CAPE TOWN, South Africa (BRAIN) — Friends, family and supporters of mountain bike racer Burry Stander, who died after being hit by a car last month, are forming a foundation in his name in hope of improving bike traffic safety in Stander's native South Africa.
The Burry Stander Foundation's goal is to "change legislation, assist other worthy initiatives, raise awareness and bring about lasting change" in bike safety in South Africa, its founders said.
Stander's wife, Cherise Stander, will be personally involved in driving the foundation, she said.
The foundation’s immediate goals are to gain signitures on a petition to change legislation. They plan to hand over the petitions to government officials at mass rides in Cape Town and Johannesburg. In particular they hope to pass a law requiring drivers to give cyclists 1.5 meters of passing room.
“We aim to pass legislation as in certain European countries where the lowest form of transport carries the highest importance. It goes as follows: pedestrian, cyclist, motorbike, car, minibus, bus, truck,” said Zoon Cronje, a foundation supporter.
“If, say, a motorbike hits a pedestrian the motorbike is immediately liable for a percentage of the costs and potential prosecution and so on and so forth. This means that it goes further than just awareness, the threat of potential liability and prosecution will automatically bring about a change in behaviour that benefits all road users. The change in how the law is interpreted gives it more teeth than trying to enforce road use but rather road incidents."
Stander was apparently struck and killed by a taxi while training. According to South African reports, the driver is being charged, but Burry Stander's father, Charles Stander, said he didn't blame the taxi driver.
"I bear no grudge. I think the system is to blame more so than the drivers or driver in this case. As far as I understand, these drivers have to make a daily quota and only after that has been reached do they start earning for themselves. If this is indeed the case I don't think the drivers are to blame at all," he said in a foundation statement.
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula also has pledged his support to the Foundation.
A funeral for Stander was held in his hometown last week. Another memorial service is planned for Johannesburg on Tuesday and in Stellenbosch on Thursday.
More information: www.facebook.com/africanmtbkid.