There is an outcry over the sad passing of SA cyclist Burry Stander this week in a road accident in KZN.
SA public roads are some of the most dangerous places to be for a pedestrian.
Some half of people killed on SA roads are pedestrians and cyclists.
Does the incidence of cyclists killed on SA public roads exceed the incidence of the number of swimmers or surfers eaten by sharks in the ocean?
Does it surprise you when a surfer is fatally injured by a shark in shark-infested waters?
Cycling on SA public roads is very risky business.
Government provided services are crumbling all around us in SA.
That includes the safety and quality of SA public roads.
It is more dangerous to be in publicly owned spaces than to be in privately owned spaces in SA.
Government maximises its profits by lowering the quality of their services while increasing the price.
This is why the private security industry is booming in SA.
This is why private residential estates are booming in SA.
This is why private roads should be booming.
However, people believe roads fall only into the remit of government, that it can’t be privately provided.
The London Underground and New York Underground train networks were privately built and funded. Those governments did not build the undergrounds, but nationalised them in the 1900s.
Cross continental railway lines in the US were privately built and funded.
The private sector can build and manage road and rail infrastructure at a fraction of the cost that government does it.
Faulty traffic lights, poorly designed intersections, lack of road maintenance are all problems that plague only public roads.
Private estates enforce strict safety standards. On privately owned property, the death toll to cyclists and pedestrians are neglible.
The main problem with SA roads is that the roads linking various private properties are publicly owned. It is on these public roads where the death toll is the highest.
The development of roads in this manner is a historical coincidence, resulting from the socialist central planning of the NP, but it can change.
After the nationalist/socialist/democratic governments grew in scope in the developed world during WWI and WWII, governments took over the investment in road infrastructure.
The mass production of automobiles coincided with this rise in nationalist/socialist/democratic governments and central planning.
Before that, as explained above, transport infrastructure was privately built and funded.
If people like to frequent restaurants and bars where other patrons do not abuse alcohol or drugs, should they not also have a choice to use roads alongside other patrons who do not drive recklessly?
If a person feels that taxi drivers place their safety at risk on public roads, should they not have an option to use a road that is privately owned and reserved for paying clients (assuming taxi’s won’t pay), or reserved only for paying passenger vehicles (not mini-bus taxis or trucks)?
The real problem with SA roads is found on publicly owned roads, not private roads. We should encourage privatisation of SA roads if we are to resolve the death toll crisis on SA roads.
Think Bike stickers and protest cycles will simply not cut it.