Imagine not having to deal with rising fuel costs or traffic on the daily commute to work – especially in Sandton.
This scenario could be possible with the roll-out of electric bicycles in Africa’s richest square mile.
Large-scale infrastructure developments are taking place in the area and in a few years Sandton will see more sky scrapers added to its skyline, as corporates move their headquarters to the city. The current office space is set to increase from 1.5 million square metres to 1.9 million square metres over the next three to four years. These developments are set to attract more people (a total of 126 000 daily) and cars, in what has already been described as Sandton’s biggest dilemma. (See the full scale of Sandton developments here.)
A decongested Sandton is thus essential.
Despite significant transportation investment to boost the use of public transport, including in the successful Gautrain and in future the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System, there are calls for alternatives.
While it could be argued that there is some resistance to public transport use in South Africa’s major cities, through heavy reliance on private vehicles, Jarrod Lewin of GBCSA says this is slowly changing as people are becoming more aware of congestion issues and being stuck in traffic.
#Decongest.Sandton, a campaign aimed at getting Sandton commuters to heed the call to ditch their cars and cycle to work, has launched electric bicycle rides in the area to create awareness about easing congestion in the commercial precinct while being eco-friendly.
Opting for an electric bicycle could set you back between R14 800 to R35 000, for a bicycle with one or two batteries with a maximum speed of 25km/h to70 km/h (depending on the number of batteries the bicycle is fitted with). Users of electric bicycles can get up to six hours of battery life, with an option of paddling for mobility or the electrical accelerating option.
Electric bicycle and green mobility experts CYCOLOGY, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and Solid Green Consulting are the main protagonists driving electric bicycle use in Sandton.
They aim to get multinational corporations to accommodate electric bicycles in parking bays, a model popular in developed nations such as London a significant proportion of corporates cycle to work.
Vincent Truter CEO of CYCOLOGY says the initiative to create awareness about green transit options is setting the tone for the development of bicycle infrastructure and a series of cycle stations throughout Sandton.
He adds: “While the roads agencies and engineers are developing traffic models that look at how to accommodate more cars, we firmly believe the solution is not about how to accommodate the cars, but how to get the Sandton community to use green modes of transport such as cycling and public transport alternatives”.
“The journey (bicycle rides) is geared at connecting you to the people, places and passions that will leave you inspired and informed on the latest developments in green building and green mobility,” adds Lewin.