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The City of Johannesburg is planning to turn Johannesburg into a cycle-friendly city and has started to establish safe cycling paths in numerous suburbs.
Esther Letlhaka, spokesperson for the city’s transport department, told Tourism Update that a new cycling route from Orlando to Noordgesig would be launched as early as next month. A feasibility study for a 20km cycling route from Rosebank to Sandton through Melrose Arch and Parkview is also under way, with the results expected to be published in September.
The cycling paths will involve the establishment of separate lanes, new signage, lighting, benches and proper pavements. All Gautrain, Metrorail and Rea Vaya stations as well as a significant number of taxi facilities will have safe bike storage facilities and possibly service stations for bike repair. To ensure the safety of cyclists, the city is investing in upgraded lighting and CCTV.
Lisa Seftel, Executive Director of Transport for Johannesburg City, says a bike-sharing scheme is also on the cards for the near future. “In Soweto there are a number of bike share/bike rent schemes that are already available for tourists. They would be able to use these bikes on the dedicated bike lanes as well as to tourist destinations in Soweto such as Vilakazi Street.”
According to Laura Vercueil, spokesperson for Johannesburg Tourism, the cycling paths will definitely have a positive effect on tourism to the city. She says the demand for cycling and walking experiences in Johannesburg has increased tremendously during the past year.
Adriano Mellenberg, GM Taks Tour and Explore Africa do Sul in Brazil, welcomed the initiative, saying it would undoubtedly appeal to international travellers. He warns, however, that the safety aspect is of the utmost importance to ensure the success of the project. “It’s important that international travellers feel safe. Johannesburg needs to show more and more of its vibrant and interesting attractions.”