Olympic biker Burry Stander's death highlights road perils

Jan 4, 2013

Calls for measures to protect elite cyclists as yet another rider falls victim to dangerous roads

THE DEATH of champion South African mountain biker Burry Stander after a collision with a taxi, highlights once again the dangers faced by elite cyclists training on public roads.

Burry, who came fifth at the London Olympics, was killed on a training ride yesterday when he was hit by a taxi at Shelly Beach, a town in the KwaZulu-Natal province on South Africa's east coast. The 25-year-old, who was riding with his wife Cherise at the time of the accident, was a former Under-19 and Under-23 world champion.

Tributes to the cyclist were lead by the South African sprinter Oscar Pistorious who said he was "absolutely devastated" by the death of his friend. Burry was a "South African icon and sporting great," Pistorius wrote on his Twitter account.

Burry's death is another blow to South African cycling after the death of top female road racer Carla Swart in January 2011. Swart died from injuries sustained after colliding with a car in the Free State Province.

Accidents between vehicles and elite riders are an international problem and seemingly on the rise. Less than a month ago, another professional mountain biker, Inaki Lejaretta, was killed by a car while training in Spain, reports BikeRadar.

And late last year, two of British cycling's biggest names - Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins - were both hurt after colliding with vehicles on public roads. The same week that Wiggins was hit by a van in Lancashire, GB cycling coach Shane Sutton was injured in a separate road accident in Manchester.

Gideon Sam, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), told the Daily Mail more needed to be done to protect athletes.

"I've said this time and again but it is really time to work even harder at protecting both our runners and cyclists who use the roads daily to do their training," he said.

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Tragic but the roads are designed for cars not runners & cyclists & in my experience they seem to forget they are putting themselves in an already dangerous situation & fail to follow the approiate safety rules

There is something huge missing from this article, the focus can and must be the safety of ALL cyclists not just professional athletes. This highlights how cyclists are in danger on the road world wide. Burry's death is a big loss and shows us how vital road safety is. RIP Burry.

It's people like you that this article is targeting - people with the attitude that you own the road. Just because you own a bigger vehicle does not give you any more rights to the road. You might as well use the same logic and nod when truck drivers say the road is made for trucks and all the pesky cars should find somewhere else to travel.

The roads are NOT made exclusively for cars. They are there to be shared by all road users. And all road users should be courteous to each other.

For every cyclist I have seen breaking the road rules, I have seen hundreds of arrogant car drivers speeding, drinking and driving, overtaking dangerously, texting, not indicating, speeding up the yellow line / oncoming traffic etc etc.

Maybe you should get out of your car and go out onto the roads on a bike sometime and see what it feels like when a car passes by with centimeters to spare, and then pass judgement.

"Of course golf is a proper game more so than cycling which is an agraviting form of transport carried out by people who think they own the road & I might add boring to watch"

To quote you from a previous post effectsman. Obviously, you have some kind of problem with cyclists. Oh, and spelling too by the look of things - you Moron!

Thanks for saying what I was thinking Commonman.

His previous comment gets to the point of the matter -

He doesn't like having to wait until it is safe to pass a cyclist.

I bet effectsman travels around the golf course on his golf cart, so as not to have to strain himself with a bit of walking around.

Maybe a little cardio would do him good - if waiting a few seconds to not endanger someones life stresses him out so much, he is clearly putting his heart under unnecessary strain.

On yer bike

Protect everyone, not just the elite riders. Every bike on the road is a car off the road, less pollution (air and noise), less risk to pedestrians, better health for the rider and so on.


Yes in some ways in your ignorance you are right, the roads ARE designed to SUIT cars. Even though they are MADE for cyclists. We need to redesign more of our existing roads for the cyclists. Also it's attitudes like yours that make car drivers not slow down and be polite to cyclists, "the road it not designed for them, they should not be here". This attitude works both consciously and subconsciously in behaviour that puts cyclists lives at risk daily, usually for the sake of saving a few seconds on the journey time.

immature / jokey comment, on a very serious topic, just b/c he pointed out the failures in your judgemental simplistic argument.