Sport on by Mogan Segadavan
EACH morning thousands of joggers, runners and cyclists around country set out at the crack of dawn on their training runs.
Sadly some of them will never come back home to their loved ones. Their lives will be cut short by some idiot on four wheels.
The scene was played out in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Five young athletes were among a group training for the Soweto Marathon. They will never run again after they were brutally mowed down, allegedly by a drunk driver.
Their broken bodies lay scattered on the road. One of those killed was a chemical engineer who had just moved into her new home and was planning to go on a holiday to Thailand and was going to be a bridesmaid for one of her best friends.
A sixth runner is fighting for her life in hospital.
The driver was arrested and will be charged with murder.
While video footage seems to suggest he intentionally drove into the joggers he will in all probability have some hotshot lawyer get him off the hook on a technicality.
In March last year three cyclists from Oudtshoorn, who were riding with a group of about nine, were killed early in the morning when a bakkie ploughed into them on the R62 near Calitzdorp while apparently overtaking a truck.
One of the group was admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
Another cyclist died over the weekend in a suspected hit-and-run accident in Boksburg.
In June this year, a cyclist was killed when he was hit by a truck on Johannesburg’s East Rand.
The man was cycling in the emergency lane on Zuurfontein Road when a truck struck him head-on.
In 2009 a businessman and avid cyclist was killed when a shipping container truck crashed into the group with which he was cycling.
He had been training to take part in his 10th Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour.
The story goes on and on. Will it ever end? As a former runner and cyclist, I have had my fair share of abuse by motorists who think it is fun to play chicken with cyclists and runners.
You often see motorists come to a screeching halt centimetres from a runner or cyclist before driving off laughing. What if the brakes failed or they misjudged the distance?
Then there those motorists who wait for runners to cross the road before revving their cars causing the runner to startle. What if the driver’s foot on the brakes slipped?
I have had a motorist pull up alongside me while I was cycling and told to f*** off the road and forcing me into the bush.
While some runners and cyclists are no angels on the road, the majority deserve better from motorists.
Perhaps the authorities should follow the example of Cape Town, which is building cycling routes around the city.
Or we could have New York’s Central Park in every city.
But then we will have to put up with muggers.
After all, this is South Africa.