Johannesburg Urban Cyclists Association

Advocating for commuter cycling in Jozi

Diepsloot Bike Train

September 17, 2016
by Njogu

Open Letter to City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Herman Mashaba

Dear Mayor Mashaba

The Johannesburg Urban Cyclist Association (JUCA) have noted with concern your recent pronouncements, without consultation, on reallocation of budgets for cycling.

We would appreciate the benefit of an audience with yourself and the MMC Transport so we get clarity on the implications of your decision.

We would not want to presume your views and would require further clarity on the following:

1. What is the status of existing and already completed cycling infrastructure?

2. What is the status of cycling infrastructure currently under construction – including the bridge between Alexandra and Sandton?

3. What is the DA Johannesburg’s policy on non-motorized transport? Johannesburg is a city in which two-thirds of households do not have access to private cars.

We at JUCA remain convinced of the multiplier benefits of cycling as a mode of commuter mobility together with walking. These include and are not restricted to:
1. Healthier lifestyles,
2. Improved air quality,
3. Better use of limited urban space,
4. Household savings on mobility costs,
5. Improved access,
6. Safety for all categories of road users.

We hereby request for a reply and/or meeting with yourself as soon as possible so we get official clarity on these matters.

With anticipation,

The Board of Directors, JUCA

Protected intersection concept in Braamfontein.

September 2, 2016
by Njogu

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?

Green bike signal

July 22, 2016
by Njogu

Recent bicycle infrastructure developments in Johannesburg


May 23, 2016
by Candy Sithole

A Journey Began With A Single Pedal

“I miss my bicycle so much.” These are some of the first words spoken by Nthabiseng Malaka before her follow-up interview begins.

Nthabiseng began her cycling journey when she became one of ten students from the University of the Witwatersrand to receive a bicycle from the property management company, Southpoint, in a competition aimed at advancing a cycling culture in Braamfontein. Her bicycle was provided on a long-term loan basis, and Southpoint has since taken it back.

Zuri, the specially named bicycle that Nthabiseng had grown attached to, had become her main means of transport. She ran errands, cycled to and from school, and frequented one of her favourite places, Newtown Junction. “Anywhere close by, I would cycle to instead of walking or taking a taxi because that saved me money,” she explains. Cycling was not only cost-effective, but her preferred choice of exercise.

A smile lights her face when she speaks of the various and exciting activities that cycling had introduced her to. She recalls the Johannesburg Critical Mass ride, a cycling event usually held on the last Friday of every month – “it exposed me to a cycling life in town, and other people I had never known; it was a new way of networking and socialising.” Nthabiseng misses this cycling culture and expresses it at every moment she can throughout the interview. “What will I do with my life now?” she often asks.

That is indeed the question. Nthabiseng describes her transition from cycling to walking as “back to being ordinary like other people.” She is currently saving for a new bicycle; one to permanently call her own. While networking, she had met some people who customise bicycles and has decided on a personalised one in pink. Nthabiseng knows that this is a long-term goal that she has set for herself as she is not looking to buy “just any bicycle” – she wants one as good as Zuri.

MEC with Diepsloot Bike-Train

April 5, 2016
by Njogu

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.