February 2 2015 at 10:42am ·
Yesterday afternoon, whilst on a mountain bike ride with friends, we witnessed
a tragic event on a rough rural road. We were riding up a rock strewn hilly road when a bakkie drove past slowly with two young people standing up on the back. Shortly after passing us the bakkie went over a rock on the road, causing the bakkie to lurch; a young woman, standing on the back, lost her balance and fell off the bakkie. She fell head first on to rocks causing a grievous injury to her he...ad and neck. When we caught up to the vehicle we found her in a terrible state with her friends trying to revive her. We helped them lift her into the back of the bakkie trying to do all we could to protect her neck and spine. The bakkie drove off taking her as fast as it could to hospital and we dont know what happened to her.
The point of this post is as follows. I am afraid that this accident is the result
of a very casual attitude we have in Zimbabwe to people riding in the back of bakkies/trucks/land cruisers and to the use of seat belts in general. Whilst I recognise that because of poverty many have no choice but to ride in the back of bakkies, drivers should always insist that people do not stand up in the back and there should be a law enforcing that. Last year a boy from Falcon was tragically killed in similar circumstances and yet we do not appear to have learned this lesson. I often see parents who allow their children to stand up
on the back of bakkies and land cruisers and I fear for their children. I also often see parents who allow their babies and young children to sit in the front of their vehicles without a seatbelt on. I often see children standing between the driver and passenger seat with their mother driving. I often see babies held in the laps of a parent on the front seat. Babies and young children placed in this jeopardy become missiles when a vehicle has to be brought to a quick halt and many children lose their lives this way.
So in short this is a plea to all drivers, but especially parents, to instill a new culture in our society. No-one should ever stand up in the back of a bakkie or truck - it should be against the law to do so - and parents should always ensure that their young children are in seatbelts/safety seats. At the very least young children should not sit in the front of vehicles unless in a safety seat. There should be a law to enforce that too.