arrive alive


Mountain Biking on open, safe gravel roads can be much more dangerous than any trail

Every now and then there are complaints about the behavior of cyclists on our roads.  Most of the time it was about road cyclists, but this is changing and Mountain Bikers are as guilty these days. Recently we had complaints about our mountain bikers riding in big groups and ignoring basic road rules.

One of the complaints is that riders ride all over the road on public gravel roads where motorists often ride at 100 kilometers an hour. A particular complaint was about riding the Elands River road which is part of the Trans Elands MTB Marathon route coming up.  When motorists approach  blind corners or crest steep hills to find a road filled with cyclists, things can  go wrong quickly.  Farmers use gravel roads at speed and don’t expect to find cyclists.

Let us not hesitate to speak out when we feel someone in our group is doing something stupid that is endangering the lives of everyone.  Most of the time it’s common sense stuff.  Please take note of the following simple things:

  • When riding on public gravel roads you cannot ride both on the left and right hand side of the road.
  • Be attentive and when you hear a car approaching, warn everyone to stay out of the road and all on the left or get off your bike.
  • Don’t hesitate to point out danger.  Some people have common sense when it comes to safety and some not.  Some are just stubborn and reckless.  We don’t need these tipe of riders to endanger a whole group!
  • When riding at night a light at the back of your bike is as important as one in front
  • The powerfull lights we use these days should be properly adjusted as to not blind motorists.  Be considerate at all times.
  • Try not to ride into the sun with sunrise and sunset. It is extremely dangerous as drivers are not always able to spot a cyclists when looking into the sun.
be visible
Mountain Bikers are also road users

Here are some more info and links.  Very good advice to ensure safe riding.  Mountain Bikers are often on public roads, even if it is just to get to a trail.  Jumping the pavement on the way is fun, but it can be dangerous.  Two of the best suggestions is to:

Pretend that you are not visible to motorists

Lose the attitude

Many motorists just don’t like cyclists.  To show them the middle finger each time you get irritated is not going to help one bit. This comment puts it straight but it is exactly how it is: ” …. and riders, I get pissed off when I see you doing things that make the haters hate us more.”

By following the links at the bottom of page, it will provide you with some really good advice to ride safely on the road and trails.

Below are a few interesting comments we found on an old article on Bicycling web page about the new traffic laws for cyclists

“This am at 7.50 it was dull and overcast, there were 2 cyclists next to each other both with “very Little lights at the back” the inside one had a very yellow top the outside on wore black having a chat. a narrow road solid white line, and they were holding up the flow of traffic, i hooted , the outside guy moved over and swore at me as I past and gave me a finger, I am 70 and don’t see why I should repeatedly accept this abuse from cyclists,,, I stopped and confronted them, I was informed that there were no laws against them cycling any where on the road, The outside rider was simply wealthy hooligan, and accident about to happen.”

“i was hit by a car 4 years ago who apparently never saw me “thank god ” only broken wrist and a stapled elbow together with 76% use of arm… trust me obey the rules of the road , forget the crap of riding 2 abreast ( unless road extremely wide) ride single file and look after yourselves ….”

Enjoy Safe Riding



  1. Bicycling: Safety tips, Mzansi style
  2. City of Cape Town: Cycle Safely
  3. Arrive Alive: Cycling Safety Suggestions for South African Conditions
  4. Bicycling: New Traffic Laws Affect Cyclist