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Truck kills cyclist


By Noelene Barbeau

Bruce and Julie Fraser celebrated their first wedding anniversary on January 14 and were settling into marriage in Ballito when their life took a tragic turn. Julie was cycling with her friend Samantha Spong on the M4 near Westbrook early on Saturday, when she was hit and run over by an 18-wheeler truck.

Her husband agreed to speak to the Sunday Tribune because he wanted to highlight the issue of road safety and raise the question as to why trucks were using this route instead of the toll road.

"She was the anchor in my life. She died doing what she loved," said Bruce, adding that Julie had always been very careful. The M4 was her favourite route because of the flat road and the ocean view.

"She left home at about 5am to meet Sam. They were going to ride down the M4 to meet our friend Geoff Griffiths and then turn around and ride through Tongaat. I got a call from Geoff at about 5.30am, saying I needed to meet him as soon as possible.

"When I arrived Julie was still alive, but 10 minutes later she passed away. Sam is taking this very hard, but she was an absolute hero."

Griffiths said that Julie's heart stopped while they were waiting for everyone to arrive and Sam had phoned her boyfriend, Clyde, because she didn't know how to do cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

He instructed Sam over the phone and she got Julie's heart going again.

"I was very fortunate to see her while she was still alive," Bruce said.

Julie and Samantha were riding in single file, with Julie at the back.

"They heard a truck hoot, so Julie moved as far as possible into the yellow line. She was hit by the front left side of the truck's second trailer. Julie's bicycle pushed Sam out of the way, but Julie was caught and mangled by the truck."

He said the truck driver had stopped, but that Griffiths had taken the keys out of the truck ignition, so that he would not drive away.

"The police took over an hour to arrive. While we were there, I counted more than 400 cyclists on the road. Many of them stopped to help. They were complete strangers, but they stopped. This is why I love the cycling community."

He said he was surprised that he was not as angry at the truck driver as he thought he would be.

"These trucks use the M4 to avoid paying the toll and save about R20. There have been so many accidents involving cyclists. If a driver can't keep his wheels between the road lines, he shouldn't be on the road. This is a favourite route for cyclists. Sam said the truck was far into the yellow line."

Bruce said Julie had been cycling for more than seven years and had got him into the sport.

"She finished 15th about two weeks ago at the Half Iron Man at the Midmar Dam and she was a South African biathlete at school," he said proudly.

They met at the Langebaan Airforce Base near Cape Town. He was a pilot and she was completing her community service as a physiotherapist.

"She was an angel, and so very humble, despite all her achievements."

Gordon Gillespie, from the Safe Passing Organisation, said he was sick and tired of so many tragedies against cyclists. He said they had been campaigning for safe passing signs to be put up throughout the city to warn motorists to be aware of cyclists on the road, "But nothing has been done".

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said Julie, 26, was still alive when the paramedics arrived. "Her lower body was crushed. When paramedics started working on her, her heart stopped and they tried CPR, but failed."

Police spokesperson Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said they were investigating a case of culpable homicide.

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this is so getting out of hand .....26 years old.....??? still so much to live for !!!! what more can we (cyclists) do ??? this is so sad. My simpatie vir haar  man en familie en vriende - dis hartseer.tamaties2007-02-12 23:10:08

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This is tragic!! Cry


That M4 is SO dangerous, but its one of the few good flat places in Durban to train. i often used to go out and ride it on my own at 5am, The trucks dont care they pass you with inches to spare and at 80km/h+! Why cant they just ban them on that stretch of road, and sort out something with the toll operator?? how many lives is it going to take!! 


My condolences to the families, and to all the cyclists that use that road, please be careful!
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& This is why I'm considering giving up cycling...it's unfortunate that I might have to in this way but my life is just too valuable all things considered !!Angry


My sympathies are with her Husband and Family....


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I am so sorry for her and her family. Rode past the scene after it had happened. Very distressing.

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My condolences to the family.


This just highlights the point made in a few other threads concerning drivers in this country. There must be harsh punishments for something like this - how many times has this happened that a cyclist has been hit in the yellow line - this is plain murder.


And don't give me the story about some cyclists given cyclists a bad name with their behaviour - it has absolutely NOTHING to do with people being killed in yellow line. But in this country that guy will probably get a slap on the wrist and drive the same 18-wheeler before long.



Tonton2007-02-13 03:26:36

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I was also one of the many that rode the M4 this Saturday, the ambulances were already there when I got there, so I tried to ride past without looking, so that I would be able to ride the route again without a strong memory to disturb me.

Its not going to happen,

I will not ride the M4 again, and it was my Saturday and Sunday training route.

My condolences to her Family
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