The memorial site of slain South Coast Olympic cyclist Burry Stander now stands without the “ghost bike” which had sentimental value to the family.
The memorial site of slain South Coast Olympic cyclist Burry Stander now stands without the “ghost bike” which had sentimental value to the family.

SA Olympic cyclist Burry Stander’s ’ghost bike’ stolen from memorial site

By Anelisa Kubheka Time of article published Sep 14, 2020

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Durban – THE family of the late South African Olympic cyclist Burry Stander are replacing his stolen “ghost bike” at the memorial site where he was fatally hit by a minibus.

The bike, which he had used in the 2008 Olympics, and was erected seven years and eight months ago, was stolen recently from the corner of Stott Street and the R102 in Shelly Beach. A ghost bike is a roadside memorial placed where a cyclist is killed or injured.

The South Coast cyclist would have celebrated his 33rd birthday on Wednesday.

Stander’s mother, Mandie Stander, said the replacement bicycle had no meaning to the family.

“The bike they took was one he rode at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing where he finished 15th. He was a youngster of about 18. It had sentimental value.”

She said the replacement would be a cheap one that would be sprayed white again.

“It will be a ghost bike just to remind people what can happen when we all don’t adhere to the rules of the road, when we all don’t have respect for other road users. If I can spare one family the heartache we got to know seven years and nearly nine months ago, I feel then the bike is serving a purpose,” she said.

Burry Stander had used this bike in the 2008 Olympics, and was erected seven years and eight months ago. It was stolen recently from the corner of Stott Street and the R102 in Shelly Beach

Taxi driver Njabulo Nyawose was sentenced to an effective three years in prison in the Port Shepstone Regional Court in July 2015.

He was driving his taxi on Marine Drive in Port Shepstone in January 2013 when the traffic came to a standstill, due to the busy holiday period.

He went over a double barrier line and overtook the stationary vehicles in front of him, while driving in the lane of oncoming traffic.

He was in the process of turning right when he collided with Stander who was cycling towards him.

The court found no contributing negligence on the part of the cyclist and ruled that the accident was solely due to Nyawose’s disregard for the traffic sign.

He was sentenced to six years for culpable homicide, half of which was suspended for five years and a R5 000 fine or three months’ imprisonment (wholly suspended for five years on condition he was not convicted of a similar offence again) for failing to obey a traffic sign.

Mandie said since noticing that Stander’s ghost bike was gone on Thursday, there had been no positive leads, even from local scrapyards. “If they took it to sell it for scrap metal, it would be rejected as the frame is carbon fibre and not metal. I’ve been to all the scrap metal businesses in Maritzburg. I had a collage of his photos on aluminium on the pole, they took that, too. It is very sad because it was secured and nobody touched it for seven years and to find it actually gone it’s sad to realise how little respect people have for others.”

She hoped that if the bike was taken by someone in the South Coast, there was a possibility of finding it.

“It’s just as hard as the very first day when all this happened. It really pulled the family apart and it’s hard for a mom to come to an understanding about this. Burry was an amazing person and he gave me so much love and affection,” she said. “He appreciated all that I had done for him. It’s a gap that can’t be filled, although I do try to stay positive for my other children. It’s his birthday on Wednesday. We try to celebrate but it’s not easy because things will never change.”

Daily News

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