Feedback on Braamfontein Cycle Lanes

On 16 September 2014, the Johannesburg Urban Cyclists Association (JUCA) met with the City of Johannesburg to inspect the pilot section of the University Corridor Cycle Lanes. JUCA commended the City of Johannesburg on the roll-out of this project and expressed satisfaction with current design on sections of De Korte Street.


It was clear that many of the current design improvements to increase pedestrian, cyclists and motorist safety that JUCA would like to see implemented are constrained by current traffic legislation and design standards. For example JUCA would like to see advanced bike boxes and prioritised signaling for cyclists and pedestrians installed at intersections. Current legislation prohibits these interventions.

JUCA recommended the following to the City of Johannesburg:

• Current design approach that mixes cyclists and pedestrians at intersections will be terminated. Instead cycling lanes will continue and stop at intersections until future extensions commence.


• Enforcement of lane use needs to be implemented as soon as possible. Vehicles (including police vehicles) continue to park on these lanes.


• Future design will place all vehicle parking spots onto the right of bicycling lanes.

Privately managed parking spaces (on behalf of the City of Johannesburg) between StationSt and Jan Smuts in front of WAM, and then all along Jorrisen in front of the Braamfontein Centre present potential hazards to cyclists as vehicles exit the parking spots. Placing parking to the right of cycling lanes reduces the risks of dooring and crashes.

An alternative solution is to turn these bays in future into on-street bicycle parking corrals. In some cases in the current pilot section such as on De Korte Street this parking arrangement has already been implemented to the satisfaction of JUCA.

• JUCA would provide design suggestions on how to ferry turning cyclists within current limitations provided by legislation.

• Right in front of Station Street, there is a problem with taxis using the bike lane and the section next to it on the left, next to the island, as parking. CoJ talked about putting in raised bumps to discourage this practice. Lane enforcement from JMPD is also required.

JUCA observed that:

• Current design approach heightens risk of conflicts between cyclists and bus passengers. Ways such as signage, education and training should be found to mitigate this risk. Other sections of the lanes to be constructed could also where possible locate the cycling lanes behind bus stops.

• More signage, both upright on the pavements and painted on the lanes themselves, is needed. Signage is especially necessary at key decision points such as Wits entrances and bus stops to remind pedestrians, cyclists and cars to be aware of one another.


• The City needs to provide some kind of training/communications for Metro bus drivers – both about not parking in the lanes, and about being aware of cyclists at certain key points along the route.


• The green cycling paint has faded very quickly. CoJ representatives agreed that they were also unhappy with it and that they were speaking to their suppliers about it

• That the cycling and pedestrian lanes on Enoch Sontonga could be expanded by reclaiming some of the space from the Cemetery.

• The dip at the bottom of Enoch Sontonga collects storm water presenting cycling difficulties.


Finally JUCA strongly supports the suggestion by the CoJ to locate bicycle racks in the now empty “drop off” bay in front of Senate House on Jorrissen Street.



Commuter Cycling in Beijing

JUCA’s David Du Preez and Mehita Iqani had the opportunity to spend a few days in Beijing, China in July this year.

Beijing is a city of almost 12 million inhabitants and the capital of China. During the height of the communist era, the bicycle was the government-endorsed mode of transport for the people, and considered one of the three “must-haves” for a comfortable life, to the extent that the nation “became known as zixingche wang guo, the Kingdom of Bicycles”.

Since the 1990s, China’s economy moved to a version of free-market economics, and has witnessed one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, second only to the United States. Since China’s economic boom, cars have become more popular in big cities like Beijing. Nevertheless, there are still millions of bicycles in the city, and its flat topography, wide streets and generous, protected bicycle lanes on every street make it the commuter cyclists dream.


Bicycle lanes are extremely wide, able to accommodate two to three cycles abreast, as well as the ubiquitous electric scooters – which although only slightly faster than the bicycles, tend to be respectful of cyclists.


Bicycle lanes were typically separated by little white fences from the motorized traffic, and at times were also protected by a row of parked cars.


We were struck by the general sense of respect which all road users showed each other. We saw very few cars or mopeds speeding, and all users of the bicycle lanes seemed to show great awareness of the movements of other bicycle lane users.



Bicycle lanes had protected balustrades to ensure that other vehicles could not use them.


It was such a pleasure to see old and young people on bicycles – from white-haired grandparents to little children standing between their parents legs on the front of an electric bicycle.


Bicycle parking was ample and plenty – available on practically every street corner.


Many narrow roads (or hutongs) were closed to motor traffic.


Commuters used their bicycles to transport many things – even their pets!



The wide, flat roads made even long commutes possible – we managed was a 24km round trip from central Beijing to the 789 Art District.


Beijing (and many other Chinese cities) also have bike share schemes.


Even though the car seems to be growing in popularity in Beijing, there are some moves by the government to re-popularize the bicycle as a move to reduce pollution, which is serious problem due to the country’s rapid industrialisation. In general, the Chinese attitude to providing infrastructure for commuter cycling was inspiring and showed a real commitment to the common good. Johannesburg could learn a lot from this model cyclist-friendly city.