The 2015 edition of the Carnival City Macsteel National Classic has been planned to take place on 22 February 2015. The event organisers, the Rotary Club of Germiston and members of Germiston Wheelers Cycle Club, are all voluteers who have a passion for the sport, specifically this event.
Many of the people working behind the scenes at our event are cyclists, and bring a wealth of experience from participating at many other events (licensed and fun riders), as well as having organised this race for many years. We take the good and bad points from other races and work on replicating the good points and improving/eliminating the bad points. Rider safety is extremely important, so the fatal incident that happened on the R42 during the 2014 event was an extremely sad way to end a successful 30th edition – for participants, volunteers, the organisers as well as the family and friends of Lesley Johnson – and we hope that no other event organiser has to experience the same fate.
As the SAPS investigation into this accident has not been concluded yet, we’re unable to reveal any further details of what many involved believe was a unfortunate “accident”.
The existing route has been used for many years, with slight tweaks for the Elite/U23 category and recently for the Veteran category. We have had requests to change the route, as the R42 is considered dangerous, but sadly too many cyclists are injured/killed on many of South Africa’s roads. Changing the route won’t eliminate the risk of another accident happening on any other section of road should we have to change the route.
Instead of changing the route, we have agreed that we need to further improve the safety of the participants on a route we know well, and a layout that is easy to manage (from an EMS, radio communication, safety and backup perspective). A legal requirement to host an event is to complete a risk analysis, mitigating all serious risks. A risk analysis was completed for previous editions, and one is being prepared for 2015. We are also working on the following points for next year:
- In 2014, we were granted full road closure for the final 5Km of the main route, and we have requested the same section be closed off to traffic again;
- We have approached the trucking companies operating on the R42 between Heidelberg and Nigel, requesting that they cease operations between 08:00 and 12:00. They are currently working with us on this matter, and negotiations are looking positive;
- Roadworks are currently being carried out on the R103 (Leondale) from Osborn Road to the turn at Magagula Heights (involving 13Km of our route). We are in regular contact with the contracting engineers and on-site supervisors;
- CPF/Security company presence on certain sections of the route will be requested, where it has been reported that young township kids are throwing stones at the participants, and also begging for “chocolates”.
- In 2014, we introduced two timing mats to separate the start and finish lines. This means we aren’t limited to getting all participants onto the route before the first groups arrive at the finish. The same plans are in place for 2015. We are also able to have more groups on the road, but with less numbers in each batch;
- Road Rangers help provide a rolling road closure on the entire 103Km of road that defines our race route, for most of the bigger bunches, and also have bikers patrolling the latter groups. They will also be partners with us in 2015;
- Our volunteers spend most of Saturday (the day before) sweeping the route, filling potholes, spraying signs on the road to warn of potential problems ahead, erect route signage and clear loose debris/glass and other puncture-causing objects from the race line.