How to buy a classic motorcycle in SA?

'There are a few things you need to consider,’ writes bike guru Dries Van der Walt.

Top family cars in SA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

Stupid statements harm Arrive Alive

2004-12-21 12:25

What message is this Lamborghini Gallardo in Arrive Alive livery trying to convey? - picture Gerhardus Smit

John Oxley

Watson seems fixated on speed as the ONLY factor in road accidents, while seemingly ignoring the overwhelming evidence that the biggest killer on South Africa's roads is alcohol abuse!

Her latest utterance to the effect that "more people are being killed in accidents because people are driving faster" has no factual or statistical support, and seems to ignore the reports we see daily - more people are being killed and maimed in each accident because more people are travelling in each vehicle...

Overloaded minibus taxis and bakkies laden with innocent people overturning because tyres burst or drivers lose control; cars and trucks crashing off the road through driver fatigue or alcohol abuse; pedestrians staggering into the roadway and being maimed or killed because their brains are befuddled by booze.

These are the killers Wendy.

Ms Watson's faux pas number many, but THE most stupid was when she said drivers should not undertake advanced driver training because it makes them drive faster, which causes accidents.

Advanced driving

Advanced driver training teaches drivers to amend their speed to suit conditions; how to properly control their cars in emergencies; how to get the best out of electronic aids such as ABS systems and anti-skid programmes, and most of all, to be aware of, and be considerate to other road users.

Watson's latest claim about speed is on about on the same level as Minister Manto's assertion that eating garlic will prevent AIDS...

Let's forget about the politically expedient remarks, often, I believe, aimed at covering up problems rather than fixing them, and get down to the nitty gritty.

A recent study commissioned by the Automobile Association shows that 55% of drivers and 75% of pedestrians who lost their lives in road accidents in 2003 were under the influence of alcohol.

Deaths and injury are split 50:50 between pedestrians on one hand and motorists on the other.

That means that 65% OF ALL road deaths could be blamed on alcohol.

Yet more emphasis is placed on those who exceed the speed limit - limits which themselves often bear no relationship to the reality of road conditions - than on anything else.

Speed traps are set in places where few accidents happen; cops lurk behind bushes with laser guns while ignoring bad driving; accident victims lie bleeding while cops refuse to leave their speed posts.

All this does is strengthen the "us and them" rift which exists between traffic authorities and road users.

And stupid statements by people such as Wendy Watson make the whole Arrive Alive campaign seem, by association, just as stupid.

Check out our Stay Alive section for hints on how to drive safely


Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.