Motorists frustrated by ‘confusing’ sign

A confusing stop sign at the bottom of Ou Kaapseweg has resulted in motorists being fined for not stopping.

Hout Bay residents have added their voices to a growing number of motorists complaining about getting hefty fines for failing to stop at a confusing sign at the bottom of Ou Kaapseweg near Tokai.

Many residents have complained to the City, saying they should not be liable for the R1 500 fine.

The stop sign has long been the topic of conversation on Facebook community groups with motorists believing it was for heavy vehicles exceeding 3.5 tons only and did not apply to cars.

The current road sign indicates that there is a compulsory stop for trucks of 3.5 tons at the beginning of the dual roadway to the left, 200m ahead and that there is automated enforcement by camera. Signs following the first sign indicate that there is a stop sign for trucks of 3.5 tons 150m ahead. That sign is then followed by a sign indicating trucks should change to a lower gear which is followed by the stop sign in question.

A large number of people complained on community group, Hout Bay Organised this week, about getting fines.

Far South residents have been up in arms about the sign for some time. However, the City has refused to budge, saying motorists can dispute a traffic fine by writing to the traffic department or appearing in person to make representations in respect of the fine. If the representations are accepted, the fine is reduced or withdrawn, depending on the circumstances.

Alternatively, motorists can wait for a court date and make representations before a magistrate hearing the case.

Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, is adamant that the stop sign is clear and in accordance with relevant standards.

Mr Herron said the regulatory control sign and road markings at the painted stop-line warned of camera enforcement.

“Although there is lane signage applicable to heavy vehicles above 3.5 tons, there is no indication of any selective restriction applicable to the regulatory stop sign itself, and, as such, it applies to any and all traffic that may be travelling in the reserved truck lane.”

He said the City was reviewing the upstream warning signage given that some motorists seemed to have problems understanding it.

But that did not mean there was a problem with the stop sign itself.

“Once the advance warning signage has been revised, enforcement of the incorrect lane usage is likely to follow, over and above the automated stop sign enforcement,” he said.

He urged motorists to avoid using the compulsory truck stop lane and to be mindful of the automated enforcement.