With an alarming increase in cycling related crimes and more specifically bike-jackings, Full Sus investigated some more. Here is what is going on, what you should avoid and how you can stay out of harm’s way.
WO R D S : F R A N S L E R O U X
Crime in South Africa is a major problem and cyclists have in recent years become part of the harrowing statistic. We commonly use the now regular term bike-jackings: cyclists from all different disciplines and backgrounds are being targeted by spineless thieves. We are at our most vulnerable on our bike with little to no protection against a possible attacker. These robbers aren’t necessarily just after your prized bicycle, but they will grab your smartphone and cash.
CYCLING CRIMES IN THE NEWS
You only have to do a quick Google search to find plenty of local cycling-related crimes. In Cape Town, who can forget the senseless murder of Ian McPherson (68) from Fish Hoek? McPherson was robbed of his bicycle and cell phone and stabbed to death on March 13 2018. Back in October 2017 several cyclists were attacked during a training ride on Jan Smuts drive in Cape Town. A large group of 13 Sunday riders were attacked by armed men wielding knives and pangas. The group were robbed of their possessions and left understandably traumatised. In November 2017 the Roodepoort Northsider reported that cyclists were being targeted whilst training in the beautiful Cradle of Humankind. After a cyclist saw another rider laying on the ground in front of a bakkie, he stopped to investigate. He was then attacked and robbed of his possessions too. Pedal Power Association (PPA) have reported at length about bike-jackings, cyclist fatalities and incidents on our nations roads. Please see below their detailed map of crime hotspots in the Western Cape alone – yes it looks like a war zone.
WHAT TO DO DURING AN ATTACK
+ Do not try and fight your attacker – a lot of times they are high and have no value for life.
+ Adhere to their demands.
+ Hand over all your valuables.
+ Try and stay calm.
+ Report the incident as soon as possible.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY NUMBERS
National (10111): Dial the telephone number 10111 from anywhere in South Africa and a call centre operator will answer the incoming call, take all necessary particulars and assign the complaint to a Flying Squad patrol vehicle, or the local police station, to attend the incident.
Ambulance (10177): This number can be used in the case of a medical emergency and can be called in conjunction with both the fire and police department respectively, depending on whether or not there are casualties.
Cell phone (112): For emergencies, you can call 112 from any cell phone in South Africa. You will then reach a call centre and they will route you to an emergency service closest
WE NEED YOUR HELP (PART TWO)
For the next issue we would like to compile a nationwide map of hotspots and incident zones for all cyclists. If you are from the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KZN, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West, Limpopo or the Free State please share your information with us. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
BE MORE VISIBLE
Lights and reflective clothing should deter possible attackers. Passers by will also be able to spot you better.
Don’t go for a ride with your brand new smart phone or plenty of cash. These are easy possessions to steal during an attack.
DON’T CYCLE ALONE
If it at all possible, always make sure you ride with a friend or in a group. Solo riders are easy targets.
MAKE SURE YOUR VALUABLES ARE INSURED
This might seem logical, but when one takes into account that a bicycle is easily worth R50 000, you should definitely insure your prized possession.
ALWAYS CARRY PEPPER SPRAY
Inexpensive, small and easy to carry. Some of the available pepper sprays can be attached to your body or bike with a sturdy Velcro strap.
STAY CALM AND ADHERE TO YOUR ATTACKERS DEMANDS
As difficult or traumatising as the incident might be, if you remain calm and adhere to your attacker’s demands, chances of your survival will increase significantly.
STAY AWAY FROM DESIGNATED CRIME HOTSPOTS
Make sure to visit www.pedalpower.org.za/ for an updated map of cycling crime hotspots or areas where various cycling related incidents have occurred.
REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES TO THE POLICE
If you see any suspicious persons on your usual cycle route, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest police station.
CONSIDER A TRACKING DEVICE
There are a few bike tracking devices available. In part two we will look at these and other options.