Cycling in South Africa continues to grow and gain popularity as a sport with more and more cyclists taking to the road and mountain bike trails every day. Some people even refer to cycling as “The new Golf – but for the whole family”. The steady increase in the number of cyclists on and off our roads demands a higher level of awareness and safety amongst cyclists and other road users.
Meet the Road Rangers
In 2009 the Road Rangers identified the need for an organisation that is dedicated to the promotion of safety amongst cyclists in South Africa. In 2015 the Safety Initiave Road Rangers became a registered non-profitable organisation (Road Rangers) and also applied to be a socio economic contributor. The Road Rangers is a well-established organisation and all the Road Rangers who were registered at the end of 2014 form the core of the Road Rangers as we know it today.
Training, focus and dedication are all contributing factors in the success of the Road Rangers. This group of volunteers dedicate their time, energy, and very often their personal resources to the promotion of safety in sport. The Road Rangers focus specifically on providing a higher degree of safety for cyclists and these dedicated marshals have become beacons of safety on the road and during cycling events.
Road Rangers are required to undergo continuous training and development to meet the highest standards and gain in-depth knowledge of cycling rules, traffic regulations, points-man duty, traffic management and road control. The Road Rangers also play an important role in providing safe passage when motorists want to pass pelotons or face approaching pelotons crossing white lines into the oncoming lanes. Competitive cyclists are also managed in accordance with road rules as required by traffic authorities, ensuring a higher level safety for cyclists and other road users during sport events.
Road Rangers ethos and challenges
Rain or shine, the Road Rangers are out on the road every weekend of the year where they create safety awareness, train cyclists, manage traffic, and maintain decorum by reducing confusion and aggression between cyclists and other road users.
The Road Rangers are working with a number of traffic authorities to secure more recognition which proves to be a very challenging task. 2016 looks very promising as the Road Rangers continue on their quest to create awareness, also working with Cycle Lab where proper marshalling is provided as part of the Cycle Lab cyclist training programme.
Cyclists are encouraged to join a cycling club, like Cycle Lab, where they are exposed to proper marshalling. This is especially important for non-professional or social riders who do not have regular exposure and don’t understand the process of being marshalled. “Cyclists often get impatient with marshals because they are not use to being marshalled. When faced with the unknown, cyclists tend to be abusive towards marshals – the very people who volunteer their time, energy and resources to ensure the safety of cyclists and other road users”, says Road Rangers vice chairman, Hedley Judd.
Road Rangers work closely with commissaries (CSA) during cycling events to provide quick feedback and control of the competitors, time gaps, convoys, and general public.
Road Rangers are not medics and only some of the Road Rangers are first aid qualified. In the event of an accident the Road Ranger’s first goal is to first secure the scene and then provide other assistance as best possible. Cyclists’ safety on the road is the main objective and it is important that cyclists adhere to warnings.
Get involved and support the Road Rangers
Like most non-profitable organisations, the Road Rangers rely primarily on sponsors and private funding to accomplish their mission. One of the main challenges faced by the Road Rangers is to keep their members motivated and involved despite a lack of funding.
Income from services rendered by the Road Rangers cover the basic expenses while additional expenses like training, essential equipment and maintenance of motor cycles / quad bikes are often funded by the Road Rangers in their personal capacity.
Road Rangers are clearly visible to athletes and road users. They perform their duties all across central South Africa in high-traffic zones and at prestigious sport events every weekend of the year, regardless of weather conditions. The Road Rangers regalia make provision for sponsored branding opportunities and interested sponsors are invited to contact the Road Rangers for more information and available opportunities.
Become a Road Ranger
You can also become a member of this élite team. The Road Rangers covers both on and off-road events and, as a motorcycle enthusiast, you will never find a better opportunity to ride in places that would otherwise be off-limits to motorbikes.
In order to become a Road Ranger you will need a road-worthy licensed motorbike, correct and current drivers license and insurance on your motorbike. Applications to become a Road Ranger can be sent directly to Craig Bezuidenhout at the Road Rangers.
All candidates are required to appear for an interview with one of the committee members in order to determine suitability and complete all the required documentation. All approved candidates will be required to undergo training on Saturdays and reach a certain level of competency before being deployed in the field.
The Road Rangers is not a bike-club and they are not out to source or gain new members as you would expect from a bike-club. Being a Road Ranger is not about being a biker, it is all about marshalling and the safety of cyclists.
“It is out of courtesy that cyclists get through safely. We can’t enforce the law, we bring people through safely.” – Craig Bezuidenhout (Road Rangers Chairman) during his interview with Eksportief at Cycle Lab, Fourways.
“Being a Road Ranger is not about being a biker, it is all about marshalling and the safety of cyclists.” – Hedley Judd (Road Rangers vice chairman) during his interview with Eksportief at Cycle Lab, Fourways.
Book the Road Rangers for your cycling event
In order to book the Road Rangers for your event the following standard process will apply:
1. Initial contact and date reservation.
2. Formal quotation will be issued by the Road Rangers.
3. If the quotation is accepted by the organiser an invoice will be generated.
4. Once payment is received (at least 14 days prior to an event) the booking is secured.
5. Once the quotation is accepted by the organiser it is expected that the Road Rangers chair person be included in the organising team / committee.
Contact the Road Rangers:
Chairman: Craig Bezuidenhout (Cell: 082-952 9794)
Vice chairman: Hedley Judd
Secretary: Erika Bezuidenhout
Mountain bike coordinator and training captain: Greg Hegland
Website, forum and training captain: Edwin Smith
Event coordinator: Louis Naude