New organization will lobby for safer conditions for all road users
Burry Stander, an Olympic mountain biker who tragically died after being hit by a car while out training on January 3, will live on through The Burry Stander Foundation, which has been created in memory of his life.
The main goals of the foundation are to bring about lasting change in cycling safety through legislation, assisting other worthy initiatives and raising awareness. In short, if its founders have their way, the death of a cyclist or a runner on South African roads would become the exception rather than the near daily occurrence it is at the moment.
Stander's wife Cherise Stander will be personally involved in driving the foundation. "I just need to focus on picking up the pieces right now, and then I intend dedicating my energy on the memory of Burry through the Foundation and what it stands for," Cherise Stander said.
Zoon Cronjé, one of the individuals driving the foundation, said that it is not trying to reinvent the wheel. "Our aim is definitely not just to try and insure road safety for cyclists. The legislation we are going to work towards getting approved by the government will insure safety for all road users - cyclists, runners pedestrians, motor cyclists, motorists, taxi drivers as well as truck drivers," Cronjé said.
The Burry Stander Foundation's immediate aims are to drive a nationwide petition to petitions to government at mass rides in Cape Town and Johannesburg; assist the drive to pass the 1.5m passing rule into law; and fight to change broader legislation.
"We aim to pass legislation as in certain European countries where the lowest form of transport carries the highest importance. It goes as follows: pedestrian, cyclist, motorbike, car, minibus, bus, truck," Cronje said.
"If a motorbike hits a pedestrian, the motorbike is immediately liable for a percentage of the costs and potential prosecution and so on and so forth. This means that it goes further than just awareness, the threat of potential liability and prosecution will automatically bring about a change in behaviour that benefits all road users. The change in how the law is interpreted gives it more teeth than trying to enforce road use but rather road incidents," Cronje said.
Burry Stander's father Charles Stander highlighted that the way the taxi industry functions should be looked at as well. "I bear no grudge, I think the system is to blame more so than the drivers or driver in this case. As far as I understand, these drivers have to make a daily quota, and only after that has been reached do they start earning for themselves. If this is indeed the case I don't think the drivers are to blame at all."
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula pledged his support to the Foundation in statement to the media and offered government input. The Foundation also indicated that it would engage with the minister of transport.
For more information, visit www.burrystanderfoundation.org. Stander's Facebook page will also eventually be converted to the foundation's page: www.facebook.com/africanmtbkid.
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