Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal - It happened so fast. “I saw something like a bird fly past me and when I looked back I realised it was her,” said the boyfriend of a Richards Bay cyclist badly hurt in a collision with a car.
Schoolteacher Travishka Reddy, 23, was knocked off her bicycle on Saturday by a vehicle which mounted the grass verge they were cycling on. She has been moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a ward at Netcare The Bay Hospital.
The collision happened two days after off-road cycling star Burry Stander was killed while on a training ride when he was struck by a taxi in Shelly Beach. His death sparked outrage and spurred nationwide calls for regulations to impose a 1.5m gap – now dubbed the Burry Gap – between passing vehicles and bicycles.
Reddy’s companion, Vakil Sobharam, described how they had been cycling on the grassy verge alongside East Central Arterial Road in Richards Bay, against the traffic flow. Pedalling with them were two relatives.
Sobharam said on Tuesday that Reddy had been a few metres ahead of him at the time of impact. At first he thought a bird had shot past him.
“When I looked ahead of me, I realised that she was not there and when I saw the tyre of her bicycle under the car, I knew that the ‘thing’ that flew past me was actually her,” he said. The car that hit her was a Toyota Corolla trailing a street light pole, he said. When he saw Reddy lying on the grass he left his bike to run to her.
“She was unconscious and had one eye closed. I was panicking and tried to get her to wake up, with no luck. I then phoned the ambulance and her father,” he said.
Reddy was bleeding badly, especially from her head. “I could actually see her skull. Her one leg was suddenly very huge. It was a very scary thing to see. She had regained consciousness when the paramedics were attending to her and by the time her father came she was talking and the area was already full of people,” he said.
He said Reddy had broken her femur (thigh bone) in five places and had cuts on her face, arms and many other parts of her body.
“She is doing okay for now and I know she will get through this and we will continue to cycle once she is better. It is our hobby and something that we enjoy doing together.”
Reddy’s father, Vee, said he was thankful his daughter was alive. He said things might have been far worse had she not been wearing proper cycling gear.
“When Vakil called me I was playing squash and I never answer my phone when I am, but that day I did. I rushed there and on arrival I saw her lying on the grass with Vakil holding her. It was a hard thing to see her like that.”
He said he had then gone to where the driver was and had been unimpressed by his behaviour.
“He was fighting with everyone and seemed very intoxicated with something. It was an accident, yes, but my hope for him as a driver is that he learns from this incident.
“Because of the vibrant and lovely spirit that my daughter has, she will make full recovery. I believe she will recover sooner than expected. She is out of ICU and that is a great thing for us as a family.”.
From her bed, Reddy said: “I am in a lot of pain, but will be okay.”
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a 29-year-old-man appeared in the Richards Bay Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of reckless and/or negligent driving and driving a motor vehicle without a driving licence.
The man did not plead to any charges. He was released on bail and the case has been postponed until January 17.
Meanwhile, the church service for Burry Stander will take place at the Norwegian Settlers Church in Port Shepstone on Thursday at noon. Stander will be laid to rest on his family’s Bali Hai Farm, Umtentweni. The family has requested that mourners wear white because it was Stander’s favourite colour. - Daily News