Cycling in the City: Rouen Smit in Cape Town

Cycling in the City is a special Transport Month 2013 feature interviewing cyclists about their experiences as a cyclist in different communities and cities. We start off with the co-founder of Future Cape Town, Rouen Smit

Name: Rouen Smit
Actuarial Specialist and co-founder of Future Cape Town

Q:  In which areas do you cycle and why? 

A: I mostly bicycle from my city apartment to my workplace in De Waterkant. It’s not a long route, but I guess that’s why I live in the city – to be able to just bicycle to most places.



Q: Which three things, can government do to help your cycling experience?

1 -In addition to the green bicycle lanes on Bree Street (which the City still need to finish painting), they should also add simple barricades to keep vehicles and taxis out of the lanes.

2 – Clear signs should be be put up and better painting on the roads at the intersection of Buitengracht Street and Waterkant Street (aka Fan Walk, where the bridge is) is needed to prohibit vehicles from ‘stopping in the box’ (i.e. where the pedestrians and bicyclists need to cross Buitengracht St.)

Old image of a 'Box Junction' with painting in the UK.

Old image of a ‘Box Junction’ with painting in the UK.

3- Fix the bicycle lane running from Bree Street down Shortmarket Street, and allow bicyclists through Green Market Square, because at the moment that bicycle lane is useless.

Q: What role can citizens play in promoting cycling and inspiring others to cycle? 

A: Keep on bicycling and make yourself visible to vehicle drivers as well as pedestrians so that they get used to bicyclists, especially since bicycle users are slowly increasing in Cape Town.


Source: roboppy at


Q: Which cool or innovative idea, (with no budget constraints) would you like to see  to support cycling and cyclists?

A: It may sound like a big, unrealistic idea for Cape Town, but I can guarantee a bicycle-share system, especially around Cape Town Station where many commuters reach the CBD area, will work. When I used to take the train in from the Southern Suburbs, I wished I could just rent a bicycle to get from the Station to my workplace. I believe there are many such commuters.

Q: Why do you love cycling?

A: I see, feel and smell the city differently to how I would if I were to drive. And I save hundreds of Rands a month.

There are 6 comments

  1. David Malan

    Nice one Rouen, I agree 100% with your comments & suggestions. Especially your “Keep on bicycling and make yourself visible” comment.
    Besides the Bree st lanes, I feel that all Cape town bike lanes should be painted green & at least have cats-eyes as a barrier that motorists will feel when they cross the line. Any Idea when the promised Albert rd lanes are going to be started?

    1. Rouen Smit

      Hey David, I agree that all bicycle lanes should be painted green. The City actually announced in July that they would be doing this. They also stated that would start with the painting in August 2013, but I haven’t seen any bicycles lanes painted green (especially not the Bree Street lanes). You can read the press release here ->

      I also think your idea for cat-eyes is great. They already use cat-eyes at different points on a road to warm drivers they are doing something illegal/dangerous.

      1. David Malan

        Hi Rouen, Yes I read that article in July and am a bit disappointed that nothing seems to have happened. I think I am going to fire off an email to Brett Herron every week until something happens:)

        1. Rouen Smit

          Please do – and if you find out let us know what he says. He’s really good with responding quickly to emails form public.

          1. David Malan

            Hi Rouen, As you said Brett replied quickly, to say that the project is still on the cards and the tender has been awarded but an unsuccessful tenderer has appealed against the award and is delaying the start. Let’s hope they sort it out soon.

Comments are closed.