Traffic out of control

Christina Brand, Sea Point

It’s a total nightmare. So what is the solution? Red traffic lights serve no purpose.

According to most drivers, especially taxis, yellow lights mean foot down flat, go through the red light. There are no traffic cops in Main Road, only the one every blue moon who tickets cars for not having correct licence.

The foot patrol cops walk in pairs chatting.

I have never seen them talking to drivers who don’t obey the rules.

Why can’t they take down numbers of taxis who unload or collect people in the middle of a lane? They always stop on the red line in front of Checkers and block the road for buses and cars coming down from High Level Road.

When they see a taxi stop like that, go to them and a warn them. Is there a law that forbids that or is it dangerous?

To cross in front of Piazza St John using the pedestrian crossing is dangerous. Many a time when I take my first step to cross(as the man is green), a taxi will come with a speed and hoot at me, going through the red light.

Beach Road is another racetrack, from the swimming pool to the end where the camera is.

Never mind the 50km an hour speed limit. Then there is the N1 from the Waterfront, where the limit is 80km an hour until a few kilometres where it reaches the speed limit of supposedly 120km an hour, but it’s more 140km an hour.

I am the only one who sticks to the limit of 80km an hour and guess what – in all the years, I have seen two traps and on a Sunday. It’s during the week people race, not weekends.

Put someone there every day and you will collect salaries for the whole Western Cape.

Where are the bike cops? We never see them. Have they gone too old to drive? Where are the Ghost Squad cars? Never seen them stop other cars. They patrol the N1 – why not Sea Point?

JP Smith, the Mayco member for safety and security, responds:

The frustration of the resident is understood, as there is a noticeable culture of lawlessness on our roads and in the taxi industry, which the City is attempting to address.

Efforts, however, are undermined by a criminal justice system which is not up to the task of following up and enforcing the sanctions issued by Traffic Services. This inefficiency results in many offenders simply not paying their fines, and the lack of material consequence reduces incentive to obey the rules of the road.

The City has tried to address this by focusing on the impoundments of taxis operating without a permit, or, contrary to the terms of their permit, resulting in 31 taxis being impounded in the Sea Point area in the past two months.

In addition, we are lobbying the Western Cape government, the public transport regulator in the province, to add adherence to traffic laws as a condition of the taxi operating permits, meaning that operating licences can be withdrawn from the taxis that are found to be breaking the rules of the road.

Addressing the issue of the foot patrol officers talking to drivers, these officers are employed either as parking wardens or in the law enforcement arm of the safety and security directorate, and as such do not have jurisdiction to police moving violations. The City is looking to address this with the promulgation of the new Traffic By-law in the first half of 2017, which will in many respects replicate the Road Traffic Act and thus allow law enforcement officers to tackle these violations.

In terms of current enforcement, the Public Transport Unit works in the Sea Point area at least twice a month, initiating 363 cases against motorists in addition to impounding 31 taxis in the last two months.

The Ghost Squad also work in the area and have arrested 10 suspects and issued 333 fines since January this year – this in addition to normal patrols.

It is unfortunate that the operations we do stage have such little impact on changing the patterns of driver behaviour, so I’d like to call on residents to take personal responsibility for adhering to the rules of the road, even when it is inconvenient to do so.

The National Road Traffic Act, which guides our laws, aims to set out what is both safe and courteous driving behaviour.

If it is to be effective, this system of rules relies on conformity by all road users as it creates a set of expected behaviours which inform driver decisions. It is when road users behave unexpectedly that the risk of accidents increases.