Please, cy­clists, ring your bells!

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Roland Solomon

DELTA Park is a won­drous oa­sis for jog­gers, na­ture lovers and fam­i­lies out for a leisurely stroll, pic­nick­ers, romp­ing dogs and cy­clists.

Foot­paths can be un­even in sec­tions, rut­ted with bro­ken rocks and roots of trees – as thick as a man’s fore­arm – that threaten to trip up the un­wary; there are pre­cious wet­lands with tran­quil dams and colour­ful bird life and fowls.

Not even large tracts of waisthigh un­tidy weeds, grasses and black­jacks left af­ter hap­haz­ard grass-cutting can spoil the park­land which stretches from Blair­gowrie and Craighall Park, past the lower end of Parkhurst to Vic­tory Park.

And on Sun­days, groups of wor­ship­pers, each in their church uni­form, bring their own dis­tinc­tive life to this com­mu­nity within a com­mu­nity.

But for my­self and other el­derly folk not al­ways as steady on our feet as in years gone by, there is one very real po­ten­tial dan­ger: The cy­clists who get their high by whizzing along at a speed that would out­pace the Gau­train.

You are con­cen­trat­ing on gin­gerly ne­go­ti­at­ing the un­even foot­paths when you hear this sound of tyres on sand behind you – and there are cy­clists go­ing hell for leather al­most on you with no warn­ing.

You are forced to step aside on to the un­even grassy verges. On one oc­ca­sion, I had to do a quick side­step/leap to get out of the way and stepped into a grass-cov­ered hole, sprained an an­kle and ended up on my back.

I have asked these speed­sters why they don’t use bells – as we did in our day – or even whis­tles to alert walk­ers, jog­gers and fam­i­lies that they are zoom­ing up behind them. The dis­dain­ful an­swer is usu­ally the same: This does not fit the sporty im­age of a rac­ing bike.

The thrust of this let­ter is to ap­peal to cy­clists us­ing our parks to con­sider those on foot, re­gard­less of age, and put their heads to­gether to come up with a way to alert us that they are on our tails.

Over the years, Blair­gowrie has seen young fam­i­lies ex­cit­ingly re­ju­ve­nate the sub­urb. For many of these, a jaunt to the park is a healthy week­end out­ing that costs noth­ing. Some of the fam­i­lies have chil­dren learn­ing to ride their first bike, while dad laugh­ingly hoists another youngie on his shoul­ders and mom pushes a pram.

Please, cy­clists, don’t spoil the ad­ven­ture for these peo­ple. Don’t wait un­til you hit an oldie and land them in hos­pi­tal.

You have ev­ery right to en­joy your hobby, all I ask is for you to please re­mem­ber you are not on a race­track and that other res­i­dents are there to en­joy them­selves in safety.

Con­sider those on foot in our parks, re­gard­less of age

Rand­burg

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