Cyclist in hit-and-run for second time

Cyclists Mariam Domingo, Galiema Harris, Renford Brand and Monique Dean during a campaign promoting safe cycling.

The cycling fraternity is still in shock after a well known cyclist and member of the Recyclers club for retired cyclists and 5F Cycling club in Fish Hoek was involved in a hit-and-run on Sunday morning.

Renford Brand, 76, known as Ren, was hit from behind near the quarry at Sunny Cove en route from Fish Hoek to Simon’s Town. This is the second time Mr Brand had been involved in a hit-and-run. In 2010, his right leg was amputated at the knee after he was knocked off his bicycle on Ou Kaapse Weg in the early hours of the morning.

His wife, Colleen, said on Sunday he was hit from behind and landed on his prosthetic leg causing a bad break of his stump. “The car sped off and there were no witnesses,” she said.

But, she added that cameras at Sunny Cove station recorded footage of five cars passing through around the time he was hit.

Mr Brand, a former Commander in the Navy, underwent surgery at 2 Military Hospital on Monday where he had pins placed in his leg.

Ms Brand said the operation was successful, he was recovering well and he was his “old quirky self” when she spoke to him on the phone on Tuesday morning. She said her husband loved cycling and it was a big part of his life and it took him a very long time to get back on a bike after his accident in 2010.

“He always says he feels like a normal person when he is on his bike,” she said.

She said he husband was a cautious cyclist and took safety very seriously. “He always puts safety first, cycles in single file and stays well within the yellow line.”

At the time of going to print, Ms Brand said she had not managed to report the accident at the police station as she tried to do so on Sunday at the Fish Hoek police station but was then told it was the jurisdiction of the Simon’s Town police station.

She said she supported her husband on Monday and would report the matter on Tuesday.

Fish Hoek station commander, Lieutenant Colonel, Jackie Johnson confirmed that no case had been opened but said Ms Brand had been at the station to discuss the matter on Tuesday.

Monique Dean, a member of the Tag Heuer social riding team and friend of Mr Brand, said one of her biggest frustrations as a rider was having to continuously defend cyclists every time a driver got annoyed with a rider on the road.

Her mother, Jeanine Lucas, was involved in a hit-and-run in Glencairn a few years back and she said what upset her he most was, as with Mr Brand’s case, the lack of compassion from motorists to stop and get help.

“Defending cyclists is always a heated topic and at one point I’ve seen someone so frustrated that they threatened to ride over a cyclist if they get in the way. I feel confident in saying that it is only a handful of riders that don’t obey the rules yet every rider gets put in the same box,” she said.

She adds that most riders just want to go out, de-stress, enjoy their beautiful surroundings and stay fit, and that’s why they make every effort to obey the rules. She said most clubs start their rides by saying to the riders if they don’t obey the rules, they are out and cyclists take it very seriously.

Chief executive of Pedal Power Association (PPA), Robert Vogel said Mr Brand was also a PPA member and the association is extremely frustrated and angered by yet another hit-and-run involving a cyclist where the motorist showed no remorse or concern for the condition of a fellow human being.

He said the section of road, where the accident took place, was currently a construction site, making the southbound lane much narrower, allowing no space for cyclists and motorists to share the lane.

“The road along the False Bay coast is a favourite route for many cyclists and is especially busy over weekends. By waiting until it is safe to pass a cyclist in the construction zone, a motorist might extend his or her travel time by a minute or so, but in doing so,they are ensuring the safety of cyclists on the road,” he said.

ChairmanoftheRecyclers club for retired cyclists in Fish Hoek, Simon Brooke said members of the Recyclers were absolutely appalled by what has happened to Mr Brand, not once but twice. “What sort of person can hit a cyclist from behind and not even stop to help instead leaving him lying in the road. Since his last hit and run accident in which he lost his leg, Ren has become an inspiration to all at the Recyclers due to his immense courage and determination to get back on his bike . Not only did he get back on the bike but he excelled at cycling taking part in the arduous Cape Town Cycle Tour (Argus). He is not only an example to us all but to cyclists in general and for this to happen again is difficult to comprehend,” he said.

Mr Brooke added that while everyone is aware that our roads are dangerous, both to motorists and cyclists, the Recyclers has a code which all members adhere to and safety on the road and obeying the rules of the road form the basis of that code.

“We try to ride together and warn each other of impending danger and always look to assist our members and others on the road,” he said.

Anyone with information about the accident is asked to contact the PPA on 021 671 634 0/4079.