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Cyclists protest: 'No road closure, no race
21 Feb 2012
Jonathan Faurie

A CYCLING accident during this weekend’s Midmar to Nottingham Road cycle race could put next year’s event in jeopardy.

A cyclist was taken to hospital on Sunday after he was involved in an accident involving oncoming traffic. He suffered a dislocated shoulder and a fractured wrist.

Two years ago cyclist Olive Knight was killed during the event. Howick police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley a case was still pending following an arrest, but no charges had yet been formulated.

Organiser Tim Bassage said a stretch of the R103 should be fully closed for future events, but said authorities had rejected the idea.

“If we cannot get full road closure for next year’s event then there will be no race. We can’t put people’s lives at risk like this,” said Bassage, who is also vice chairperson of Burg Wheelers Cycling Club.

“We do our best to organise a safe race and no matter how many marshals you have on the road, unless you have full road closure there is a risk of incidents such as this.”

Bassage said he had applied for full road closure to the Road Traffic Inspectorate and the uMngeni Municipality. They told him it was not possible as the R103 was used as an alternative route to the N3 into Durban.

“This is not good enough … We are not asking them to close the road during peak season and we are only asking them to close it for four hours. It’s not as if we are asking them to close it for the whole day.”

The cancellation of the race would be unfortunate as it had grown in popularity over the years, he said.

“The race, which attracts 800 competitors annually, is held two weeks before the Cape Argus [PicknPay Cycle Tour]. A lot of competitors use this to fine-tune their sprinting skills. But the majority of our cyclists do it for fun.”

Acting municipal manager for the uMngeni Municipality Hector Buthelezi told The Witness he was not aware of the application but would investigate it and see at what the practice had been for past races.

• jonathan.faurie@witness.co.za

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