‘No one goes out to have an accident’
They say the greatest pain you experience as a parent is to outlive your child. Something I hope I never have to face, but for me it was seeing the hurt and pain my parents suffered as they buried their son.
I remember that look in my dad’s eyes as my brother’s coffin was lowered and watching my mother crying at the funeral home, saying “I will never see my boy’s blue eyes ever again”.
My brother Paul was killed in a motorcycle accident.
That day was not only the end of his life, but life as we knew it for our family, my parents, his children, and the driver too. None of us would ever lead the same life we had planned that morning.
It was March 2007, he was 38, healthy and on his way into work, a father of two children.
All his life he rode motorbikes, on the road or on the dirt, it did not matter except for the bigger and more powerful, the better.
You see, this never should have happened.
Paul was experienced, wore the correct protective clothing and was not speeding. The driver of the car had 30+ years’ experience, he was a teacher at the local high school, just out and about. His wife in the passenger seat next to him. He had a zero-blood alcohol. There were no drugs in his system. He was not speeding. He was not on his phone. He was following all the road rules … except for the one detail that he will regret for the rest of his life. He did not check his blind spot for a motorcyclist before changing lanes and starting to do a U turn.
As I struggled with my grief and utter devastation in the aftermath of that fateful event my father told me, “Nobody goes out looking to have an accident” He was right, of course, and this was no different, it was just an accident, but one that took a life and importantly, one that could have been avoided.
What could I do, apart from help arrange his funeral, stand strong for the children, my parents and write a heartfelt victim impact statement for the court?
Therefore, Rider Aware was born from the passion and heartfelt knowledge that we all can make a difference.
Knowing first-hand what it is like to lose someone in an accident, something that 13 years later eats at me every day. Even when people are doing the right thing on our roads, we have families suffering every day. Not just here in Victoria, indeed in all of Australia, anything to help reduce this loss must be better than sitting back and letting our most vulnerable road users toll rise.
These small, yet effective car stickers serve as a simple reminder to always double check for motorcyclists, especially when changing lanes. They also remind drivers to look for any helmets on the roads.
With huge cost to both taxpayers and governments for the deaths, injuries, and rehabilitation of injured riders each year, these stickers need to be out there teaching, reminding, all drivers to double check their blind spots. It is imperative that trucks, cars, taxi cabs and all other road users are aware of motorcyclists as they travel around our state and country.
If something so small can help even just one family not suffer, to have to bury their child, a parent or partner, then my loss or the loss of so many on our roads might not be in vain.
At Rider Aware we are passionate and dedicated to making sure everyone gets the chance to arrive home safely. So, like us, share our story, buy the stickers for your car or your kid’s cars, and help to get your rider out there home safe.
In loving memory of Paul Mitchell
1968 - 2007
*This photo could be replaced with any of the 2600 plus people killed on motorcycles in the last decade in Australia.
We have the power to make a change, and by sharing, supporting and promoting the Rider Aware vision we strive for unwavering safety on our roads, for everyone.
Jason is a motorcycle enthusiast who travels through peak hour traffic daily, and all too often sees and hears of the constant remnants of another devastating accident involving a motorcyclist. With friends and family who are out on the roads, he worries for their safety just as you would for your loved ones, therefore sparking the initial concept of Rider Aware.
Kristine has suffered first hand through the life changing consequences of a fatal motorcycle after losing her brother. The emotional trauma she endured drives her passion to support Rider Aware and its overall message to all in order to prevent anyone else from going through the same loss as she unfairly experienced.