Durban - The family of one of the cyclists who was killed by an allegedly drunk driver on the M4 highway say they were angry and upset over “hurtful remarks” made by a popular radio DJ about the cycling fraternity.
Kevin Minter-Brown, who was dismissed from East Coast Radio on Wednesday because of his comment, wrote a post on Facebook on Monday, hinting at the illegal nature of the ride on Sunday in which two Kings Park Cycle Club members, Jared Dwyer and Richard da Silva, were killed.
He said he had found that several cyclists had died on that particular stretch of the M4 highway since 2010.
He later said the post – which dealt with starting a running club and running on the N3 – was meant to be humorous.
East Coast Radio general manager Boni Mchunu said on Wednesday: “In light of the insensitive and offensive comments made by contractor Kevin Minter-Brown, East Coast Radio has taken the decision to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
“East Coast Radio would like to humbly apologise for his callous remarks.”
Da Silva’s mother, Rosa, told The Mercury through tears that she could not accept “any word” that went against her son.
“You can’t make a hurtful joke about someone dying. We are all just devastated and cannot believe he was taken from us. I would not wish this hurt on any mother.”
Da Silva said her son had always been careful when cycling and questioned why people were blaming cyclists when it was alleged that the driver was drunk and had been speeding.
“He never drove drunk or recklessly. Safety was a priority for him,” she said.
“This time, only two people died. Next time, it could be 10 or 15, yet we are still blaming the cyclists.”
Meanwhile, members of several cycle clubs and the city attended a meeting held at the Green Hub at Blue Lagoon on Wednesday, where they formed the eThekwini Cycle Safe Forum and decided that the M4, from Sandile Thusi (Argyle) Road to Umhlanga, would be a no-go area until they had drafted a complete action plan to ensure safety.
The forum would include representation from the Road Traffic Inspectorate.
The M4 from Umhlanga to Ballito was a general access route, open to cyclists, said Daryl Harris, the chairman of the East Coast Cycling Club.
Greg Albert of Cyclesphere said: “People need to bear in mind that some recreational riders don’t belong to clubs, so they might still go cycling on this stretch of road. We’ve seen motorists taking pictures of those cyclists and sharing them on social media.
“We don’t want a witch-hunt; we are taking this decision as those who represent clubs in greater Durban.”
Durban metro police Senior Superintendent Theuns van Heerden said there was a difference between the law and what was safe.
“If you want to cycle on certain M (metropolitan) and R (regional) roads you can do that, but you need to think of the danger … Some cyclists ride recklessly, endangering all road users. Don’t let the sport that is so important to you override your sense of responsibility.”
Other cyclists shared suggestions that might be implemented over time, including the issuing of bike licences and the introduction of roadblocks to catch drunk drivers at different times.