Highway cows: 5 ac­ci­dents, 6 pe­op­le hurt

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News -

Despi­te mil­li­ons of rands being spent on fen­ces to stop cows wan­de­ring on­to the N2, three in­ci­dents of mo­to­ris­ts hit­ting cows on the highway two wee­kends ago has been fol­lo­wed by a much mo­re se­ri­ous in­ci­dent this past wee­kend, which re­sul­ted in six pe­op­le being hos­pi­ta­li­sed – and da­ma­ge to a furt­her two vehi­cles.

It brings the to­tal num­ber of ac­ci­dents in­vol­ving cows on the N2 to at le­ast fi­ve in just the spa­ce of two wee­kends.

Knys­na po­li­ce spo­kes­per­son Ser­ge­ant Chris S­pies con­fir­med that a ca­se of reckless and neg­li­gent dri­ving has been o­pe­ned fol­lo­wing the la­test ac­ci­dent on the N2, ne­ar the old T­sitsi­kam­ma Ba­ke­ry, on Au­gust 20.

The col­li­si­on, which hap­pe­ned at a­bout 18:45, is being in­ves­ti­ga­ted by the po­li­ce be­cau­se of in­ju­ries in­cur­red. It is s­tan­dard pro­ce­du­re for the po­li­ce to o­pen a ca­se of reckless and neg­li­gent dri­ving w­hen t­he­re are in­ju­ries.

“P­re­li­mi­na­ry in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on in­di­ca­tes that a whi­te Toyo­ta Qu­an­tum was tra­vel­ling from to­wn w­hen it hit a cow that was cros­sing the highway. A se­cond vehi­cle al­so hit the cow that was still lying in the ro­ad at the ti­me. In­for­ma­ti­on a­vai­la­ble at this sta­ge in­di­ca­tes that six pe­op­le sus­tai­ned mi­nor in­ju­ries and we­re ta­ken to hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lan­ce,” con­fir­med S­pies.

Last wee­kend, F­ri­day nig­ht, Au­gust 11, two cars we­re da­ma­ged af­ter hit­ting cows, one to the tu­ne of R70 000 whi­le the ot­her vehi­cle may be a wri­te-off.

That sa­me wee­kend, on Sun­day nig­ht, Au­gust 13, a­not­her car hit a cow and was al­so da­ma­ged, but de­tails of this ac­ci­dent are not kno­wn yet. DOUBLE COL­LI­SI­ON

In the first in­ci­dent, on Au­gust 11, a cou­ple tra­vel­ling in con­voy had w­hat they des­cri­be as a ter­ri­ble and frig­h­te­ning ex­pe­rien­ce.

Elou­i­se Ham­man was tra­vel­ling be­hind her part­ner, Ni­co Pie­naar, al­ong the N2 to­wards Knys­na from P­let­ten­berg Bay at a­bout 22:00 w­hen the two col­li­si­ons with the cows hap­pe­ned.

Ac­cor­ding to Ham­man, Pie­naar was dri­ving in front of her in a com­pa­ny bak­kie w­hen he hit a cow. Fol­lo­wing Pie­naar’s col­li­si­on, Ham­man then hit one of the three cows that we­re still cros­sing the ro­ad.

Pie­naar’s bak­kie is now ex­ten­si­ve­ly da­ma­ged with the w­ho­le si­de door, pa­nel and front bon­net de­stroy­ed. A p­re­li­mi­na­ry quo­te to fix the car sets the da­ma­ge to at le­ast R70 000.

Ham­man’s car did not es­ca­pe lig­ht­ly. “I had my dre­am car, a Volks­wa­gen Ti­guan, for on­ly ni­ne mont­hs and now it is so da­ma­ged that it will pro­ba­bly be writ­ten off,” said Ham­man.

