1/12/11 
cyclist Neil Lightfoot who was hit by a car
photo: Ryan Matthew Adams
1/12/11 cyclist Neil Lightfoot who was hit by a car photo: Ryan Matthew Adams

Cyclists question justice system

By Rizwana Sheik Umar Time of article published Dec 2, 2011

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Amashovashova race director Annie Batchelder has called on authorities to do more to ensure that hit-and-run drivers face the full might of the law.

This comes after a Durban driver, Indran Secaraj, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of reckless and negligent driving, failing to perform duties after an accident and disregard for road traffic signs.

Secaraj is alleged to have knocked over cyclist Neil Lightfoot at the intersection of Rippon Road and RD Naidu Drive in Sydenham last month.

He was released on warning and the matter was adjourned to December 15.

Batchelder, who had accompanied Lightfoot to court, said in her 15-years as race director for the biggest cycling event in Durban, she had never heard of a single conviction where cyclists had either been killed or knocked over by drivers.

She said she had called on everyone on her database to give her feedback about such cases, so she could compile a report about the seriousness of these accidents.

Lightfoot, still on crutches, said: “The only reason I am here is to highlight what is happening to cyclists.

“Justice just isn’t served in these cases. There should be some sort of recourse – like a suspended driver’s licence.”

He said he was also concerned about the increase in the number of accidents involving cyclists in the past year.

In August, cyclist Themba Nxumalo, 29, of Reservoir Hills was killed in an accident near the Umgeni Road/N2 interchange.

In February, teenage cyclist Michael Ramsey died while taking part in the monthly Lassen Road Series cycle race on the R102 at Camperdown, near Pietermaritzburg.

In October last year, Olive Knight, 54, of Morningside, died when hit by a car during a cycling event at Midmar Dam. In July last year prominent Midlands businessman Justin McCarthy, a keen cyclist in the Howick area, was killed while cycling. His bike collided with a bakkie along Curry’s Post Road. The 29-year-old driver of the bakkie was arrested.

Westville cyclist Allan Seager died after being struck by a car on Masabalala Yengwa (NMR) Avenue in June 2008.

A magistrate found the State had presented no evidence to show how the accident occurred and had failed to prove that the driver had been negligent. He was found not guilty of culpable homicide, reckless and negligent driving and failing to stop after a crash.

l Batchelder advised motorists to slow down as they approached a cyclist.

She said motorists should allow for at least 1m distance, between their car and the cyclist. She also condemned hit-and-run drivers and described them as “disgraceful”.

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