High level of speeding

A reader writes about speeding.

Francois Rabe, Green Point

This is an open letter to the Cape Town Head of Traffic Services, ward councillors of Green Point and Sea Point, and the MEC for Safety and Security, regarding the excessive speeding and traffic danger along High Level Road in Green Point and Sea Point.

Numerous complaints through letters and personal interaction have been lodged by residents along High Level Road in Green Point and Sea Point regarding the dangers and nuisance caused by excessive speeding along this road, by day but especially so at night.

To date, nothing has been done about this bar dropping the speed limit from 60km/h to 50 km/h some years ago, and the occasional mobile camera trap set up.

This has done nothing to curtail speeding along this road. The danger posed to pedestrians and other road users, and nuisance caused by noise, is beyond words.

It is no overstatement that excessive speeding and disregard for traffic laws along High Level Road have reached crisis proportions, and especially in the uninterrupted downhill stretch between Ben Nevis and Glengariff roads. There have been numerous incidents High level of speeding involving cars, scooters and bikes.

Residents have long asked for more active policing and traffic calming measures on this road. The traffic department’s excuse has always been that this route is a main artery providing important access to emergency services, hence calming measures such as speed bumps and more stops/ traffic lights are not feasible.

At a minimum, surely some cameras could be installed?

While active traps are set on occasion, this is few and far between, and motorists speed again once visible policing has stopped.

No enforcement happens after dark.

One such trap recently yielded more than 80 speedsters in less than an hour.

Two groups which are particular culprits are delivery bikes and scooters, and e-hailing taxis who often speed in excess of 100km/h, overtaking one another and private vehicles to ensure food is delivered hot and their pick-ups don’t wait for long.

The e-hailers also have no disregard for other traffic rules and stop where they want to, obstructing other traffic, or simply doing U-turns at every conceivable place on the road.

Collectively, the residents on this stretch of road request:

  • Active and permanent policing and traps
  • Active and permanent policing and traps
  • Active and permanent policing and traps

The same complaint counts for Beach Road, where we lived for many years. One reason we moved away was because of the noise, danger and inconvenience caused by speeding along the beachfront, again especially at night. We recently fronted our entire dwelling with double-glazed windows and doors, at great expense, in order to at least ensure a measure of peaceful sleep.

Several years ago I wrote a letter to the traffic department and actually got a response from then communications officer Merle Lourens.

The gist of the note was that the traffic department appreciates residents’ concern about speeding, reiterating the statement that the road is an emergency artery and that it cannot implement any active measure until such time as there is a fatal incident along this road.

In turn, my response was that should harm be done to myself or any member of my family, by death or injury through any vehicular incident of any form, I will sue the city for every penny it has because it is failing its tax paying citizens in its duty to keep them safe and enjoy the comfort of their homes.

  • Active and permanent policing and traps

The City acknowledges the resident’s concerns and appreciates the time taken to raise what is unfortunately an ongoing challenge across the metropole.

The Traffic Service conducts regular enforcement along High Level Road.

Operations in this regard have been disrupted in 2020, due to the lockdown and the Covid-19 related enforcement that has had to take place.

In the first quarter of the year, seven speed trapping operations were held in this area, yielding 203 cases, with the highest speed recorded being 98km/h.

With the move to Alert Level 1 in terms of the national disaster management regulations, the Traffic Service is able to start normalising its operations and so random enforcement will continue along High Level Road and other areas requiring attention.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to do enforcement in this area on a 24/7 basis, given all of the competing demands on the Traffic Service’s resources.

In terms of fixed cameras, the City’s Camera Review Committee has declined High Level Road for installation, as, based on statistics, it is not a high accident location.

It is also pertinent to note that speeding and reckless and negligent driving are driver behaviours that the City works hard to change, but unfortunately the statistics show that very little has changed in this regard – in spite of increased enforcement efforts.