08 Dec, 2015

Hit-and-run case back in court


Following the hit-and-run incident in which cyclist Dr Koos Roux was killed, the Pedal Power Association has appointed Advocate Ross McKernan to assist the prosecution in this matter. The case is appearing in the Kuilsriver court this week.

In May 2013, Roux (59) was enjoying a quiet Sunday morning training ride with his son, Kobus. “We were riding in single file, inside the yellow line, heading towards Stellenbosch on the Bottelary Road,” Kobus said.

Without warning, father and son were struck from behind by a white vehicle which then sped away from the scene. Later Koos Roux was declared dead on arrival at the Louis Leipoldt Hospital.

The Police tracked down the accused by means of debris from his damaged car found in the road. Geoffrey Merrick faces charges of culpable homicide and failure to stop at the accident scene. Merrick appeared in court and was released on bail. The case has been postponed on several occasions in the last two years, and the family appealed to the Pedal Power Association for assistance.

According to Beth Roux, widow of the late Dr Roux, her husband was a keen cyclist who was passionate about the sport.

Beth says that the tragedy has had an enormous impact on the family. “In a split second our lives completely changed. We are still struggling to come to terms with what happened and the fact that the trial has not been concluded is a constant reminder of that horrific day,” explains Beth. “I really feel that more should be done to ensure the safety of cyclists on our roads,” the widow says.

The number of road users increase year on year. Since 2013, accidents involving motor vehicles and cyclists have increased by over 80% and statistics show that 40% of all road fatalities are vulnerable road users, including cyclists.
Statistics show that almost all cycling fatalities on South African roads are caused by cyclists being hit by a motor vehicle from behind, or when a vehicle underestimates the speed of a cyclist and turns in front of the cyclist. Cyclists have virtually no protection when they are involved in an accident, so by giving them adequate space on the roads, motorists can avoid accidents that can cost precious lives.
“There are thousands of cycling commuters using our roads as a means of getting to work every day. The road is for everyone’s use, so let’s show tolerance and respect for one another,” said PPA Chairman Steve Hayward.
“The PPA has made significant progress in promoting safe cycling, but every death or incident reminds us it’s still not enough. Please support our ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ campaign and let’s raise awareness to keep cyclists safe on our roads,” Hayward added.