Cyclists feel unsafe as the number of attacks on them has increased. Cyclists feel victimised and unsafe on the roads as the number of attacks and robberies targeting them are on the rise. As cyclists ride through various neighbourhoods, cognizant of how each area varies in safety, they have had to become even more vigilant in Melville.

Roads where cyclists have been attacked frequently, are Barry Hertzog Avenue, particularly under the Carlow Road bridge, and where the avenue connects with Rustenburg Road.


Ken McArthur, who has cycled the same route through Melville for about 10 years, said he had recently been attacked by a man he said looked like a displaced person. “As I was cycling, a man appeared and he had an unidentified object in his hand which he struck me with. As I sped away from him I knew not to stop, even if I started to bleed,” said McArthur.

On that particular day, McArthur said that he had, unfortunately, been cycling by himself. He usually cycles with a team of about 10 and between them, there have been five attacks.

The cyclists shared that their concern for safety does not stop with them, but extends to the runners and pedestrians who use that route as well. “There have been more [homeless people who] seem to be living under the bridge, though we are not sure who is doing these attacks.”

Cyclists have allegedly been attacked with various weapons ranging from sticks to knives and firearms.

Ward 87 councillor Bridget Steer did confirm that there had been an increase in the number of attacks in the area and cautioned cyclists to rather cycle in groups. Steer explained that this particular route is a major concern to her as not only is it a sharp bend with blind corners, but there are shrubs along the road which makes for poor visibility and leaves room for criminals to hide while waiting for a target.

“I went to the site and had an inspection. I saw an overgrowth of alien shrubs and there are also [homeless people] living there, though I do not think they are to blame for the attacks,” said Steer.

Steer explained that, lately, criminals were starting to pick up on the worth of these bicycles from the branding.

“Work is in progress is to clear up the alien plants and attend to the embankment. Security has been stationed at various spots, both visible and incognito.”

She went on to encourage cyclists to inform her of these attacks. “We need to work together, there are various hotspots and if we meet with the bicycle association we could come up with better solutions.”


-- Original Article by Northcliff Melville Times


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