Call for feedback on the trial sections of the University Corridor Cycle Lanes

As you may be aware, small components of the University Corridor Cycle Lanes have been constructed.

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The City of Johannesburg is now looking for feedback on the trial sections before rolling out the rest of the route. The total length will be 15kms.

The purpose of the input is to shape future sections of the route, so your input will be very important in the final design.

We suggest that your input is based on riding the built sections during rush hour. The built sections are located in Braamfontein in the following two sections;

  • Jorissen Street between Yale Road and Jan Smuts Avenue/Bertha Street
  • De Korte Street between De Beers Street and all the way down onto Enoch Sontonga Avenue stopping next to one of the Wits University entrances after the M2.

Please send your comments to for inclusion into our submission.

The great helmet debate


Should commuter cyclists be required to wear helmets? Does wearing a helmet make a commuter cyclist safer (in general, and specifically in Johannesburg)? JUCA’s Grant Rex wades into the debates:

I always wear a helmet, but find the points made in this paper about  compulsory helmet rules quite thought provoking. It’s clear we should encourage helmet use, but not insist on it: cycling safety is primarily the responsibility of government not the individual.

If we jump on the ‘no ride, no helmet’ bandwagon, it also reinforces the idea that cycling is very unsafe and needs protective equipment: this is enough to put most novices and inexperienced cyclists totally off the idea of cycling.

This paper presents data to show that it probably results in a massive reduction in cycling, with deleterious health consequences that are far worse than the few head injuries that cyclists experience.

Helmets probably also do no good if you’re hit by a big enough vehicle at a high enough speed – to state the obvious. But there’s also some evidence to suggest that cars pass closer to cyclists wearing helmets than those not wearing helmets.

The majority of commuters in Joburg don’t wear helmets and can’t afford them, so insisting on them is likely to keep the image of cycling that of a predominantly white recreational activity.


Key debating points about helmet rules in Johannesburg:

• Do compulsory helmets rules cause a fear of cycling which is then seen as a more dangerous activity by families with young children, and adults wanting to take a quick trip to the local shops for the bread, milk, beer or the paper?

• Is it possible to see the distinction between individual safety, on the one hand, and community health, on the other?

• Is there a specific challenge for developing country commuters who can’t afford helmets?

• Does this have a racial dimension in Johannesburg, that unnecessarily condemns cycling as an elitist recreation?


Progress on University Corridor Cycle Lanes

Progress is being made on the planned protected cycle lanes in the University corridor, from the University of Johannesburg through to Wits.

This route is aimed at connecting students and staff members of both UJ and Wits. It will run between the UJ Kingsway Campus and the UJ Doornfotein Campus. It is intended to cater to members of the public who are commuting between Hillbrow and Park Station and those who are commuting between Park Station and Mellville. The length of the route will be approximately 15 km. It entails dedicated off road and on-road lanes. These photos show a trial section of the route on Jorrison Street in Braamfontein, which are being painted in order to coincide with the upcoming Freedom Ride.

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(Photos: Linzi Lewis, Gilles Baro, Muhammed Suleman and Urban Joburg)

Mayoral Speech on Cycling

Here is the full text of a speech given by Executive Mayor of Johannesburg at the launch of the July 2014 Freedom Ride. JUCA is pleased to note the City’s commitment to investing in cycling infrastructure, and we will be keeping an eye on progress towards delivery.

Mayor Tau


10 July 2014


Programme Director

We meet here a few days before Tata Nelson Mandela’s birthday, to announce the second Freedom Ride. This is a cycle ride to celebrate the life of our greatest international icon and Johannesburg Freeman, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. We stage this event in order to promote a cycling friendly city, in partnership with various cycling organisations.

The first ride on the 9th of February this year attracted over 5 000 cyclists from all walks of life. By popular demand, we are repeating this ride, starting from the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge, under the gaze of our beloved hero.

“The purpose of Freedom”, Mandela said; “is to create it for others”. It is for this reason, that we are inspired to take this ride: the second edition of the Freedom Ride on the 20th July 2014, to as many citizens as possible; citizens who want to celebrate the freedom that former President Mandela achieved in South Africa.

What will be new this time around, will be the very exciting brand new cycle paths in Orlando, Soweto; along which the first Bicycle Empowerment Centre (BEN), will soon be set up. This centre will provide training and support to cyclists – especially learners using the new cycling route. We are also partnering with the Gauteng Provincial Government, to hand out Shova Kalula bikes, to learners in these areas.

