chopper6 A SAPS Air Wing helicopter arrarently on an training exercise, rises out of a donga in the veld in a highly wooded area.

The news about a motorcyclist who was arrested for covering his number plate with panties raised a chuckle last week, but I must admit that after the initial mirth all it did was irritate me.

What got me bristling was that police called in an SAPS helicopter to apprehend this one lone biker. Sure, he was speeding at more than 200km/h and illegally covering his number plate and deserved to be nabbed, but I’m wondering how many times a police helicopter’s been used to apprehend a misbehaving minibus taxi driver, or any of the other hundreds of dangerous and ill-mannered motorists occupying our roads.

All this trouble to catch one biker, when we know that motorcyclists are actually involved in a small percentage of accidents, and when they do crash they usually tend to cause harm only to themselves.

In contrast, badly-driven taxis routinely cause collisions resulting in the loss of many lives.

I’m certainly not condoning what the biker did.

But similarly I’m not condoning traffic law enforcers for their misguided focus and choosing soft targets instead of placing their resources where the real problem lies.

I haven’t ever seen a police helicopter swoop in to arrest a driver who made a dangerous U-turn, a driver who illegally overtook traffic in the yellow lane, or a driver who took an on-ramp into fast-moving freeway traffic at a dawdling 40km/h (yup, speed kills but going too slowly for the conditions can also be dangerous, a fact which our speed-trap-happy cops never take into account).

We as media are also to blame for splashing “Driver nabbed for going 200km/h” articles on our pages, because that makes a far better headline than “Driver nabbed for joining freeway at 40km/h” - not that, to my knowledge, anybody’s ever been apprehended for the latter.

Because, our intrepid traffic law enforcers seem to believe you can drive as badly as you like as long as you’re below the speed limit.

I’m hoping that one day our traffic cops will be mature enough to apprehend dangerous drivers no matter what their velocity happens to be.


Authorities have also suspended the Dial Direct and LeadSA free pothole service. You know, the crowd who fixed more than 50 000 potholes in Joburg for free?

Why? Because of some red tape that the proper tender procedures hadn’t been met. Remember, Dial Direct fixed the potholes for free, doing a job that the municipality was incapable of doing.

But the authorities decided that dotting some bureaucratic I’s and crossing some T’s was more important than filling potholes that cause vehicle damage and road accidents.

But, at least they nailed that biker with the panties on his plate, which makes me feel much safer on our roads. We’re in good hands. - Star Motoring

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