Many other people are campaigning for road safety in Australia and overseas. Here are just a few examples.
Shortly after our crash, I began to focus on the dangerous rural road where Karl died. I am blessed with a close friend, Dr. Lori Mooren, a widely experienced road safety expert. As my interest in road safety grew, I discovered the ground-breaking activism of the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR). The efforts of FEVR and London-based RoadPeace focus on improving the justice system’s post-crash responses. FEVR member organizations (24 at present) emphasise the importance of sharing grief and anger about lenient treatment and the value of learning from people who have suffered. FEVR also engages in advocacy to defend the rights of crash victims, wisely acknowledging that “the bereaved and injured need assistance and information to help them cope with the crash … but support services for victims of crime do not always extend to road crash victims.”
Also in the UK is Brake, a road safety charity. They argue that, “every 30 seconds someone, somewhere in the world is killed in a road crash.” Brake works to stop road deaths and injuries by campaigning for safer roads. It supports people bereaved or injured in road crashes, and raises public awareness for sustainable transport. In June 2018, Brake welcomed a government move to address drink-driving in the UK. However, they argued that “enforcement needs to be complemented by stronger policy — we’ll continue to campaign for a zero-tolerance approach to drink-driving.”
In Australia, the Sarah Group (now Safer Australian Roads and Highways: SARAH) was established by her father, Peter Frazer, to honour Sarah Frazer and campaign for changes to policy and legislation to ensure that lives are not lost in preventable and situations like the one that took her life. In 2012, Sarah was a victim of a tragic crash that could easily have been prevented with more intelligent and safer road planning. When her car broke down, she organised for a tow-truck driver to assist her. However, while he was hooking up the car, a truck side-swiped Sarah’s car and collided with the pair, killing both instantly. SARAH’s call to action is: “Road Safety Champions! Commit to Drive So Others Survive!”
Smiling for Smiddy
Close to my heart are the brilliant and powerful messages communicated by a survivor mission beloved by my dear friend, Andrew Curthoys.
Until Karl died, I paid little attention to Andrew’s long and excruciating bicycle rides to raise money for cancer research. They seemed like a brave (and perhaps reckless) enterprise. Now I welcome Andrew as another person engaged in a survivor mission: the Smiddy Challenge. When 26-year-old Adam Smiddy, a talented Australian triathlete and physiotherapist, died from melanoma in 2006, his mates committed to fighting cancer. Since 2006, the Smiling for Smiddy volunteers have raised more than $AUD7 million for cancer research at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital. Also a survivor,
Andrew is honouring his father. In eight days in August and September 2017, 49 riders (including Andrew) and a road crew of 16 (many of whom had lost friends or family members to cancer) raised $AUD300,000 on a gruelling 1581-kilometre ride from Townsville to Brisbane. The ride is a triumph of camaraderie, guts, and determination. There were tears in my eyes as I heard Andrew explain:
I’m riding to honour my Dad, who lost his battle with melanoma-related cancer in 2006. While I was preparing for the 2015 challenge, Mum was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In our family of six, three have had cancer. My brother and I have had many basal cell carcinomas removed…. I’m riding to help raise funds for cancer research.
Reflecting on these initiatives, we might ask ourselves:
- Do I have such a project in my heart and mind that would honour my loved one?
- Could I invent or build on such a project?
RoadPeace: www.roadpeace.org. RoadPeace helps bereaved families cope and build resilience through our peer support, local group networks, and trauma support programs. They also provide information guides on navigating the justice system and help with seeking fair compensation for bereaved families and seriously injured victims.
Smiling for Smiddy: https://www.smiddy.org.au