David Moseley wrote…
I didn’t know Burry Stander. I’d spoken to him a few times and met him at mountain bike events around the country. What a top man. What a champion. What a sweet fellow. What a loss.
Sadly, with news that over 1 300 people died on the roads this festive season, he’s become another statistic. And not the one that we all expected at this year’s Absa Cape Epic or at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
For all the finger-wagging and moralising, though, Stander’s death – along with the other 1 300-plus needless deaths on the roads – should cause a nation to become deeply introspective and increasingly worried about what’s happening on our roads.
In reality, nothing will change. We’re all responsible for Stander’s death. We’re all to blame for the other 1300 deaths. It’s not just taxis. It’s not just “them”. It’s everyone. You. Me. CEOs. Lowly interns. Varsity students. Suburban moms. Everyone.
There are no rules on South Africa’s roads. None. It’s a do-as-you-please motor vehicle melee, a freewheeling fun ride for every person who gets behind the wheel of a car. I don’t think I’m far off when I say that every single motorist in this country breaks a traffic law every single time they get into their cars. Myself included.
Our arrogance, egos, impatience, ill manners and total disregard for the lives of others on the road all contributed to Stander’s death as much as the man sitting at the wheel of the car that killed him.
Just this weekend I was pushed off the road – the N2, while doing 130km/h (10km over the speed limit, you’ll notice) – by some fools driving so closely behind me that I could see nose hairs ruffle as impatient nostrils flared at my temerity to vaguely obey the speed limit.
Stand at a set of traffic lights. As they turn red, immediately step into the road to cross. You know what? You’re now dead. While crossing an intersection on a green man, I was almost run over by a police van two weeks ago. He jumped the red light at a pace that far outstripped the suburban 60km/h limit.
Stand again at any STOP street. Watch what goes on. Mothers in cars with children, mom yacking away on her cellphone. Illegal. Does it stop them? No.
When it comes to the road, we’re all above the law. It’s the one place we all think we’re special. “Oh, I’m such a good driver,” you often hear. Says who? You? Ha. You’re a fool. You’re all fools. I’m a fool.
Blind rises, solid white lines, indicating, speeding, reckless overtaking – these things mean nothing to South African motorists. What will happen now, with 1300 deaths our nation’s collective Christmas present? Sweet f-all. That’s what. We’ll sigh at the sadness of it all, only to ache for Christmas holidays all year long and then speed to our deaths come this December.
Look in the mirror. You killed Burry Stander. I killed Burry Stander. Until we realise that, until we realise that every little action on the road leads to bigger, more heinous devastations we’ll just carry on murdering each other.
Happy New Year, assholes.
– Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.