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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


In the pipeline: Tracker devices for bicycles as cyclists’ attacks rise

Cops are accused of not following up on cyclist attack cases because of the attitude that bikes are insured.


Three suspects believed to be part of a syndicate harassing cyclists in the Midrand/Centurion area are behind bars, facing charges of murder and robbery after another attack on a group of cyclists left one dead and others injured. Pedal Power Association (PPA) chief executive Neil Robinson said since October there has been a spike in attacks on cyclists in Pretoria East, Centurion and other parts of Gauteng, two of which were fatal. Areas cyclists should avoid He warned cyclists to avoid: Quiet roads along the R21; M18 to and from the Big Red Barn in Irene; The M57 between the…

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Three suspects believed to be part of a syndicate harassing cyclists in the Midrand/Centurion area are behind bars, facing charges of murder and robbery after another attack on a group of cyclists left one dead and others injured.

Pedal Power Association (PPA) chief executive Neil Robinson said since October there has been a spike in attacks on cyclists in Pretoria East, Centurion and other parts of Gauteng, two of which were fatal.

Areas cyclists should avoid

He warned cyclists to avoid:

  • Quiet roads along the R21;
  • M18 to and from the Big Red Barn in Irene;
  • The M57 between the R21 and the M18;
  • Moonlight Way that connects the R21 and R57;
  • The M26 in Erasmia, Centurion;
  • Bothaslaan;
  • The Tweefontein and Bronkhorstspruit area;
  • The Bapsfontein and Delmas area;
  • The farm area along Eastlands outside Kempton Park;
  • Summit Road close to Diepsloot; and
  • The Olifantsfontein area.

Robinson said perpetrators move around in larger vehicles and bakkies and target cyclists who ride alone and in smaller groups at around 4.30am to 8.30am and between 5pm and 7pm.

“It is important for the riders to stay close to one another as the slower riders are usually targeted. It is vital to pay attention to any human activities ahead and not to wear earphones when cycling. Please do not try to retaliate, as these criminals will shoot or stab their victims for bikes and other possessions.”

Robinson warned cyclists not to trust anyone loitering next to the road, and always be prepared for an attack when passing someone wanting to cross the road on approach.

ALSO READ: Cyclist stabbed, robbed of his bicycle and left for dead in Centurion

“It seems like attacks have escalated the closer we are to the festive season and, unfortunately there is a market for purchasing stolen bikes throughout South Africa, which makes it an attractive option for criminals to make easy money.”

‘Cycling should not be a venture tainted by fear’

Cycling journalist and avid cyclist Teresa Coetzee said she was deeply concerned about the rising incidents of cyclists falling victim to robberies of late.

“Cycling should be a source of joy, exercise, and community, not a venture tainted by fear. The current situation demands urgent attention from both authorities and the community,” she said.

Coetzee said many of her friends have been attacked in the past two years while riding their bikes.

“We need to do something about this. I am in the process of speaking to people about a tracker device for bikes,” she said.

“The implementation of such technology could serve as a deterrent and more importantly, provide a means to locate stolen bikes, aiding law enforcement in their efforts to address this issue.”

ALSO READ: ‘I will never ride a bike alone again’ – Cyclists and joggers under threat

Law enforcement a massive issue

Coetzee claimed that law enforcement was also a massive issue. “Our police officers have the attitude that the bikes are insured anyway, so they only need to give a case number without following up on incidents.”

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masondo said the SA Police Service and Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department officials at the weekend arrested three suspects.

“The trio were arrested soon after they allegedly robbed two cyclists of their bicycles, cellphones and cash in Olifantsfontein on Saturday.”

“It is reported that the father, his 18-year-old son and a 58-year-old brother-in-law were cycling in Olifantsfontein when they came across a white Toyota Avanza with five suspects.”

“The suspects allegedly shot at the victims before robbing them. The brother-in-law was hit by a bullet in the upper body, and he was certified dead at the scene. A case of murder and robbery was opened for further investigation.”

Masondo said the suspects were linked to another case of robbery and murder of a cyclist earlier the day in the same area.

ALSO READ: Thieves in Paarl steal bikes worth R1m from Mauritian cycling team

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