“We got out of tho­se cars with our child­ren and didn’t ha­ve e­ven so much as a stiff neck or a brui­se, so we we­re very lucky not to be hurt,” she said, but her con­cern is that ot­her mo­to­ris­ts may not get off so lig­ht­ly next ti­me. DANGER TO MO­TO­RIS­TS

“This is just so, so dan­ge­rous for all mo­to­ris­ts. In the old days, a­ni­mals u­sed to be im­poun­ded, but to­day it would seem that be­cau­se this is South A­fri­ca we must just accept that t­he­re will be cows on a highway,” said Ham­man, who al­so as­ked,”Who is fi­nan­ci­al­ly re­spon­si­ble for the da­ma­ge to the­se cars.

And w­hat can be do­ne to get them off the ro­ad be­fo­re t­he­re is a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent?”

A lo­cal, Pie­ter Kru­ger, af­ter ha­ving seen the af­ter­math of the ac­ci­dent on Sun­day, Au­gust 20 that cau­sed six pe­op­le to be in­ju­red and da­ma­ge to two cars, des­cri­bed the ex­pe­rien­ce as fol­lows:

“I pas­sed the ac­ci­dent at a­bout 19:00 on that stretch of the N2, still going up the hill to­wards the Nek­kies turn-off.

“From w­hat I could see a vehi­cle hit a cow and the cow was lying in the ro­ad with its guts spil­led out. It look­ed as though the poor cre­a­tu­re had ap­pa­rent­ly burst o­pen from the im­pact.”

In the com­ments secti­on of a so­ci­al me­dia group, the danger of the N2 is la­men­ted, with one per­son saying, “If you are lucky e­nough not to get sto­nes thro­wn through your windscreen or find bur­ning ty­res on the ro­ad, you hit a cow. W­hat on e­arth is hap­pe­ning?”

Ot­her pos­ts ha­ve ex­pres­sed dis­gust and con­cern in s­trong lan­gua­ge. Mar­ga­ret Ma­cKay said on the Knys­na-P­lett He­rald Fa­ce­book si­te, “Does so­meo­ne ha­ve to be kil­led on this ro­ad be­fo­re a­ny­thing is do­ne – that is the que­s­ti­on. If you hit a cow and it co­mes through the windscreen your chan­ces of sur­vi­ving are mi­ni­mal.”

The Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, the po­li­ce and pro­vin­ci­al traf­fic we­re all ap­pro­a­ched for a com­ment; to find out who is re­spon­si­ble for keeping the cows off the highway and w­hat re­cour­se t­he­re is w­hen it co­mes to clai­ming da­ma­ge cos­ts. IM­POUN­DED CATTLE Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pal ma­na­ger Kam C­het­ty said, “Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s law en­for­ce­ment secti­on de­als with stray a­ni­mals on the N2 on be­half of SA Na­ti­o­nal Ro­ads A­gen­cy (San­ral) and the pro­vin­ci­al de­part­ment of trans­port and pu­blic works. This is do­ne in re­la­ti­on to the ro­ad traf­fic and ro­ad trans­port le­gis­la­ti­on.

“If li­ves­tock is found ro­a­ming a pu­blic ro­ad, o­w­ners can fa­ce a R1 000 fi­ne. Should they be found they are fi­ned and car­ry the poun­ding cos­ts.”

C­het­ty said law en­for­ce­ment re­lies on calls re­cei­ved from re­si­dents and mo­to­ris­ts, and as­ked any in­ci­dents be re­por­ted to the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty for re­mo­val of a­ni­mals on pu­blic ro­ads.

On Mon­day, Au­gust 21, the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty im­poun­ded two cows and on Au­gust 22 a furt­her six cows we­re re­mo­ved from the N2. The cattle we­re trans­por­ted to the SPCA in Ge­or­ge.

At le­ast R70 000 da­ma­ge was do­ne to this bak­kie, which col­li­ded with a cow on the N2 last week. Pho­tos: Sup­p­lied

A crum­pled car shows the ex­tent of the da­ma­ge that can be do­ne w­hen a car hits a cow.

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