes, integration with other modes of transport, and behavioural changes will be discussed at the indaba.
 
‘Our draft Cycling Strategy will propose alternative approaches for cultivating a cycling culture in Cape Town. We will also make a business case of how a cycling culture can assist our local economy. For example, we want to explore possibilities of a bicycle manufacturing plant and a bike-share system – but then we need our residents to take to the streets and to start a cycling revolution. As such, we are looking forward to learning from the Dutch at the Mobility Indaba and to engaging with the local business community and cycling community about solutions and entrepreneurial possibilities,’ said Councillor Herron.
 
The Mobility Indaba is open to the public on 8 and 9 October 2016 between 09:30 and 16:30. Some of the action the public can look forward to include a Monster MBX and Skate Show, a Cycle Safety School where children can navigate their way on an obstacle course, as well as a Repair-my-Bike workshop where visitors can learn to change a flat tyre or put the chain back on. The public can also donate the bicycles they no longer need at the Pedal Power Association Pump Track at the Kenilworth Racecourse for distribution to communities who can make use of these bicycles.
 
Interested parties can visit www.mobilityindaba.co.za for more information.