BIKE CRASH: Two Carletonville riders were injured when the bike they were travelling on (pictured above) collided with a bakkie. Image: ER24
CAPE TOWN - ER24 is urging all road users to be cautious. During the past few weeks, several riders have either sustained serious, critical or fatal injuries.
With the aim of bringing about awareness and urging all road users to be careful, ER24 spoke to Etienne Smit (34), a professional photographer who became a quadriplegic following a collision.
Smit sustained severe injuries when a bakkie swerved into oncoming traffic, in an attempt to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of him, and collided head on with his Smit’s motorbike on Malibongwe Drive in Randburg earlier in 2015.
From January 1 2015 to date, ER24 has attended to just over 1100 collisions involving motorbikes.
Recent incidents with fatalities include:
• A rider who sustained fatal injuries in a collision with a bakkie in Cresta on August 11. Paramedics assessed the man and found that he sustained multiple severe injuries.
• A rider who died on July 31 following a collision with a vehicle a few kilometres outside Tzaneen. He was assessed and found to have sustained multiple severe injuries.
• A rider and pedestrian who were killed in a collision in Muldersdrift on July 2. Paramedics assessed the pedestrian and found that he had succumbed to his multiple fatal injuries. The rider showed no signs of life. It is understood that the pedestrian failed to notice the oncoming motorbike while he was crossing the road.
SMIT'S HORROR ORDEAL
Smit, a Roodekrans resident, in Gauteng, was transported to hospital for urgent medical attention. He underwent several surgeries to his neck and back and was in intensive care for 42 days.
Due to the damage caused Smit had to undergo extensive rehabilitation. He can move his hands and legs slightly and hopes to regain the strength needed to be able to stand and walk again soon.
He said: "I am getting stronger but still have a long road of recovery ahead. I have to learn to do things again. I am in a wheelchair and dependent on others to assist me with daily caring and tasks.
"I am angry but thankful. Being in a wheelchair and losing your independence is not easy to accept. As one can expect, the family was shocked following the incident but were very supportive. I have amazing support from my wife, parents, family and friends."
Not only did the incident result in emotional and physical challenges for Smit but the financial implications for him and his family have caused more strain. The Institute of Waste Management, the company that Smit’s mother works for, held a fundraiser - a show at The Barnyard Theatre to assist with some financial support.
Smit urges road users to have respect and to be alert and aware of traffic at all times.
ER24 has the following tips for road users:
• Do not speed. Slow down or alter your speed according to the environment you are in.
• Keep a safe following distance.
• Do not be impatient.
• Refrain from skipping stop signs and red traffic lights. Be cautious when changing lanes.
• Do not drive or ride while under the influence of liquor or drugs.
• Do not allow yourself to become distracted.
• Be calm while on the road. Avoid road rage.
• Indicators are there for a reason. Use them.
• Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and conduct regular safety inspections.
• Bikers and cyclists must wear approved protective gear. Also wear reflective or highly visible clothing.
• Bikers are urged to have some sort of identification or family contact details with them in case of an emergency.
*Have you been the victim of a bike crash or witnessed one on our roads? Send us your thoughts and we'll publish them. Get in touch with us via email.