Swart: Truck not speeding

2011-01-20 22:30

Welkom - The truck involved in the crash which killed South Africa's foremost cyclist, Carla Swart, was moving at 74km/h shortly before the accident.

The speed limit on the road in question, the R708 between Winburg and Marquard, is 100km/h.

Carla was in South Africa to train, since it's currently too cold for training overseas. She and her parents are originally from George, but moved to the United States.

According to the marketing manager of the company in Welkom to which the truck belongs, Alwyn van der Merwe, after the accident the company studied the truck's movements and speed. He says the trucks are programmed not to exceed 85km/h.

"We're upset about the newspaper reports that said the truck had been speeding," he said on Thursday.

Van der Merwe says he was called to the scene right after the accident happened, and he called the police while he rushed there from Welkom.

He took photos of the accident scene on the narrow road - which has no hard shoulder - between Winburg and Marquard. He also gave police a copy of the truck's trip report, which indicates speed and movements.

According to the information from Cartrack Fleet Management, the truck with the registration number BYH 077 FS was doing 74km/h at 11:47:57 on January 9 on the R708 near Winburg.

The truck then slowed down to a speed of 51km/h, made a harsh brake, reducing the speed to 6km/h. The speed then decreased further and the truck then came to a stop.

Van der Merwe would be in contact with Carla's father, Deon, to convey his condolences.

Directly after the accident, Carla's father said he doesn't blame the truck driver, and he had learnt that the driver had done everything in his power to avoid the accident.

Barry Austin, Cycling South Africa's team manager and Carla's personal trainer, said on Thursday from Bultfontein, where he lives, that Carla and two other teammates had been staying with him.

They were on their way to Fouriesburg on Wednesday to a training camp, and they used the opportunity to do time trials on the way there.

Carla was just 20km into her time trial, which started in Windburg, when the accident happened.

News 24

  • Clint - 2011-01-21 07:20

    @Eteen, actually Gareth is not at all idiotic in expressing that sentiment. He is 100% accurate. Much is made of drivers looking out for cyclists yet the latter seem to think the roads are all theirs. Perhaps this IS a wake up call that cyclists need to take a little bit of responsibility for their own safety. I also fail to see where he said that the roads are just for cars? Perhaps you could point this out to me! It is your exact attitude by cyclists, the arrogance, that often leads to these terrible tragedies. You do not own the road. You are, however, entitled to use it but you would do well to do so with extreme caution AND sense. We have all, except other cyclists apparently, experience what Gareth refers to, as well as those cyclists who cycle 5 abreast, cycle in the middle of the road as they feel their 60km/k is fast enough for cars to wait behind them, cyclists having cleat "failure" at robots and falling over... all these things, and more, are dangerous and yet all the campaigns are about drivers looking after the safety of cyclists. And before someone decides to raise the issue, yes, this is tragic and yes, I extend my sincere condolences to her family but let cyclists learn from this!

      doodlenuts - 2011-01-21 07:47

      My condolences to Carla's family, friends & fellow cyclists! I agree with Gareth & Clint as well. Where I stay people also have this attitude that drivers are 1stly responsible for pedestrians and beware you that knocks down anybody in a street, you, your car & or passengers are all in trouble where their justice will be meted out to you. Your car will be damaged further & nobody will take responsibility so what I have now reverted to doing is stopping & asking kids playing in the street whether they have now become cars or if they have 3rd party insurance or sometimes I just tell them to f*ck out of the street. And yes I do not move out of the way in order that people can walk in the street when there is a pavement for them to walk on. What must be done is that people need to be educated on road rules & advised that both parties must take responsibility for all & not this campaign that says that drivers are guilty until proven innocent.

      Michael - 2011-01-21 08:43

      Clint , get of your high horse.........god forbid this happens to you or your family.This was a tragic mistake, we all make mistakes.Trust me when I say ...we need no wake up call, we are well aware of the danger on the roads and trying to stay alive while doing the sport we love. A very sad day for all. R.I.P Carla

      James - 2011-01-21 17:15

      Cycling three abreast, or in single file, arrogantly or humbly..... I have done enough riding to know that SA roads are just super dangerous for any rider... hence my deletion of this sport in favour of mountain biking and swimming.

  • Quintin de Kok - 2011-01-21 07:36

    Condolences to the family and friends of this young woman. Just a thought though; shouldn't this type of vehicle monitoring/tracing be mandatory in vehicles exceeding 10 ton carry capacity and in passenger vehicles exceeding 10 passenger carry capacity? This would be extremely helpful in the prosecution of those responsible for the bus accidents and truck accidents that plague our highways and bi-ways throughout South Africa. Showing companies and drivers that they are more likely to be held liable will definitely make our roads safer!

      40 Something - 2011-01-21 07:42

      You are so right Quintin. It would bring down the carnage on our roads. - 2011-01-21 07:46

      A great suggestion Quinton. This could be made mandatory and if correctly used will definitely make a positive impact on motoring in our country.

