Mr Mayor, we appeal to you to help make Windhoek safe for cyclists! – President Cycling Federation
“The Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan of 2013 created an expectation that by now the City of Windhoek would have made significant progress in providing for Non-Motorised Transport” said the President of the Namibian Cycling Federation, Rolf Adrian (left) when on Thursday morning this week, he presented a petition to the Mayor, His Worship Muesee Kazapua, for a network of cycling lanes to crisscross the city.
“We the undersigned hereby urgently request the City of Windhoek, the Ministry of Works and Transport and the National Assembly to create a network of demarcated, protected cycle lanes and routes throughout the city, with an urgent focus on the western and northern suburbs, and with the long-term aim of making Windhoek a bicycle-friendly city,” reads the petition signed by more than 2000 Windhoek residents in just six weeks after it was launched in September last year.
“We believe it is a true expression of the wish of many Windhoek residents who would like to use a bicycle for transport or recreation, but who find conditions on our streets highly intimidating at present. We have moreover noted that progressive cities around the world are making proper provision for cyclists because of the economic, health and environmental benefits,” stated Adrian when he presented the petition to the Mayor.
Fleshing out the Cycling Federation’s vision of a safer cycling environment, Adrian continued “Our view is that the provision for safer cycling in Windhoek could be expedited by rapidly identifying a network of cycle routes throughout the city. Along all these routes there should be appropriate signage and markings on the road to create awareness of cyclists If the road is wide enough, lines should be painted on the left of the road to indicate the space allocated to cyclists. This can be done quickly and at relatively low cost, and would clearly indicate the principle that roads must cater for a mix of users, not just cars.”
On the intention of banning cycling on the B1 where it bypasses Windhoek, Adrian said “Nothing should be done to exclude cyclists from the Western Bypass until such time as a separate cycle path has been built to the west of the Bypass. Attempts to bar cyclists from this route without an alternative solution would probably cause serious conflict with cyclists.”
Finally, Adrian noted that cycling as a means of transport will be boosted by proper bicycle parking bays at all large buildings in the central business district. The City can provide the lead, he suggested, by being the first to construct appropriate and safe parking facilities for bicycles at all municipal buildings.