Community safety in the Overstrand Local Municipality in Hermanus has received a boost after neighbourhood watch programmes, municipal units and local police stations received bicycles from the Western Cape Department of Transport.
The black and yellow bicycles were handed over as part of the Provincial Sustainable Transport Programme, which seeks to improve the mobility of community members, mainly those living in disadvantaged areas.
Neighbourhood watches in Onrus, Pearly Beach, Franskraal and Zwelihle each received 10 bicycles. “We live in the township and do not have access to vehicles, so these bicycles will really help us to patrol the areas better,” says Vusumzi Tshona, a member of the Zwelihle Neighbourhood Watch.
The police stations of Gansbaai, Stanford, Hermanus and Kleinmond received four bicycles each, while the municipality’s law enforcement, traffic, fire and environmental departments received 15 bicycles each.
The recipients also received a bicycle helmet, a lock, pump, tyre puncture repair kit and bicycle spanner, which will help them maintain their bicycles.
The bicycle distribution part of the Provincial Sustainable Transport Programme is being carried out with the help of partners such as the Bicycling Empowerment Network, the Pedal Power Association and Qhubeka.
The programme has reached a number of communities around the Western Cape, including informal settlements around Cape Town. Between 50 and 72 percent of people in the Western Cape rely on lifts or public transport, meaning that improving access to transport is a top priority.
Tim Mosdell, CEO of the Bicycling Empowerment Network, says that bicycles can create significant opportunities for people, ranging from school children to people looking for work.
“It’s not about simply delivering bicycles to people – it takes into account the full picture of creating a bicycle culture, helping people improve their access to education and employment opportunities, and moving people forward using bicycles as a tool for success.”
Mosdell says that school children in Overstrand will also receive bicycles as part of this same initiative.
*If you live in the Western Cape and want more information about the programme, contact the Western Cape Department of Transport at 0860 212 414.