8 ways to improve Cape Town’s cycling strategy

Download fullFCT Comment City of Cape Town Draft Cycling Strategy

Download :  City of Cape Town response to the 137 comments 

According to the City of Cape Town : “137 written comments were received from various interested and affected parties. The comments were reviewed and assessed to provide appropriate responses. The schedule is attached as Annexure B. The Cycling Strategy has been amended to incorporate where applicable, changes from the comments received.

Future Cape Town released its position statement on the Draft Cycling Strategy by the City of Cape Town as part of the public participation process which ended on 21 February 2017.

The Strategy is a component of the City’s broader Non-motorised Transport Strategy and aims to encourage and grow Utility Cycling to increase the use of bicycles from the current 1% to 8% by 2030, which will contribute to the reduction of commuter costs, traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

According to the City, “Recognising that cycling is an increasingly important and growing part of the City’s transport solution, the bicycle is rapidly becoming a favoured mode of transport in liveable cities.”

Future Cape Town ​is a strong advocate for the implementation of a Cycling Strategy in Cape Town, and recognises the benefits this would have on the urban environment in the city in the long term and on individuals alike. In general, Future Cape Town commends the City’s efforts regarding a Cycling Strategy and found the Strategy to be a good broad outline of how cycling could be implemented as a mode of transport.

There is, however, a tremendous amount of work to be done on the strategy – the scope of this work is provided in our broad and detailed commentary, which includes a list recommendations (included below). Once all comments have been taken into account and the Strategy revised, it will be considerably more beneficial towards not only improving the cycling situation in the City of Cape Town, but also towards making the city more enjoyable and livable for residents and tourists alike.

A summary of our recommendations : 

Recommendation 1 : Research the applicability and functionality of the plan 

This is a crucial step toward actualising the Strategy in Cape Town and should include specific inquiries on whether it is a realistic approach and what the input would look like practically.

Recommendation 2 : Include a detailed plan of action 

The Strategy should include an abstract (summarising the successive plan), an explicit vision and a set of objectives. This could be illustrated through a detailed plan of action (including both a timeline and the long-term and short-term outcomes post-implementation) as to how the objectives will be attained. To do so, the City should collect statistics, census data and general sociocultural research data for analysis to improve the hypothesis and action plan.

Recommendation 3 : Improve stakeholder collaboration 

Stakeholder collaboration needs to be deeply understood as an environment to encourage the creation of multiple business opportunities supporting a shift to 8%. Regular stakeholder engagement sessions required. There is a need to establish knowledge-sharing mechanisms between public and CoCT, as well as between other stakeholder in general, to foster meaningful engagement.

Recommendation 4 : Include incentive mechanisms 

Future Cape Town would suggest the implementation of an incentive system; for example implementing a reward system similar to that of health insurance providers which award points for going to gym, as well as giving penalties to cars that park on the bicycle paths.

Recommendation 5 : Promotional policies/ programmes need to be established

  1. Free cycling education at parks around and a designated ‘Bike Bus’ day once a month when groups of cyclists bike to work together.
  2. Implementing ‘Kids Safe Roads’ program, where kids can cultivate a sense of road and learn how to cycle safely
  3. Need to make primary and secondary schools more active participants of the cycling community in Cape Town and social norming with regards to cycling needs to happen from a young age.
  4. A bicycle diploma based on a theoretical and practical exam could be introduced, in order for these students to become more educated on traffic control and ways of using the environment to its full effect. This idea was taken from The Netherlands.

Recommendation 6 : The need to improve cooperation with the private sector 

Future Cape Town thinks that a greater effort should be made to encourage innovative business ideas which result in increased job opportunities. For example, making bicycles from recycled materials or selling and managing underground bicycle parking or storage areas.

Recommendation 7 : Bike-sharing programs should be considered through relevant funding

Cities can implement a large-scale rollout of bike-sharing programs with densely spaced stations and a high ratio of bicycles to residents. This allows bicycles to be used without being purchased, therefore reaching a higher scale of the population and introducing new users to cycling and allowing cycling trips to be combined with public transport trips.

Recommendation 8 : Improve inspirational aspects of the Strategy 

The City needs to make the Strategy more inspiring through more elaborate and more aesthetically pleasing campaigns which include visuals. This will help inspire confidence in the Strategy itself and could act as motivation for individuals to start cycling.

Rashiq Fataar, Managing Director of Future Cape Town, says: “Our position statement on the Draft Cycling Strategy has been centered on the principles of accessibility, sustainability and inclusivity, acknowledging the long-term benefits that cycling would have on the urban environment and on individuals alike. Increasing the number of people using cycling as a primary mode of transport is an important step towards re-enhancing the urban environment of Cape Town. We look forward to the outcome of this process, and look forward to our role in formally engaging with the City of Cape Town and all sectors of society towards a joint vision for improving mobility for all.”

Notes to Editors :

  1. Future Cape Town is a non-profit think tank advocating for progressive urbanism and the future of our cities.
  2. Find our full position statement here : Official FCT Comment City of Cape Town Draft Cycling Strategy
  3. More information on the Strategy and cycling can be found here.
  4. Find previous articles regarding cycling by Future Cape Town at the following links:
    1. Why cycling should matter when planning the future of South African cities
    2. Planning the Cycling City
    3. Read more here


  1. Image : Cycling Copenhagen, photo by Justine Bell



Issued by:

The Media Office
Future Cape Town