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Monday Aug 13, 2012

Durban's new cycle lanes have residents on their bikes

A further route, along Riverside Road in Durban North, is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

Cyclists test the new cycle lane.

Dave Wiseman, of Dave Wiseman Cycles and Hobbies - who managed the SA cycling team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics - said the new routes were good for promoting cycling.

"People will be encouraged to cycle in Durban, and it will be better with these dedicated lanes," said Wiseman.

Cycle networks are being designed around the city to encourage residents and tourists to use non-motorised means of transport to reduce carbon emissions.

Apart from the revamped beachfront that attracts cyclists by the hundreds, the cycle route extends to the Blue Lagoon.

A new cycle lane across the Ellis Brown viaduct of the Ruth First M4 northern freeway has been built at a cost of R10 million, and work is under way along Riverside Road in Durban North for a lane that runs parallel to the Umgeni River bank towards the Umgeni River Bird Park.

Other cycle routes that were quickly established prior to the city hosting the COP17 climate change conference at the end of last year cost about R6m.

The eThekwini municipality hopes that eventually the cycle routes will go beyond the city’s boundaries and link suburbs from Umlazi in the south to uMhlanga in the north.

Wiseman said the routes were good for leisure cyclists, not commuting to work, and the biggest factor was safety.

"People are always concerned about accidents; a few years back there were several hit-and-runs which was bad for the cycling community," said Wiseman.

And this was especially so along the busy Riverside Road.

Some concerns, said Wiseman, was whether the lane was for two-way cycling, what safety barriers would there be, and how cyclists would turn around once they got to Umgeni River Bird Park.

Carlos Esteves, deputy head of roads system management at the municipality, said the lane was a "mixed-use bi-direction lane", and would be separated by a kerb and bollards.

"Ramps on to and off the bridge ends [the M4 bridge] are being provided and will have appropriate rails," he said.

Esteves added that the bird park end would have an area where a turn-about occurred, and that the upgrade of that area would be a subsequent project once demand was established.

Cyclist Chris Potgieter, who works at Wiseman’s shop, said he rode from his home in Yellowwood Park to Durban. Commenting on the new lanes, he said: "The route is good and will encourage social cyclists."

The Independent on Saturday

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