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Tuesday, March 9, 2021
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Speed Cameras or Fatality?

By Siphokazi Naki

Businesses and residents around Western Avenue have witnessed over 10 accidents in less than 6 months, as a result of negligent driving on the main road that connects Vincent to the N2.

Furious bystanders at a recent accident scene, hurled abuse at authorities claiming they do nothing to caution speeding motorists who are taking advantage and have no respect for the traffic laws.

“Motorists are careless because the officials themselves don’t care if there are fatalities. There are no speed humps or speed warning signs in the main street. I wonder, is BCM really waiting for someone to actually die on this road, before they do something?” questioned a resident.

The topic was triggered, after yet another collision took place last week, this time involving an ambulance which was apparently rushing to an emergency.

An ambulance collided with a Hyundia bakkie as it was exiting the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) offices on Western Avenue.

According to a witness, Hilton Hensberg who was working close by, the driver of the van was driving straight down towards the Mall and the ambulance came out of the driveway and drove straight into the van. “The van collided with the ambulance on the back because the ambulance basically jumped out in front of the van,” described Hensberg.

Eastern Cape Rising Sun spoke with the driver of the bakkie, Nathan Chandlers, who said the ambulance just pulled out from the exit. “I hooted and hit brakes and swerved and it ended up hitting me. So, I ended up hitting it on the side at the back. I was in motion while it was still moving. Fortunately, there was no one injured”, explained a relieved Nathan.

Residents and businesses are now hoping BCM and the relevant authorities will take into consideration their request to have speed breakers and warning signs installed.

However, BCM does not think so.

BCM’s Communications Officer Luxole Komani said that the speed limit for this road is 60km/h and also for this class of road speed humps are not accepted as they would cause tremendous delays to the traffic hence the intersection is controlled by traffic signals. However, Hensberg like many other businesses and road users disagree.

“This is EMS there should be signs visible showing that there is an emergency vehicle exit ahead and speed humps for the ongoing traffic to avoid such incidents. It is not about the delay to the traffic, but people’s safety,” added Hensberg.

“What doesn’t BCM understand? EMS needs to have immediate access to the roads and speed calmers on either side of the road is a must. I’ve seen these on the way to Queenstown at rural schools, why can’t they put it in Western Avenue? It’s a busy road, yes, this would just slow traffic to the legal speed limit,” commented a business owner.

BCM spokesperson, Komani added, “Our Traffic officers at times do monitor driver behavior on this road as well. However, road safety demands that drivers obey the rules of the road and drivers are being fined when they are caught breaking the law. Also, driver behavior is the contributor to EMS not being given the right of way.”

The business owner who witnessed traffic officers on Western Avenue added, “This is not a permanent solution. Occasionally we see traffic cops check for outstanding fines. Why don’t BCM install a traffic camera to curb speedsters then? This way the government can also make more money and fix other roads.” added the business owner.

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