      Totman - 2011-01-21 08:39

      You would be surprised to learn that most vehicle do have tracking controlling systems in. It is very costly to the transporter and they are in a throat-cut business. The companies put it in to save fuel and for clearance when incidents, like these, happens. They sometimes have proof of there innocents in traffic offences, but it get rejected by officials. For a smaller company it can be very costly. The truck who is caring less than 20 tons and do there trips mostly in cities , being owned by small companies or supplying companies themselves[delivery trucks], are the ones less controlled and being in accidents, still get labeled as if from transport companies. If you read these report, like I have done on a daily bases, you will also see how many accidents they avoid, that was caused by us as motoring public not knowing how to react around these bigger vehicle. Yip, agree there is also cowboys in all industries.

  • rza - 2011-01-21 07:37

    It doesn't matter how fast the truck was traveling. Fact is she swerved in front of the truck and the truck driver will never be the same person again. Condolences to her family and I hope the truck driver and his family can get through this as well. I see a lot of cyclists driving in the middle of the lane at 40km/h or less and expect drivers to drive behind them. Respect other road users or get run over.

  • hangone - 2011-01-21 08:15

    Does it make any difference if the truck was doing 74km/h or 110km/h? She swerved in front of the truck. Its pretty stupid riding your bicycle on a 100km/h road. Darwin got her.

      wesleywt - 2011-01-25 14:09

      I hope Darwin gets you.

  • flicknife - 2011-01-21 08:27

    This accident is so tragic but has highlighted a few points which I need to comment on: @ Doodlenuts you are so right pedestrians do not know tha the pavemment with its beautifully paved walkways are there for them to use and not the road. Some walk four abreast in our road. @ Gareth it should be mandatory that all cyclists have a sticker on their cycles saying THINK CAR. @ Eteen you are obviously one of those cyclists that ride four abreast. Come and take a drive through Pinelands and surrounds on Sunday mornings and see how these cyclists show total disregard for the laws of the road. Single file is what is required unless you are participating in a race which has been sanctioned and there are traffic officials on duty and roads have been partially closed off to prevent accidents.

  • Michael - 2011-01-21 08:41

    I have been a cyclist and motorcyclist for a long time, so can speak from some experience. We are all to blame ( cyclists, motorcyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike) for the high accident rate on our roads. We don't respect the rules of the road and we don't respect each other. The traffic police also don't go do there jobs. I have driven in the USA and in Europe and the attitude of all road users is a miles ahead of the average SA road user. Nothing will improve until we ALL, including the traffic police, change our attitudes and start respecting each other.

      siren703 - 2011-01-21 08:54

      well said!!

      BardofAvon - 2011-01-21 11:04

      Well said x2.

      Xavier - 2011-01-21 11:05

      Micheal, well's so true. On SA roads during the festive season more than 1000 people (motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists etc) lost their lives on our roads, in comparison to the same time period to countries like Aus, NZ, UK etc. no more than 10 deaths was on their roads. That shows you the difference between the mentality of SA people on the roads and those of other countries, they are miles ahead.

      Itoldyouso - 2011-01-21 11:32

      Except for Italy meneer,

  • TwoPercenter - 2011-01-21 08:55

    I drive cars and ride bikes and I have seen disregard from both sides. There seems to be a growing feeling of intolerance to other road users whether they are other cars, bikes or pedestrians. It is easy to observe stupid behaviour by all 3 parties every day of the week. Not sure what the solution is but I can assure you when I am riding a bike I usually adopt a defensive and high awareness approach. Despite all the education that can be provided, I personally feel it is an attitude shift that is required. It is similar to the speeding and drink & drive 'culture' that is still accepted here when compared against many other countries.

      BardofAvon - 2011-01-21 11:05

      Yes. I have done 55000km on a superbike with not one incident (and some luck I have to say). The secret on two wheels is to "manage the conditions". Speed and so has nothing to do with it.

  • SAG - 2011-01-21 08:56

    As a cyclist myself this is a most unfortunate occurance and my heart goes out to the family. Yes I agree that cyclist do push the boundries on the rules of the road but so do motor vehicles. Firstly they do not respect each other but if my memory serves me correctly there is a pecking order when it comes to the rules. Pedestrian have first right of way. Cyclist second and then motor vehicles. Highways are for motor vehicles only and are marked accordingly. On other roads everyone is allowed to use them. Therefore it was the resposibility of the truck driver to assess the situation and slow right down. As for her swerving in front of the truck if he had slowed down enough he would have possibly avoided the impact and stopped timeously. I have been out on the road even if there is a verge and believe me it is scary when a truck comes past or even a motor vehicle when they are traveling at high speed. When driving a motor vehicle we are constantly assessing situations and adjust speed accordingly for self preservation so why can this not be carried out to our fellow road users. But today its much easier to say it was the other guys fault. Accidents happen and always will. But we could try and make roads safer by respecting each other.

