Gauteng bikers converge on SANRAL motorcycle safety training event in Capital

Media Release

Gauteng bikers converge on SANRAL motorcycle safety training event in Capital


About 100 bikers throttled the freeway in Pretoria to raise awareness around motorcycle safety on the road.


Pretoria, 21 February 2024 – The roar of wide-open throttles, robust and throaty growls of big superbikes, and the thrumpy exhaust notes of vintage classics were just some of the motorcycle sounds that had motorists watching in awe as more than 100 bikers cruised in staggered formation on a clear Saturday morning on the N1-north towards the N14 in Pretoria.

The pack of bikers of all races, genders and creeds, dressed in ATGATT (All the gear that matters) gear – helmet, gloves, vest, trousers and boots – were travelling from the South African Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL)’s Northern Regional office in Lynwood Glen, Pretoria, on their way to the Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion where they had planned to be taken through intensive training on bike safety just three days after Valentine’s Day.

But love was still in the air for some bikers who shared a pillion for the fun, learning and relaxing experience – not to mention a fulfilling, intimate way to connect with their soulmates as part of celebrating the month of love. There were also groups of siblings and fathers and sons – symbolising that a family that rides together, stays together.

When asked to comment, one father who was riding with his young son and asked not to be identified responded: “A family that rides together, thrives together! Remember that four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul.” They drove off onto the racetrack, with the young boy’s jacket proudly embroidered with the words: “My dad is a biker”.

This clarion call to action was loud and clear as bikers of all shapes, colours and sizes positively responded to the now annual “SANRAL Motorcyclists Matter on Our Roads” event, which forms part of SANRAL’s road safety awareness campaign that believes that bikers shall be seen, heard and respected on the roads.

The event was held under the strict and watchful eye of passionate racer and seasoned mentor and bike safety trainer, Sfiso Themba, widely known as iam63, with his signature goat beard, 63 denim floral cap and summer shorts. He encouraged participants to always wear the correct safety gear including a jacket, helmet, gloves, pants and boots.

“I want to emphasise the importance of participating in regular road safety training which places a strong emphasis on participants being educated on the importance of wearing appropriate safety gear, including helmets, gloves and protective clothing, to mitigate the risk of injury in the event of an accident,” he said.

In a bid to promote diversity and gender equality within the biking community, the programme has set ambitious targets for the inclusion of female riders, recognising the invaluable contribution they make to the sport.

Ten of the 100 participants were women, among others, Maressa Naicker of Centurion on her Suzuki S1000GT, Eve Mdakane of Boksburg on her blue Indian Scout and Cebo ‘36’ Siboza of Kempton Park on her bright red Harley Davidson.

At Zwartkops Raceway, just after having had breakfast, participants were grouped according to their skill level A to D, from novice riders to seasoned enthusiasts, providing an opportunity for riders of all backgrounds to come together and share their passion for biking.

Furthermore, the bikers were instructed in essential riding techniques designed to enhance their control and maneuverability on the road. From mastering cornering and braking techniques to understanding the intricacies of bike maintenance, participants received comprehensive instruction tailored to their skill level.

Riders from the No Problems Motorcycle Club, who identified themselves as Squash, OJ and Pankerro agreed in unison that the initiative’s impact on the biking community was becoming increasingly evident by paving the way for a brighter, safer future on South Africa’s roads.

Another motorcycle enthusiast who only identified herself as Dudu, said she has been a rider since 2022 and proud owner of a 2007 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider, which she had the front-end rear lowered since she is only 152cm. It now has a 60cm seat height.

She was just accompanying a friend on the day of the event.

“My feet are flat on the ground, and I feel much more comfortable and able to control my bike when I come to a stop”.

Dudu said she had lost at least three biker friends on the roads, mostly due to inconsiderate road users, but in one instance because the rider was not trained or experienced on how to handle the bike in different emergency situations.

As a result, she said she hoped awareness initiatives that assisted riders and shared knowledge became a regular feature and accessible to all bikers.

Themba, the coordinator, said the partnership with SANRAL has already trained over 300 bikers and have expanded into other provinces after a successful pilot on a regional basis.

Progress Hlahla, the Regional Manager for SANRAL’s Northern Region – which include Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng – recently emphasized in Polokwane, Limpopo the need for increased safety on our roads and lauded this initiative which seeks to ensure that bikers share the road space safely with other road users.

“SANRAL has identified motorcyclists as some of the most vulnerable road users, meaning they are more at risk of road fatalities or crashes.

“That is what brought about this initiative to host bikers and equip them with the necessary training and knowledge to be safe on the roads,” Hlahla remarked.

“The training involved safer riding, defensive riding (including cornering, correct sitting positions and lean angles while operating a motorcycle), motorcycle inspection, emergency braking, tyre pressure monitoring for road riding considering surface conditions and terrain, and the importance of wearing proper bike gear which can help prevent severe injuries,” he explained.

Launched in November 2017, Horizon 2030 is a long-term plan for SANRAL which articulates its vision, strategic and tactical interventions needed to deliver on its mandate, focusing on roads, stakeholders, mobility and road safety.

After great day of learning and experiencing on the track, the bikers enjoyed a sumptuous lunch while engaging each other about the day’s events – including one incident where a BMW biker lost control of his machine at a curve. The proper safety gear he was wearing made all the difference from road rash, broken bones and head injuries.

It became very clear for the motorcycle enthusiasts that investing in quality motorcycle gear is a wise decision for any rider. It offers enhanced safety, comfort and protection from the elements, ensuring that you can enjoy your passion for motorcycling while minimising risks.

“The sensation of riding a motorbike might be thrilling, but safety should always come first. Wearing the proper safety gear is one of the most essential aspects of remaining safe while riding a motorcycle,” advised Themba.