Son dies holding dad’s hand following Sabie bike accident
SABIE - A relaxing breakfast ride ended in tragedy when a father lost his son in a motorcycle accident on the R537 on Sunday.
Donovan Peetz, who had reportedly just turned 21, had embarked on the ride to Sabie with his father, Darren, and several other riders, when tragedy struck.
“Donovan had been riding behind Darren, when at some point Darren looked back only to find he was no longer there,” said Hi-Tech Medical Service’s operational medical manager, Elmarie Prinsloo.
Upon turning around, Darren saw only smoke and dust.
Donovan had apparently been flung from his bike down an embankment after hitting a barrier on the opposite side of a left-hand turn. “It was reported to us that Darren held his son’s hand until Donovan drew his last breath,” she said.
The exact cause of the incident was not clear by the time of going to press. Efforts to reach the family for comment were unsuccessful.
The Lowveld Motorcycle Safety Initiative (LMSI) stated that the crash took place at the Delagoosberg turn-off, as you enter the Spitzkop Pass towards Sabie.
This was the sixth motorcycle accident in the Lowveld and surrounds in less than a month. One recently claimed the life of Lean van Kradenburg.
The LMSI’s chairperson, Johan du Plessis, said just in the last few days, two motorcycle accidents had been reported: one in Mbombela, and the second the crash involving Donovan.
“The accident that occurred in Mbombela was the result of a vehicle driver disobeying a red traffic signal at the R40, Crossing’s intersection.
The accident occurred at night,” said Du Plessis.
He said when it came to the safety of motorcyclists, in particular, longdistance riders, the main enemy is fatigue.
“Fatigue can be minimised by implementing small mitigations: minimising wind noise by wearing earplugs with filters that cut out wind noise but will still allow the rider to hear any possible hazards, hydration, drinking plenty of water, and stopping often for short breaks.
“When travelling unfamiliar roads, riders are to do some homework beforehand to determine road conditions. They are also urged to slow down and enjoy the scenery rather than trying to keep up with more experienced and proficient riders. Ride at your own pace.”
He said being out of your depth as a rider in critical areas due to group riding pressure could end up in disaster.
“The existence of a disconnect between motorists and motorcycle riders is evident in the Lowveld.
Mutual respect lacks in the sense of motorists labelling all motorcycle riders as being irresponsible and always breaking the law.
‘Donovan had been riding behind Darren, when at some point Darren looked back only to find he was no longer there’
“On the other hand, motorcyclists label motorists for always retaliating against them by trying to run them off the road, or not looking out for them. A general lack of mutual respect exists in our society, and South Africans in general no longer consider one another’s right to existence.
“Motorcyclists are to respect other road users, and vice versa. The existence of a motorcycle safety campaign in the Lowveld can accomplish a lot, but people are encouraged to get involved. We are responsible for our own safety these days, so participate and make your voice heard in unison.”
Du Plessis again urged motorists to be cognitive of the fact that more and more people are starting to ride motorcycles, and to be on the lookout for riders on a daily basis.
“Motorcycles do not have a cage of steel, glass and airbags for protection, thus even the slightest incident can be detrimental to a rider. Motorcyclists are also reminded to ensure their own survival and protection. Wear proper riding gear, attend training, practise emergencies and hone those riding skills,” he said.