Kommetjie Road, Quarry Road and 17th Avenue- still an accident black spot!

Emergency services dealing with the aftermath of an accident

For as long as I have lived in the area the junctions where 17th Avenue and Quarry Road meet Kommetjie Road in Fish Hoek have been accident black spots. The local newspapers had letter after letter regarding this problem and what was to be done. The main problems were that it was nearly impossible at busy times to get out of 17th Avenue and that traffic used the left lane going west to get ahead of traffic at the Quarry Road junction. After a lot of pressure, accidents and tragedies, the council finally installed traffic lights at the 17th Avenue junction and new road markings too on both junctions to make it clear where you should be and where you shouldn’t. They even amended the traffic flow under further pressure to perfect the junctions.

Despite all these alterations there continues to be accident after accident at the junctions. An enterprising entrepreneur could start a business recycling glass that is left after accidents, or selling second hand car parts that fall off. The changes that have been made make a lot of sense; the traffic lights at 17th Avenue should have sorted that, and the lane markings and chevron areas after the junctions should have solved the problem of the coming together of traffic. So why the continued problems and numerous collisions?

Sunday saw yet another coming together, this time it looked like a car coming down Quarry Road collided with a car going west on Kommetjie Road. If you know the junction think about that one! I didn’t see the accident, only the aftermath, and it didn’t look like anyone was too hurt although half the ambulances on the Cape Point Peninsula seemed to be there.

So what is going on here? The council have done their bit and yet here we are, still pick bits of car out of the road. I can only conclude that there is a lot of careless driving going on at this junction. It is a well known accident black spot and yet the majority seem to be even more careless around it than they are elsewhere.

Its not even that complicated a set of junctions now the lights are there. So in the interest of public safety, and so that you have no excuses anymore here is the definitive guide to driving through the junctions.

Kommetjie Road West to East

Coming west to east up Kommetjie Road (coming from Sun Valley towards Fish Hoek):

The left had lane is for turning off into 17th Avenue, the first arrow telling you this is just after Riverside Road, and there are further reminders all the way up. A stop zone at the first set of lights (Quarry Road) is a car length short of the robots. At the turn off for 17th avenue there is a turn left green light on the robots. The lights will go red first and then the green arrow comes on shortly after: it is a good idea to pause until this happens. If you are going on to Fish Hoek then get into the right hand lane as early as possible; cutting in late causes most of the problems at the lights, doing it after 17th avenue is illegal and there is a special place in hell for anyone who does this. One of the main issues at the lights is idiots and taxi drivers cutting in as late as possible, set an example and don’t do it. If you intend to go into Quarry Road then there is a right hand turn lane after the chevrons, you even get a turn at the lights. Bear in mind that traffic turns up out of the other side of Kommetjie Road into Quarry Road so make the turn with eyes wide open.

Kommetjie Road East to West

Coming east to west up Kommetjie Road (coming from towards Fish Hoek towards Sun Valley):

Again we have two lanes of traffic, the left is for turning up Quarry road at the second set of lights, and again we have a left turn only green light. The turn is not very severe and the temptation is to take it at speed: whilst the corner is not tight it is blind and there are a lot of pedestrians around, plus if you get it wrong you could hit cars waiting to come out of Quarry Road. One of the most common accidents from this side is from cars using the left lane to go straight on, cutting back in after the bus stop- not big or clever. To go straight on use the right hand lane only. To turn into 17th Avenue at the first robot there is a right hand turn lane: this is a tight turn and cars have a tendency to be too far forward when waiting to come up the hill so take it as easy as you can- also there are likely to be cars turning left on the other side of the road as well as speeding traffic trying to beat the lights, surely with all this going on it is worth taking extra care. If in doubt, wait, be the hero and not another idiot.

One problem that can get the best of drivers at these lights is going in this direction, it doesn’t seem to be as big a problem going the other way. The two sets of lights are not synchronized; when you stop at the first set you have a tendency to look at the second set and if you are not concentrating you can follow these signals, deadly if they turn green and you set off, the first set still being red- be aware, you have been warned.

17th Avenue

Coming out of 17th Avenue:

should now be a breeze, although the lights are not in your favour for long. You also need to anticipate whether you are going straight or turning up Quarry Road so that you get into the right lane straight away. Also, just because the lights are green check and double check and remain vigilant, again, be the hero here- you may be in the right if there is an accident, but your car will still be getting towed to the panel beaters (or scrap yard) which will put a big dent in your self righteousness. Your biggest concern here should be in controlling the clutch coming up the hill. For some reason this is now a favourite place for learner drivers to be taught, seems a little silly to me, so just give them some room in case they roll back into you. Another crazy habit that is coming into vogue coming up 17th Avenue is for cars to pull out of a long queue of traffic, drive up the wrong side of the road and turn into Nelson Road.

Quarry Road

Turning out of Quarry Road:

This should be the easiest thing to do and yet Sunday proved this to be a myth. Mainly this is due to people misjudging the severity of the turn and the how steep the hill is where it joins Kommetjie Road. The lights are in your favour, just pay attention and take it slower than you think you need to (I nearly got killed by someone on a motorbike last year because they misjudged the corner and laid the bike down, it mounted the pavement inches behind me).

Complicating the junctions are the two bus/taxi ranks that are on either side if Kommetjie Road, just after the second lights on both sides. Again, be the hero here, we all know that the taxis and buses will be driven like life doesn’t matter, so just anticipate and drive for this, let them go and be idiots somewhere else.

Please, take care at these junctions, there is no need for it to be a high accident area.

3 thoughts on “Kommetjie Road, Quarry Road and 17th Avenue- still an accident black spot!

