Safety drive for Cape crash hotspots

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IOL mot pic aug23 R300 Accident Hotspot INDEPENDENT MEDIA An elderly Cape Town couple has hailed two metro police officers as heroes for going beyond the call of duty. File Photo: Cindy Waxa

City traffic authorities are to strengthen safety measures at Cape Town’s most dangerous accident locations. More than 600 crashes happened at just five of the most problematic intersections.

There has been an increase in the number of accidents at these hotspots over the past six months. During the previous financial year, there were more than 600 accidents at these five spots alone.

This has prompted a call for increased traffic patrols during peak accident times and better signage along those roads.

Informal traders rushing into the road and distracting billboards at traffic signals have been cited as some of the problems.

Stretches of major roads such as the Stellenbosch Arterial and the R300 are among the most dangerous. Each of these features twice on the list of accident hotspots.

More than 1000 people die on Cape Town’s roads each year. This number has been falling in the past four years but these hotspots are major contributors to the fatality rate. More than 500 people have been killed since the start of this year.

These high-accident locations are spread across Cape Town’s roads.

The most dangerous intersections are:

Stellenbosch Arterial and the R300.

Stellenbosch Arterial and Belhar Drive.

Stock Road and the R300.

Rosmead Avenue and Wetton Road.

The N7 and Potsdam Road.

Between May and July this year, there were 243 accidents at these intersections. That’s up from 186 during the previous three months. This is much higher than traffic services’ target of 134 accidents.

In the first three months of the previous financial year, there were just 25 accidents. However, there was a sharp increase in the following three months, with 157 accidents at the hotspots.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said reaching the targets would become more “onerous”. This was because the targets were reduced each year and the areas which had been used as “indicators” had been changed from where accidents were falling to the new hotspots instead.

Smith said much more safety measures were needed at those spots.

This included better lighting, improved signage and better road markings.

“In some cases there are also distractions at the signals, like billboards or other structures.”

A possibility was the removal of these structures.

At other intersections, informal traders running into the road were posing a danger to themselves and motorists.

“You then have to swerve and possibly cut into another lane to avoid hitting somebody.”

And more traffic officers would be sent to the areas, especially during times when high volumes of accidents had been recorded.

Smith said it was important to clamp down at the areas because incidents there were causing a disproportionate rise in fatalities on Cape Town’s roads.

In 2008, there were 1739 deaths on city roads. The following year this dropped to 1567. In 2010, the figure fell to 1487. And last year, 1321 people died. According to the most recent figures for this year, there have been 571 deaths on Cape Town’s roads so far. - Cape Argus

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