WHEN Riaan Swanepoel looked over from where he lay in the field and saw Phillip Botha lying alarmingly still, blood spilling out of his mouth and nose, his mind turned to the worst.
Moments earlier Riaan, himself, had been airborne, thrown off his bicycle by a car that came from nowhere casting him 10 meters from the point of impact.
Riaan scrambled to his feet and went to check on Phillip.
The two friends had embarked on an early morning recreational cycling expedition on October 27. They frequently went mountain biking together, but this morning they were cycling out on the Hlobane Road.
It was 5.30am and they had passed the “little biltong stalletjie but hadn’t yet reached Triangle Store.”
“I realised that the slant of the early morning sun may affect motorists’ visibility so we were especially cautious to remain inside the yellow line out of harm’s way,” or so Phillip believed. “We were on a straight stretch when a motorist hit us from behind. He hit Phillip first, as Phillip was riding behind me, and when he hit me I was sent flying through the air.”
The bikes were crushed under the weight of the car, and Riaan had a moment to take in the fact that the wheels of the car that hit him and Phillip had come to a fleeting halt before speeding off.
“I was a bit deur mekaaar, checking myself to make sure I was still alive, but I couldn’t believe the driver of the car didn’t stop. With the slant of sun the way it was, I can forgive the driver for not seeing us, but why didn’t he stop!” said Riaan.
Phillip cannot remember the crash at all. “I just remember riding my bike and the next thing I knew I was waking up on the side of the road and Riaan was calling my name,” he said.
“I am very concerned about the safety of cyclists. I know that it is becoming increasingly dangerous, which is the reason I moved from road cycling to mountain biking. I try to get off the tar road as soon as possible because motorists don’t seem to have great concern. Motorists, if you see cyclists, slow down a bit and be cautious till you pass. Let’s show tolerance instead of arrogance toward each other on the road.”
Both Phillip and Riaan were both stiff and bruised after the incident and, while Phillip needed stitches on his left arm, Riaan continues to experience pain in his chest and is convinced that he must have fractured a rib. They hope that video footage from one of the stores on the Hlobane Road will help them find the person who ran them down and then drove away.
Vryheid SAPS communications officer, Captain Cheryl Venter, said that, once found, the driver of the car faces charges of reckless and negligent driving, failing to report an accident and failing to stop after an accident occurred.