Hout Bay resident Joy Termorshuizen, who suffered a concussion and severe bruising after a collision with a sedan taxi at the mini traffic circle in Victoria Avenue earlier this month, is calling for improved traffic measures and closer scrutiny of sedan taxis in Hout Bay.
Ms Termorshuizen says a second accident she witnessed at the mini circle on Friday January 20 has made the need for improvements an imperative, as it is “only a matter of time before someone is killed”.
She said despite repeated attempts to lay a complaint against the driver of the sedan taxi who struck her vehicle, she had been given the run-around by Hout Bay police.
At 1.30pm on January 6, Ms Termorshuizen was leaving her office at Sea Cape Rentals at Candlewood Centre. She stopped at the mini circle, indicating she was turning right, and, as she turned into the circle, she was struck with “tremendous force” by the taxi approaching from the south of Victoria Avenue.
In her statement to the police, she said that the driver of the Toyota Tazz had hit her Toyota Yaris so hard that his vehicle “landed up past the exit from Spar, facing back from the way he had come from the south”.
Ms Termorshuizen said she had learnt the driver of the Tazz did not have a driver’s licence or a car licence.
“I had concussion for two weeks after the accident, as well as severe bruising on my face and ankle after the accident. I have tried three times to lay a charge with police, but I have been stonewalled. Each time I go, I have been told people are on leave,” she said.
“I have now been told by my insurance assessor that my vehicle is a complete write-off. It only had 80 000km on the clock.”
The accident she witnessed from her office window last Friday made her realise that the mini circle was a “danger to life”, she said.
“It was about lunch time, and the woman was driving a brand new Range Rover. Another sedan taxi went straight through the circle and hit her. Then he just drove away. These taxis are a nightmare, and no one is checking whether they are licensed.”
She questioned whether sedan taxi drivers were ever ticketed or whether these fines were ever paid. “I have even seen the guy who hit me back on the road, driving another car. Someone is going to be killed.”
Ms Termorshuizen believes a bigger traffic circle, traffic lights or a pedestrian crossing should be placed in Victoria Avenue. “I feel I have to speak up about this issue.”
Hout Bay resident Keith Bull, who spent decades working as a traffic engineer in the UK, said there was confusion over how to treat a mini circle.
“It should be treated as a four-way stop, although I believe a proper roundabout should be introduced. Most people know that you give way to the person approaching from the right,” he said.
“I have worked all over the world, and I’m not sure whether there’s anywhere else that has these mini roundabouts.”
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said he understood motorists’ frustrations with the intersection, and options were being explored.
He said that since taking office last year, he had tried to improve visible traffic policing in Hout Bay and Llandudno.
“We have roadblocks numerous times a month. During one operation, we had 92 fines issued on one day, some of which were issued to taxi drivers. Non-payment of a fine is followed by notices and a summons,” he said.
“If these are ignored, a warrant of arrest is issued, and then it becomes a matter for the courts. We can only work within the system. We can’t just confiscate the vehicle of those who have been found to have transgressed.”
In respect of the mini circle and traffic on Victoria Avenue, Mr Quintas said several ideas had been considered.
“We have looked at raised pedestrian crossings, but these are not likely because this route is also used by trucks and buses and, as such, are not suitable.
“Islands have also been discussed, but these need to be budgeted for. You need to plan for these two to three years in advance. Traffic studies also need to be done.
“There are 200 wards in the metro, and we are required to wait our turn for these to be considered.”
Queries sent to Hout Bay police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tanya Lesche were not responded to at the time of going to print.