  1. Uga says:

    June 2011

    I have been living on Kommetjie road, Fish Hoek for four years now and in my four years here I have seen, heard and experienced the most horrible car crashes, accidents and quite frankly murders on a residential road.

    It feels like yesterday when a 17 year old girl’s life, walking her dog, was wiped by a speeding taxi. Just a few months ago, a dead pedestrian’s body was left for three hours before she was removed. Not to mention the cyclists being killed and hit by cars, many other hit and runs, and others being knocked over, here to tell the story but forever having to deal with the after effects of their injuries. Local residents in the area have all had a close call or have been witness to some horrific road event. Fish Hoek high school is a block down with hundreds of scholars crossing the Kommetjie Rd daily. My neighbour woke up at 4 in the morning to find a taxi driver, who fell asleep behind the wheel travelling at 160km a hour, took out three of his palm trees before he came to a halt through his wall. And turning into one’s driveway out of Kommetjie road, well that’s a nightmare for another day and a continuous near death experience! The amount of times, we had near hit and misses has been crazy to the point of us becoming so desensitised to it, that we just hope for every day to be an ok one accident wise. Cape Medical Response unit (whose premises are across the road from me) has as much a hard time with Kommetjie road incidents (usually speed related) than they do just trying to be able to pull out of their premises into Kommetjie road for the all important tasks they have!

    And then there was yesterday, the 5th of June. We heard the most horrendous thud. No breaks, no screeching tyres. Just a thud and those few seconds of dead silence. We ran out and there they were, an old Fish Hoek favourite, dedicated father, husband and animal lover, in the middle of Kommetjie rd, dying. Tiger, his dog, struggling further down. One of his shoes was in front of our house, his body, just past 16th avenue. His arm split open, bones sticking out and yes read this because this is the reality of what is going on, on Kommetjie road. It is not pretty. It is not sugar coated. It is murder in its purest most gruesome way. And the car? The car that wiped these lives out so easily, so carelessly, only came to a halt past 14th avenue. The driver didn’t even break. He couldn’t, HE WAS GOING TO FAST! They just sat there. Not once did they bother to get out of their overloaded car to come and have a look at what they have done. NOT ONCE. We overheard the driver say ‘I was only going a 100km’. It is a 60 zone and he overtook on a solid white line. Straight into the man waiting to cross the road. Witnesses travelling on the road, was all over taken by this speeding sedan. In all instances on the solid line. And they all tell of how the man and his dog were flung into the air, like Ping-Pong balls. No chance. The driver drove over them. Through them, like they were not there, like it didn’t matter. Fish Hoek, does it? Matter? Enough for everyone to take a stand and speak out? Authorities? It looked like a bus hid the side of his car and the windscreen. No one could survive that…
    We watched him die on the scene. We were helpless. Furious. So, so angry. Sad beyond words and quite frankly traumatised. Tiger, after incredible efforts from local vet Sue, at Fish Hoek Animal Clinic, died in his sleep last night.

    We have begged. They have died. What the hell more is needed here? The corner of 16th avenue is a blind corner. A nursery with CHILDREN is on that corner. Cars have ploughed through walls there. Just three weeks ago, the street lamp was taken out.
    Speed cameras, throughout Kommetjie rd! More traffic lights. Traffic officers. Speed bumps. Traffic circles. The military if you have to. IT IS THAT SERIOUS!
    The silly little left hand turn lane executed at 17th avenue after the 17 year old was murdered, has done NOTHING. Nothing but create a left hand lane overtaking zone for lawless taxi drivers. Gosh, how do you people even get up in the mornings knowing what has happened there, and that’s how you try and solve it? Spoken to her parents at all? Dared too? Because yes, the municipality/traffic department is to blame here for not doing something about this horrible, terrible death trap!
    You would prefer for me to be nice, civil, sweet in my approach? Decent, not so angry, not seemingly aggressive? Well I tell you what, you spend a Sunday morning watching someone die, who really never deserved it, whose life was ended so savagely without being able to do anything because those who can do something about this situation, the ones in power HAS NOT. How does one ‘rest in peace’? How do you?

    DA we voted for you. What are you going to do? And how do you make right what has happened here after we have begged and asked for so long. The proof is in the statistics. And to the family of the victim, I am so, so sorry, may their deaths not be in vain.

    Uga Carlini KOMMETJIE ROAD, Fish Hoek, needless to say…

    Please add your voice, either email info@towerkopcreations.co.za or drop your letter off at Fish Hoek vet, 77 Kommetjie RD or in the post box on the silver gate 93 Kommetjie rd.

  2. Russell Hepworth says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to add this comment Uga. As stated in the article, I too live on Kommetjie Rd and honestly it is criminal that there are no speed cameras on this stretch of road, one every 200m should do the trick nicely because it seems that too few people in this world are willing to take responsibility for their own actions. Roads in general are getting terrible, with little regard for common sense, and one sees people who should know better doing the most sensless things. The other day I stood at the Quarry Rd turn off watching traffic drive by- 80% EIGHTY PERCENT of drivers had a cell phone stuck to their ears!
    Not only do we need to have traffic calming measures but also punishments need to be more severe. A fine that can be paid at Pick n Pay is not enough, many see it as a tax. The points system works very well in the UK, there it is a big thing to be caught speeding, but also the cops are very keen on pulling people over for traffic offences, they see it as an easy way to boost their arrest rates- you will never see a UK motorist knowingly drive past a police car, because they will get pulled over- not so here.
    I really thought that the death of Gaby Bouwer would lead to the road finally being cleaned up, but it doesn’t seemed to have made any difference, and the cynic in me suspects that this latest ‘murder’ will not be the last.

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