South African tandem riders killed after being hit by police van

Owner of emergency response service says police driver guilty of "absolute negligence"

by Simon_MacMichael   January 3, 2012  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight,

The owner of an emergency response service in South Africa has said that the driver of a police van involved in a collision yesterday that killed two cyclists riding a tandem is guilty of “absolute negligence.”

The fatal incident took place at around 9.45am yesterday morning on the R550 road near Eikenhof, on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Police spokesman Tshisikhawe Ndou, quoted by the Independent Online, said: “We are investigating a case of culpable homicide but no arrests have been made as yet.”

He added that the two police officers were receiving treatment for shock.

While the two cyclists had not been formally identified, Independent Online quoted a tweet from a local cyclist who identified the victims as Thersa and Henry.

Jean-Pierre van Tonder, who owns the Helivac emergency response service, attended the scene and commented that “from the position of the bikes and bodies, the police van appeared to be travelling in the same direction as the bicycle.

“This is absolute negligence,” he continued. “It’s not a road where cyclists could be hiding behind bends or not visible.

“How this vehicle didn’t see the cyclists I have no idea. It’s a long, straight stretch of road. You can see in front and behind of you for 3km. The police van mowed into the grass for some distance before stopping. It was definitely travelling at quite a speed,” he added.