      Xavier - 2011-01-21 11:24

      SAG, I disagree with you, you surely don't know the rules of the road.cyclists and pedestrians don't have the right of way above motorists on the roads. except where indicated. like the zebra stripes over the road, where the pedestriasn has the right of way to cross the road and the car needs to stop. Now if it is the case like you said, that means that I can go and walk in the middle of the road, and cars must then pile up at the back of me until I decide to move out of the way, same goes if I am on my bicycle, no man, you have the typical ignorant, arrogant, dunning-kruger effect cyclist mentality. the roads are there for cars. pedestrians have the right of way on the sidewalks next to the roads. cyclists don't fit in anywhere, even though they can use the roads and sidewalks, they need to get out of the way for the pedestrian and car. It wasn't the truck drivers fault that she is dead, she made and error and unfortunately paid the price for that, she did the wrong thing, at the wrong place at the wrong time. Things like these happens in life.The truck driver did every thing he could. don't crucify him, I've been in a similar situation like the truck driver, and trust me, it is not a nice feeling. go and keep your worthless opinion for yourself.

      Dicky - 2011-01-21 14:43

      @Xavier, what give you the right to tell us cyclist that we don't belong anywhere? We pay our taxes, pay VAT, pay licencing fees on our cars all of which pays for the roads that you think belongs to you. Do you have any idea what kind of revenue our sport generates? The Cape Argus on entry fees alone brings more than R300 million and that money is ploughed back into the country. We have been begging the government to build us facilities that would keep us off the road and this has finally started with a 16 km strip in Blouberg in Cape Town. Believe me we DONT WANT to be on the roads and have a near death experience EVERYTIME we go out on our bikes, my wife kisses me everytime i go out as if its the last time she's going to see me and this is our reward for trying to keep fit and healthy so we don't further deminish either your medical resources or government resources with lifestyle diseases. I agree that there cyclist who give us a bad name by not following rules of the road, but most cyclist I know would rather follow the rules because in a contest between car and a cyclist, car ALWAYS wins. My condolences to the family, this is SAD day

  • Neville - 2011-01-21 09:27

    Why are we going on the blame train someone has lost her life , let us rather feel for the family in this time of bereavement , and move away from this petty arguments

      MBez31 - 2011-01-21 12:13

      My thoughts exactly. Thank you, Neville.

      James - 2011-01-21 17:22

      yes the rants between cyclists and motorists on this blogsite explain why there are so many bike fatalities in this country... not much mutual respect out there it can be said.. For me, after one too many close shaves, have decided long ago to hang up my road bike. SA has never been and never will be safe for cyclists.

  • lizelschulze - 2011-01-21 15:56

    First off I would like to say that everybody who has a BAD opinions and disrespectful comments, please keep it to yourself. Think before you type something harsh. She was not a irresponsible btw, she had taken the right safety precautions. In the USA, where she has been training for the past 7 years, they ride on the the right side of the road, in other words they check for motorists over the left shoulder. She checked over her left shoulder, because of habit. YES it was a mistake, a fatal one. YES she swerved infront of the truck. THATS IT!. It was a mistake made. So I also want to state that I know Carla's parents and they are more than heartbroken. So I am asking that everybody please keep their harsh and disrespectful bickerings to themselves. The family has enough to deal with right now. So if you have something harsh you want to add, don't. Think before you type, how would you feel if somebody was going on and on about the accident your daughter had?. Carla rest in peace and you will be sorely missed by family, friends and rivals.

      piet.strydom - 2011-01-22 04:52

      Also, in the USA, vehicles overtake cyclists by going to the next lane...

  • Antoinette - 2011-01-21 18:15

    Right, this was quite easy - Riding on pedal cycles 1) No person shall ride a pedal cycle on a public road unless he or she is seated astride on the saddle of such pedal cycle. 2) Persons riding pedal cycles on a public road shall ride in single file except in the course of overtaking another pedal cycle, and two or more persons riding pedal cycles shall not overtake another vehicle at the same time. 3) No person riding or seated on a pedal cycle on a public road shall take hold of any other vehicle in motion. 4) No person riding a pedal cycle on a public road shall deliberately cause such pedal cycle to swerve from side to side. 5) No person riding a pedal cycle on a public road shall carry thereon any person, animal or object which obstructs his or her view or which prevents him or her from exercising complete control over the movements of such pedal cycle. 6) A person riding a pedal cycle on a public road shall do so with at least one hand on the handle-bars of such pedal cycle. 7) Whenever a portion of a public road has been set aside for use by persons riding pedal cycles, no person shall ride a pedal cycle on any other portion of such road. 8) A person riding a pedal cycle on a public road or a portion of a public road set aside for use by persons riding pedal cycles, shall do so in such manner that all the wheels of such pedal cycle are in contact with the surface of the road at all times. Seriously, stop the finger pointing. RIP Carla.

  • pages:
  • 1