New regulations governing the use of 4x4 vehicles and quad bikes throughout southern Africa could soon become law, according to a report last week. This comes after complaints that South African 4x4 owners have been causing large-scale damage to ecologically-sensitive areas in some neighbouring states.
We posed the question: What are your thoughts/suggestions on this? How should the authorities handle those who conduct reckless off-road activities?
Below are some reader responses:
The majority of readers were at loggerheads regarding the regulating of 4x4s on our roads. The issue seems to be a catch-22 whereby a few 4x4 users' negligence ruins the image of the many responsible 4x4 owners, whilst many users were sceptical of government's ability to enforce laws even if they were to be emplaced.
Reader Baker said he believed that the majority of 4x4 users are simply posers who have no real love for the outdoors.
"The sale of 4x4s for non-commercial or farming use should be banned - 99% of them never leave the tar, they simply sit in traffic burning 5 times the amount of gas as the rest of us - and anyone who says 'but I use it to go to the countryside' should come up with another excuse - you're just posing!"
Panalla backed Baker's claims of most 4x4 users being pretenders by saying, "4X4's are the new BMW's. No BMW driver could be as obnoxious and ignorant as these horrible beasts! Laws should be stricter on and off roads. If you are a true camper, you will have respect for your country and fellow countrymen. If it just adds to your bling then you are just plain shallow."
'Lets not ban, lets regulate'
Readers HCS and Rex agreed that what is needed isn't the banning or restricting of 4x4 use, but rather efforts by government to focus on creating more environmental awareness.
"I do agree that some 4x4 owners create havoc out there, but I do get tired of the generalization that all owners are the same. Maybe some form of driver training/awareness will help to restore the image that has been created by these hooligans," said HCS.
REX stated that, "Yes there are problems as there are problems will all sports, lets not ban lets regulate and stop giving comments from the pavilion Mr and Mrs no 4x4 and Quad owner."
'A law is only a good as its policing'
Reader NCL said the actions of a few drivers are ruining the image of those responsible 4x4 users.
"To ban 4x4's is not the solution, but give the brainless people that are not part of a club and busy ruining the environment with senseless driving, a ridiculously large fine."
Reader Hiluxfan concurred with NCL in saying that the majority of responsible 4x4 drivers are given a bad name by those who have a disregard for rules and regulations.
"I agree with NCL. If the policing effort can be spread out amongst the responsible 4x4 community then the effect of such fines will have better effect. A law is only a good as its policing."
In a similar vein, readers Greg and Pedro felt that quad bikes should be restricted to private areas and not driven in public places.
Greg said, "Quad bikes should be banned completely, unless they are ridden on private land... anywhere else, take them away!"
"I think most normal people are sick and tired of Quads/Scramblers screaming around our streets and parks over weekends," said Pedro.
Readers Wirly and The Grem had different ideas as to how new 4x4 laws could affect drivers.
Wirly said, "This is just another excuse for our dictatorship, sorry, government to make more money..."
The Grem added that, "What about the guy like myself, who has a 4x4 parked on the driveway but drives a golf to work. Must I be punished? I use my 4x4 to go on drives in designated areas."
Overall it seems government needs to come up with a fair compromise in regulating 4x4 use while also developing a greater capacity for enforcing all the laws of the road.
Check out other responses to our blog here