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.

Blue light protocol: A life-saver?

2013-11-05 13:52

’A LIFE-SAVING DOCUMENT’: Wheels24 reader DAVID VIGILANT says that road users’ chances of survival will increase greatly by following the blue-light protocol . Image: ARRIVE ALIVE


The Justice Project South Africa and the Road Traffic Management Corporation released a 'blue light protocol' document in a joint venture to try and combat blue light crime and to assist the public and law officials to follow the same guidelines.

Wheels24 reader DAVID VIGILANT responds to the Wheels24 'Screw the blue light protocol' article published in November 2013:

Let’s face it: when men with guns are coming to hurt you, you really don’t have time to be “clever”. You follow a predetermined course of action that gives you the greatest possibility of a safe escape.

The question of whether the threatening vehicle is police or not is immediately answered within the document, and real police have no alternative but to comply with your actions IF you follow the guide.

I have addressed each of the comments as posted in Italics, with the same degree of cynicism enjoyed by the Wheels24 editors.

This, word for word, is the "blue light protocol" released by the Justice Project South Africa and the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
First up, well done to both groups, this is a public-private JOINT statement, someone is finally started to take notice of us citizen types. We can be sure that this document had a wide variety of inputs, unlike your article.

Wheels24, however, thinks its authors live in an alternative universe: the real answer to the problem lies in the government developing the political will to enforce proper training for police officers but only those who have been determined as intelligent, sociologically stable and with a guaranteed absence of criminal activity.
The only alternate universe is the one outlined above, and while sounding all nice and fluffy, is wasted paragraph space, entirely irrelevant to the document or keeping safe on the roads. The “real problem” being addressed is men with blue lights and guns, stay focussed please.

Their pay should be commensurate with their responsibilities and ongoing training for promotion should be easily accessible. The downside is that they should be governed by a strict set of rules which, if broken, would result in immediate dismissal, tough financial penalties in line with their crime, and/or hard jail time without parole.
Yes, our president should represent us too, and be honest, charitable and peace loving.

We didn't write this, it's as it was delivered... (The crimes, as reported in the media, involve not only robbery but also rape and murder. The italic comments are by Wheels24. - Editor).
The issue is actions by blue light vehicles, and how to respond. DO pay attention?

(What, the bad guys are just going to say "Oh, the driver's read the protocol, let's get out of here!")
The “bad guys” biggest strength is in surprise and confusion. If you can surprise or confuse them, or suggest by your behaviour that you are not panicking, they will find other prey.

(Even the protocol authors are not sure - note how the emphasis is laid on you "to be wise".)
The authors aren’t pretending to be god, unlike the Wheels24 editors.

(except we DON'T KNOW who are the legitimate police.)
Yes, so a handy set of protocols was developed to help you with that.

(Which is where everything starts to fall apart. You probably don't know where the police station is, if you drive to a fuel station and the guys in the following car ARE bad guys, you will endanger other customers, the petrol attendants, the staff in the 24-hour shop.)
No. I cannot accept that. The men with guns will endanger other people. You cannot guilt trip people into NOT seeking help, that is completely irresponsible reporting, and dangerous. Petrol stations have cameras, many witnesses and often security teams nearby, all discouraging signs to hit and run criminals. You WILL be safer in public than alone on a dark road.

(Have the authors never heard of false plates, unscrupulous platemakers? Do they think the bad guys will use their family car? But the following suggestions are sound...)
If you are followed, even by a car with “fake plates”, that information is crucial to an effective response by the police. Being aware and alert is also crucial both in reporting the incident later, and also in preventing a panic response. Keep calm, act intelligently.

Wheels24 suggests you keep your hands in plain sight, where they can be seen by the station's security cameras, preferably in the air. Tell any passengers, whoever they are, to do the same and to stand still if they exit the car.)
Oh look, a positive addition (clearly not proof read – this was the editors huh?) well done!

(No sirs, the sensible thing to do in this case is STOP or you WILL BE SHOT.)
If someone is going to shoot at you, stopping means they’ll hit you – game over. Moving at ANY speed more than doubles your chances of survival, a moving target is incredibly difficult to hit. You are dangerously wrong in your assumptions, a retraction really is appropriate.

Phone the police immediately. (The emergency number may or may not answer...)
Hijackers are less likely to continue if they see you taking immediate action when threatened. They have an extremely small time window once the police are aware of them. Yes they’ll find another target, but it won’t be you.

I’m extremely disappointed by this playground type response to a life-saving document. Your comments are dangerously ignorant. Currently any blue light vehicle has a 50/50 chance of being real. By panicking you will create a dangerous situation for yourself and your family, whether they be cops or robbers. By following this guide, you will immediately improve your chances of survival if they are real police.

Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...

Inside Wheels24

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