Traffic services fine electric riders

Is there enough space on the promenade for everyone?

The City’s Traffic Services have come down hard on those using electric-powered scooters and cycles on the Promenade.

On Friday March 18, a number of people were fined, and the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, has reiterated that, in terms of national legislation, it is an offence to use electric or motorised vehicles on the walkway.

“Electric vehicles were fined for driving on the promenade/sidewalk.

“Two pedal cyclists received notices for riding on a sidewalk. These are infringements in terms of the National Road Traffic Act. It must also be noted that the Traffic Service has also liaised with the companies hiring out electric vehicles, informing them that these are not allowed on a public road if they are not properly licensed,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith adds that the purpose of this notice, in terms of Section 341 of Act 51 of 1977, is to inform an accused that they might be prosecuted for a charge, unless they pay a fine within 30 days of receiving the notice.

The Atlantic Sun reported earlier this month on the City’s proposal that no e-bikes, e-scooters, or motorised devices be allowed on the promenade, neither on the sidewalk on the sea side of Beach Road (“Plan to ban wheels from promenade”, Atlantic Sun, March 17).

By the time this story was published, Electrek, the company that hires out the electric-powered vehicles had not responded to our request for comment.

In a separate incident on the same day at the promenade, a cyclist, Nicole Meth, claims that an unidentified officer “harassed” her before she cycled on the promenade.

Ms Meth tweeted, “When I questioned what law and asked him to show me, he told me I must obey what he says. I asked if he told me to do a handstand, must I? He showed me a law from 2003 or something, before the no cycling signs were removed from prom.”

Rob Quintas, the city’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, said they were unaware of this incident and would investigate the assertion once they had received more information.

“As for the Sea Point Promenade, this recreational space is currently being used by pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, etc. The proposal that is currently out for public participation is that the promenade should be turned into a pedestrian-only zone,” said Mr Quintas.

“While sidewalks are for the exclusive use of pedestrians, sidewalks can be shared by pedestrians and cyclists only once the City has implemented the required road markings and appropriate signage as set out in the South African Traffic Signs Manual (SARTSM),” he added.

Last Saturday (March 26) a group of 50 people on non-motorised vehicles gathered at the promenade to express their interest in using the space for bicycle riders, skateboarders and roller skaters of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Ward 54 councillor Nicola Jowell addressed their concerns, but at the time this story was published, we were unable to get more information about this.

“Ideally, we would love to see something like in Miami Beach, where cyclists are allowed on the promenade if they go slowly, but where there is also a bi-directional bike lane made on a lane of road reclaimed from cars,” said Jared Chaitowitz, the co-owner of Upcycle.

“If you take a bird’s eye view of the promenade, there is literally so much space from the sidewalk, across the grass and to the sea wall, for a bike lane of sorts. Don’t forget there’s also six lanes for cars on Beach Road,” he said.

Mr Chaitowitz added that the City’s proposal was not a solution that would make things safer at all.

“Ideally, the City would go back to the drawing board, consult with real experts in non-motorised transport, shared space and stakeholders like ourselves, and come up with the kind of solution that allows the Promenade to remain a genuinely shared public space, on which all users feel safe, seen and welcome,” he said.

Residents and users of the promenade are encouraged to submit their views on this proposal by April 10.

Comments can also be submitted online by emailing transport.info@capetown.gov.za and quoting reference number: 7200334254

Skateboarders are often seen on the promenade.