Cycling

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.

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