Fair and safe road use for all users

2012-09-17 00:00

THE widow of a well-known Pietermaritzburg cardiologist has turned the pain of losing him in a cycling accident into a campaign for safer roads.

This month marks a year since Dr Adrian Pearce (44) died after being knocked off his bike while training in the Thornville area.

At the time, his family, patients and the medical fraternity were shocked at his loss.

But out of this tragedy Cycle Safe KZN, a wing of South Africans against Drunk Driving (SADD), was born.

Pearce’s widow, Bernie, told The Witness the initiative aimed to make motorists and cyclists more aware of one another on the roads.

She said that with the high fuel prices many more people wanted to use bicycles, and she was concerned that new cyclists would not be safe on the roads unless something was done to educate all road users.

“We need some sort of project that aims to make both cyclists and drivers more aware of what should and shouldn’t be done on the road,” she said.

Cycle Safe KZN plans to visit schools in a campaign to teach pupils about protective gear such as helmets and reflective clothing.

It would also collect helmets to be be donated to disadvantaged cyclists.

Speaking about her own cycle of life since the loss of her husband, the mother of two girls, Robyn (16) and Jamie (12), said it wasn’t easy.

“There are times when I ask myself why and there’s no answer.”

But Pearce said she couldn’t “fall on her backside” when she had people who prayed and supported her.

“My girls have my trait, they are brave.

“They are overwhelmed by the project because they don’t want what happened to their father to happen to someone else.”

Pearce said that as part of her healing process, she started walking 12 km a week with a neighbour.

She had spiritual mentors and a childhood best friend who had also lost a husband four years ago. Not a day went by that she did not talk to her.

“When you speak to somebody who lost a loved one, whatever they tell you feels like gospel purely because they have been there and they had the experience.”

Debbie Stroberg, of the 4ever Cycles club of which Pearce was a member, is also part of the initiative.

Stroberg’s husband and son are cyclists and she said she worried about what could happen to them on the road.

Both women said cyclists had a right to be share the road with motorists, and there was a need for tolerance.

• gabisile.ngcobo

@witness.co.za

Memorial ride: Proceeds to Cycle Safe KZN

THERE will be a memorial ride in honour of Dr Adrian Pearce next

Saturday. The ride starts at 6 am from 4ever Cycles at 39 Chief Albert Luthuli Street.

Participating cyclists will pedal out to the scene of the crash where Pearce died in Thornville.

Less experienced riders who would like to join the 42 km round trip are welcome.

There will be a short ceremony and unveiling of three signs that are being put up to promote road safety for cyclists.

A cup of coffee and a muffin will be sold at R20. Proceeds will be donated to Cycle Safe KZN.

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