Home Opinion and Features Bouncing in the back of a Bakkie requires restraint

Bouncing in the back of a Bakkie requires restraint

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'I now have a bakkie of my own and sometimes carry passengers in the canopy-covered load bed at the back'

Picture: RG Motorsport

I live beside a busy freeway that leads to several large construction sites, so I have a constant stream of trucks and lorries driving past my front gate every day.

In true South African style, half these vehicles come loaded with teams of construction workers.

I suppose it’s the way about 20% of South Africa’s labourers get to work every day.

We all know our public transport system doesn’t do a great job.

I spent a good percentage of my childhood bouncing along rough farm roads on the back of a bakkie. It was what all farm children did.

And it was far more exciting than sitting strapped in the front seat with the boring grown-ups. (Truth be told, hardly anybody bothered with seat belts on those farm roads anyway.)

I now have a bakkie of my own and sometimes carry passengers in the canopy-covered load bed at the back, although there are officially only two seats for humans, in the cab.

I fitted the load area with a foam floor to stop the bottles rattling and I am told it’s not at all uncomfortable.

I do realise that in the event of an accident the unsecured passengers on the back of a truck or lorry become very dangerous missiles.

It’s not rocket science to know that.

As you read this, I shall be far away in the Karoo, quite probably bouncing over rough farm tracks on the back of a farm bakkie once more.

It’s what we do.

We live in a society very proud of our legal system and have huge volumes of laws governing every imaginable aspect of our lives.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn there were legal limits to the cubic volume of greenhouse gases permitted for each flatulent occupant of a motor vehicle.

There must be strict regulations about exactly how – or if – passengers must be restrained when travelling on lorries and trucks.

I have questioned several people about this without any definite answers. All I ever get is muttered legalese.

“According to Ordinance 774 (g, ii) as amended by sub-cause 34 of 1865 (b) no mule driver registered under Section 4 (e) may”

And I have not heard of anybody stopped for having a passenger without a seat belt on the back of a bakkie.

Perhaps it’s one of those philosophical riddles to which there is no answer. Like: Is a skateboard officially classified as a vehicle, and if so, what safety equipment must be fitted to make it roadworthy?

What minimum age must be attained before being allowed to drive a skateboard on a public freeway?

Last Laugh

Charlie was a travelling salesman and was staying at a country hotel when a message came through that his wife had just given birth.

He rushed to the phone booth and dialled his home number. His wife’s tired voice came on the line.

“So tell me,” yelled Charlie, “is it a boy or a girl?”

“Oh my goodness, Charlie,” sighed his wife, “is that all you ever think of – sex, sex, sex?”