Two cyclists on a tandem bicycle were killed when a police van ploughed into them while they were riding on the R550 in Eikenhof, south of Joburg, yesterday. The two police officers in the vehicle escaped uninjured.

Police spokesman Tshisikhawe Ndou said the officers were travelling from the Kliprivier police station when the accident happened at about 9.45am.

“We are investigating a case of culpable homicide but no arrests have been made as yet,” said Ndou, adding that the officers were being treated for shock.

Ndou said the cyclists had not been identified, but Alberton cyclist Gerald (aged 38) tweeted “RIP Theresa and Hendry!!”

Helivac emergency response owner Jean-Pierre van Tonder was on the scene of the accident, and said that “from the position of the bikes and bodies, the police van appeared to be travelling in the same direction as the bicycle”.

“This is absolute negligence. It’s not a road where cyclists could be hiding behind bends or not visible,” said Van Tonder, adding that the two were dressed in bright red and blue cycling kits.

“How this vehicle didn’t see the cyclists I have no idea. It’s a long, straight stretch of road. You can see in front and behind of you for 3km. The police van mowed into the grass for some distance before stopping. It was definitely travelling at quite a speed,” he said.

Meanwhile, roads to Gauteng are experiencing extremely heavy traffic as holidaymakers return home, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said yesterday.

More than 1 100 people have died on the roads during the festive season, according to its preliminary statistics.

Thousands of cars an hour were passing through the various tolls on the roads back to Gauteng.