Rights and responsibilities of cyclists

The rights and responsibilities of cyclists on South African Roads

16 April 2019 – BY MR KEAGHAN TATE (ARTICLE CLERK AT GERT NEL INC.)

The National Traffic Act 93 of 1996 and the National Road Traffic Regulations outline the rights and duties of cyclists on the South African road network. Such provisions include required safety gear, designated and legal riding paths as well as standard rules of the road that apply to both motorists and cyclists alike.

In terms of the above-mentioned act, cyclists have specific rights and responsibilities conferred upon them when using national public roads. The act specifically states the following: It is illegal for a cyclist to ride without a helmet, the bicycle must be fitted with at least one brake, must have a lamp on the front and must have a retro-reflector on the front and back of the cycle. In terms of pathways, cyclists must stop at a red traffic light and give way to pedestrians, must ride on the left of the road, must be seated on the saddle at all times, must not deliberately swerve from side to side and multiple cyclists must ride single file at all times. Cyclists are cautioned to ride in designated lanes if the public road has such markings. Most importantly, in terms of regulation 323 of the act, cyclists are further strictly prohibited from riding on freeways.

The provisions outlined in the act are implemented solely to protect cyclists from potential impact or collision with motor vehicles. If the provisions of the National traffic at are contravened, the cyclist may be prosecuted in terms of the Act. In the alternative, Cyclists who were involved in an accident which was not caused by their sole negligence may in fact claim from the Road Accident Fund.

Therefore, it is clear that cyclists have very similar rights and responsibilities to motorists on national roads as they are both protected by the enacted legislation and may be covered by the Road Accident Funds in accidents that were not their fault. Further, they may also be prosecuted for contravention of the provisions set out in the Act, towards motorists and cyclists alike.

 

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