The Bike Empowerment Centre was funded by donations from the first Freedom Ride, and will be implemented in partnership with Boni4Kasi, a Soweto non-governmental organization (NGO), which has worked tirelessly to promote and support cycling amongst young people in Soweto.

The ride is taking place just after Mandela Day, and we call on riders who have not yet found a way to contribute 67 minutes for Mandela Day, to consider a donation of R67 or even R670 towards the next Bike Empowerment Centre.

I am sure you have observed that most of our citizens aspire to get to work by their own cars. May I remind them Johannesburg have other clean air and healthier alternatives around.

Bicycles, Programme Director, are a healthy, quick and affordable way to get around – almost everyone can ride a bike. Among many benefits, cycling can:

Reduce traffic jams, especially if we integrate it with public transport.

Cycling is good for the environment: it has the lowest CO2 emissions of all forms of transport; improves air quality and reduces noise in our neighbourhoods.

Cycling improves fitness and health, it is also excellent for mental health – regular cycling makes people feel great.

Cycling helps us build an active citizenry and also break down racial patterns of getting around. Cyclists feel camaraderie towards fellow cyclists and often share the same challenges of mounting hills and share the thrill of sliding down these hills. This experience cannot be felt by motorists towards each other.

We are following – but hope to soon be leading – many cities that cycle around the world more than our City. Sponsorship of the Freedom Ride is one of the initiatives that will assist us to achieve our long term of increasing cycling in Joburg.

Other initiatives to take the our cycling agenda forward, include making substantial investments in cycling paths and routes – from Orlando to Noorgesig, from Westbury and Sophiatown to Melville, from Melville to Doornfontein, from Rosebank to Sandton, from Sandton to Alexandra and from Diepsloot to Fourways. All these projects are either in the planning or at implementation stage.

The Melville to Doornfontein routes, aim to connect students and staff members of both the University of Johannesburg and Wits University. It runs between the UJ Kingsway Campus and the UJ Doornfontein Campus, and will further link Hillbrow and Park Station with those who commute between Park Station and Melville. It is 15km stretch. We are using a trial section of this route on Jorrison Street for the Freedom Ride on the 20th July 2014, and after this press conference, I will escort the media to this place for a photographing opportunity.

So, Programme Director, we are not widening the road for cars, or just pothole patching on De Korte and Jorrison Streets: we are actually in a process of transforming our streets. We urge motorists to respect the new bright green cycle lanes that are being introduced for cyclists.

We are also working with the Johannesburg Urban Cyclist Association (JUCA), to identify and sign over 100 kilometres of safe cycling routes across Joburg. This partnership with various cycling organisations, is important towards making Joburg a cycling friendly city.

As stated in my recent State of the City address, Johannesburg is a city at work. What is very exciting is – just like the common cold – the cycling bug that is catching on a growing number of our citizens.

For example in Sandton, “Decongest Sandton” are telling motorists: “You are not in traffic, you are traffic”. Business in Sandton also wants to sponsor bike lanes. Groups have come forward offering to train learners to cycle, and other businesses are considering bike taxis or pedi cabs or bikes, as courier services, instead of cars. This is the best way to do business.

The Freedom Ride is part of our vision for a healthier, more connected, efficient city. We are pursuing this vision in partnership with the people, communities and organisations that make this city great. We call upon you all to come on board. Jozi is work to create a World Class African City, together with you.

Thank you for coming. I hope that you will help us to promote the ride next Sunday (20th July 2014).

Mpho Parks Tau
Executive Mayor
City of Johannesburg

Join the Freedom Ride!


JUCA is proud to be associated with the second Johannesburg Freedom Ride, which will take place this coming Sunday 20 July at 08h00. The starting point is in Braamfontein, and the ride goes to Vilakazi Street in Soweto. You can cycle there and back, or you can catch a Metro Rail train back if you would prefer a shorter ride. The pace will be slow and relaxed, so bring your families and friends.

JUCA sees the Freedom Ride as a wonderful opportunity to experience what it is like to be on the streets of Johannesburg and Soweto on a bicycle – not to race, but simply to be mobile on two wheels. We encourage all cyclists, experienced or less so, to join the ride, which has been organised in honour of Mandela Day (18 July).


Look out for the JUCA information stand on Vilakazi Street, and please come and say hello, or find out more about our advocacy work.

For more information visit