Personal safety for ecomobility commuters

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Personal safety for ecomobility commuters

This October, Johannesburg will be host to the EcoMobility World Festival, in celebration of the environmentally friendly movement of people in major cities, as well as in promotion of decongesting these traffic hubs. During EcoMobility Month, personal vehicle access to Sandton’s CBD will be restricted through the closing of a number of roads, in order to provision these routes for public transport, walking and cycling.

This October, Johannesburg will be host to the EcoMobility World Festival, in celebration of the environmentally friendly movement of people in major cities, as well as in promotion of decongesting these traffic hubs. During EcoMobility Month, personal vehicle access to Sandton’s CBD will be restricted through the closing of a number of roads, in order to provision these routes for public transport, walking and cycling. This massive movement is set to see a large portion of Sandton’s nearly 175 000 daily commuters of residents, workers and visitors utilising these alternative transport methods.

“Many of Sandton’s commuters have traditionally been part of a car-centric culture, and for those who are not used to using public transport, cycling or walking, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with these transport options, as well as safety precautions that should be taken,” says Lizette Erasmus, head of insurance expertise at IntegriSure. According to Erasmus, these modes of transport do not offer the protection of a personal car’s locked doors and security measures such as anti-smash and grab. “By practicing certain precautions, you can help ensure the protection of yourself and your valuables while practicing and supporting environmentally friendly commuting.”

Erasmus advises commuters to ensure that any valuables carried during your journey are comprehensively covered by appropriate insurance, to avoid any financial losses should a theft or damages occur en-route. “For employees, it is also important to understand your company’s policy with regards to the theft or damage of assets such as laptops or other work equipment,” she warns. “Most companies will ensure that assets provided to employees are covered with the relevant insurance policies, however, before travelling with any items of this nature it is recommended to ensure that adequate cover is in place.”

Erasmus offers the following safety advice to Sandton commuters:

  • If you are using a personal vehicle for part of your daily travel, make sure to leave it at a secure parking location when swapping to an alternative mode of transport
  • When walking alone at night, make sure to stay on routes that are well-lit and busy, avoiding dark alleyways or short cuts across parks. Plan your route in advance if possible, and ensure you remain vigilant and aware of activities and people around you
  • If you need to carry a bag, make use of a style that can strap across your chest securely, hanging at your hip to allow you to keep a hand over its fastening
  • Avoid carrying electronics on your person as much as possible. If you must have them with you, avoid using your mobile devices, music player or laptop in public, as this could make you an attractive target to criminals
  • Only take your wallet out when absolutely necessary, and when packing it away make sure to close your bag properly
  • If you are uncomfortable in a public area or feel you are being followed, flag down the closest police officer or security guard, or go into a nearby shop or hotel until you are sure of your safety
  • When walking or cycling along traffic routes, be sure to use allocated bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and be cautious of drivers on the road. It is also important to ensure you wear bright or reflective clothing that will increase your visibility to vehicles

Public transport can be a safer option than walking, however, Erasmus advises that it is also important to observe safety precautions to ensure your personal protection:

  • While waiting for a bus or taxi, make sure to wait in a well-lit area near other commuters
  • Don’t be afraid to change seats on a bus or carriages on a train if you feel unsafe
  • Beware of pickpockets, who often target bustling public transport hubs
  • Don’t leave your bags or valuables unattended on public transport – ensure they remain within your sight at all times

As Sandton’s commuters – as well as commuters across South Africa – brace themselves for EcoMobility Month, it is hoped that communities will embrace alternative, environmentally conscious forms of travel. “From an insurance perspective, EcoMobility provides the added benefit of the intention to reduce the amount of accidents on our roads, as there will be fewer drivers in major cities. This could bode well for South Africa’s vehicle owners, who may experience reduced premiums should accident rates effectively decrease,” adds Erasmus.

“We celebrate those ‘EcoMobile’ South Africans who are supporting the reduction of pollution and congestion caused by high traffic volumes. We also urge these individuals to ensure their own protection, as well as that of our environment,” Erasmus concludes.

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