City updates signage of confusing stop sign

The updated signage indicates that no light-weight motor vehicles are allowed in the 3.5 ton truck lane .

The City of Cape Town has updated the signage of a confusing stop sign at the bottom of Ou Kaapseweg which had motorists digging deep into their pockets after being fined R1 500 for failing to stop.

The new signage, which now clearly indicates that motor vehicles are not allowed in the 3.5 ton truck lane which has a dedicated left lane stop, will hopefully prevent more motorists getting fined.

Since the Echo reported on the matter earlier this year (“Sign of trouble,” Echo, January 25), many residents have come forward saying they should not be liable for the fines.

However, the City would not budge, saying motorists could 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If the representations were accepted, the fine was reduced or withdrawn, depending on the circumstances.

Alternatively,motorists could argue their case in court (“Uproar over fines for failing to halt at puzzling stop sign,” Echo, February 15).

City spokeswoman, Priya Reddy, said the signs had been updated last week to clarify the correct usage of the compulsory stop. She said although the previous signage was legally enforceable, the City had felt it was necessary to clarify things given the numbers of complaints from motorists.

However, Ms Reddy did not clarify whether motorists would be held liable for their fines despite the Echo’s enquiry.

The new signage indicates that all drivers of heavy vehicles, including buses exceeding 3.5 tons must enter the compulsory stop lane and bring their vehicles to a complete halt in compliance with the stop sign and road markings displayed in that lane.

That safety measure, she added, was intended to reduce the incidence of runaway heavy vehicles.

The signage also indicates that all other vehicles under 3.5 tons, including most passenger vehicles, bakkies and SUVs, were prohibited
from entering or using the compulsory heavy vehicle stop lane.

Ms Reddy said the City would be installing flexible bollards shortly to further reinforce the barrier lines separating the normal traffic lane from the reserved heavy vehicle compulsory stop lane.

The automated enforcement which currently takes place for any vehicle transgressing the stop sign, applicable
to the heavy vehicle lane only, will be expanded shortly to include other traffic transgressions such as automated
monitoring of vehicles in excess of 3.5 tons failing to enter the compulsory heavy vehicle
lane, and or light motor vehicles abusing the heavy vehicle lane.

Milkwood Park resident Ann MacGregor, who was the first to come forward, saying she was willing to let the matter go to court, said: “I’m very pleased that they have done it as it will prevent motorists from getting further fines.”

Since her visit to the Green Point traffic department in January to view her transgression, she has not had any feedback from the department on the status of her fine.