Highway cows: 5 accidents, 6 people hurt
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.