The Ingrid moment

25 November 2019 | Local News

Yolanda Nel The husband of a cyclist who almost lost his wife when a reckless driver bumped her while she was cycling along the Western Bypass, is pushing for stronger laws.
“The recent death of Ingrid van Wyk Scholtz on the bypass, where [my wife] Michelle was almost killed on 27 April this year, will mark a turning point in the safety of road-users, including cyclists and pedestrians on Namibian roads, but only if we stand together,” Johan Vorster wrote on his Facebook page.
Vorster says he has had enough of ill-disciplined drivers causing carnage on Namibian roads. He hopes that all right-minded individuals feel the same for the sake of the safety of themselves, cyclists, pedestrians and more importantly, children.
“I will present a proposal to the Namibian Cycling Federation, the Namibian Olympic Committee and the Mayor of Windhoek to draw up a petition for the drafting of a new law. The petition will then be presented to the respective ministry and eventually to the president of our country for approval,” he wrote.
He says it will be called the Ingrid moment.
The proposed law includes that any legal video footage of a vehicle that does not obey the laws of the road, will lead to the arrest of the driver/owner of the vehicle who is to be charged with reckless driving with the intent to harm others until (s)he can prove themselves not guilty. He also proposes that any driver that bumps a cyclist or pedestrian (injured or not injured by any incident) on the road will immediately be guilty of “reckless driving and attempted murder” until proven not guilty. Cyclists should also be given legal authority on roads, with written rules to abide by.
“I believe that by adjusting these laws, drivers on our roads will start respecting and be more aware of cyclists, pedestrians and other road users, and accept them as common road users and will keep within the laws of the road, for their own sake,” he continued.
Vorster believes that if drivers respect and obey the laws of the road and adhere to speed limits and overtaking laws, and start showing respect and patience towards others, these killings and “getting away with murder, reckless driving and blatant mutilation of other human beings, through their nonchalance, arrogance and lawlessness” will decline.
Lawyer Theo Barnard endorses this proposal and is prepared to offer his services towards the cause free of charge. However, he noted that no legal system will ever deem any offender to be guilty, “unless proven innocent”. But there are ways to place the onus of proof on the party who collided with a cyclist.

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