Visualizing a protected intersection in Johannesburg

What could a protected intersection look like in Johannesburg?

In the past few years, we have seen some steady growth in bicycle infrastructure in the city.

Design approaches of bicycle lanes have evolved for the better. Below the earliest bicycle lane design which can easily be scaled over.

Rumble strip separated bicycle lane
Rumble strip separated bicycle lane


The much better curb separated bicycle lane design below.

Cycle track in Hillbrow
Curb separated cycle track


In Alex, just a stones throw from Sandton, there is even a bicycle specific signal.

Green bike signal
Green bike signal

However, we are yet to see a fully protected bicycle intersection. Such an intersection would be especially important at the confluence of arterial routes featuring heavy motor traffic flows.

Stellenbosch, with a much lower population than Johannesburg and heavier motor traffic has one.

Protected intersection in Stellenbosch. Photo courtesy @carltonreid
Protected intersection in Stellenbosch. Photo courtesy @carltonreid
Protected intersection in Stellenbosch. Photo courtesy @carltonreid










It follows then that Johannesburg should introduce some for safer cycling. Hiten Bawa of Ludwig Hansen Architects + Urban Designers has designed one for an intersection in Braamfontein. Below is how that intersection currently looks.

Intersection in Braamfontein. Source: Google Streetview

An alternative perspective of the same below.

Alternative view of intersection in Braamfontein. Source: Google Streetview
Alternative view of intersection in Braamfontein. Source: Google Streetview


This intersection has a bicycle lane on the left hand side of the road separated from motor traffic by low yellow rumble strips. As you can see in the foreground, some minibus taxis are parked comfortably inside them.

Here is how Hiten would transform that intersection.

Protected intersection concept in Braamfontein.
Protected intersection concept in Braamfontein. Design: Hiten Bawa, Ludwig Hansen Architects + Urban Designers
He describes it as follows:
The forward stop bar is a white marker on the ground to indicate where cyclists should stop and not become an obstruction to on-coming traffic turning around the corner – alternatively it can be a concrete tactile paving block. design does incorporate pedestrian/cyclist priority traffic lights with audible traffic signals to accommodate vision and hearing-impaired people. Audible traffic signals gives vibrations and sounds to indicate safe crossing.

What do you think?

Recent bicycle infrastructure developments in Johannesburg

Call for protected bicycle lanes along William Nicol Drive

This morning we went on a ride along with bicycle users from Diepsloot with a journalist from the Guardian Newspaper researching the development of cycling cultures in South Africa.

As you know from our previous posts, this community has one of the highest rates of everyday bicycle use in Johannesburg.

If you were to stand on the side of the road during rush hour along William Nicol Drive near Diepsloot, you would be amazed at the constant flow of people on bicycles. If anyone has any doubts about the role and actual practice of bicycles for transport in Johannesburg, we encourage them to undertake a visit.

Yet William Nicol Drive as many other roads in Johannesburg is designed primarily for car users (though this is beginning to change). However in the aggregate, it means that bicycle users, pedestrians, wheel chair users, joggers and others not travelling in motorised vehicles are forced to share the road with fast moving automobiles. This is a ready recipe for unnecessary injuries and fatalities.

In the past we have called for high quality protected bicycle lanes along this corridor.  This is the ultimate goal for cycling safety. Already there has been a missed opportunity. A previous expansion of William Nicol despite our urging for separate protected bicycle lanes and pedestrian sidewalks only yielded mixed use sidewalks. As you see in the image below, with severe traffic congestion, cars can easily scale and drive onto the sidewalk compromising the safety of not only pedestrians but also bicycle users.

Cars driving on the shared sidewallk
Cars driving on the shared sidewalk

A new section of William Nicol is slated for further roadworks in the near future. It would be a terrible road safety outcome if that project did not cater for all road users.  There is now excellent knowledge in the City of Johannesburg about how to design Johannesburg appropriate protected bicycle lanes as the images below reveal.


We will continue to press for a similar outcome along William Nicol. In the meantime, witness the short video below of our ride this morning.



You are invited to the ‘Tour de Diepsloot’

JUCA warmly invites all to join a bicycle tour of Diepsloot, to raise awareness of cycling as a mode of transport and community development. The ride dubbed the Tour de Diepsloot will take place from 9am on Sunday the 8th of November 2015.

Diepsloot has one of the highest concentration of commuter cyclists in Johannesburg. Yet till recently the presence of this flow of commuter cyclists has remained ‘unseen’ on the roads and in non-motorised policy initiatives. In this regard, we are delighted that Gauteng MEC for Transport, Ismail Vadi, will be joining the ride as he did recently.

Diepsloot also has an emerging network of community assets such as parks, recycling centres and now an Arts Precinct. On the day of the ride, the Arts Precinct will be officially opening. Come view the wonderful works on display. Refreshments will also be available.


The tour will start at Diesploot Mall by William Nicol Drive at 9am. The route is an easy 6.6 kilometres with the slowest riders setting the pace. It will end back at the Mall.


If you are travelling from far with bicycle(s) in car, safe parking is available at the Diesploot Mall. We look forward to seeing you there.




MEC, Ismail Vadi, Rides in Solidarity with Diepsloot Bike-Train

On Monday morning, the 12th of October, Gauteng, MEC for Transport, Ismail Vadi joined a Bike-Train travelling from Diepsloot southwards.

The MEC had accepted an invitation extended by JUCA to support the hundreds of everyday cyclists who live in and around Diepsloot with William Nicol Drive as their main travel corridor.

Without a doubt across Johannesburg, there is no other corridor as William Nicol Drive that features as many people using bicycles as a main form of transport. However this road is very unfriendly to cyclists and pedestrians. As we witnessed, motorists behave as though people walking or cycling do not exist edging them off the road and pavements. Accidents are not uncommon.


The purpose of the bike-train was to increase the visibility of the many cyclists to motorists and motivate for increased policy attention. In this regard, JUCA and MEC agreed that following the ride;

  1. The office of the MEC will organise a count of pedestrians and cyclists using the William Nicol Drive corridor
  2. Review existing and proposed bicycle lane designs to ensure they offer full protection to cyclists and pedestrians
  3. Organise a social bike ride within Diesploot that will raise awareness about the role of the bicycle in everyday transport and community development