I was delighted to get two surprise phone calls yesterday; the first was from John Tangiia’s partner, Kerry Lockhart, and the second, from John’s family in Australia.
Kerry’s call asked if a memorial bike ride was planned for John. She said his youngest daughter is due to return shortly to her mother and John’s two other two daughters in Australia, and was keen to join a ride, if a ride was held before her departure. This was backed up by the Australian branch of the family, who said that Auckland family representatives would certainly to be keen to take part if a memorial ride is held in the future.
The calls allowed me to convey the sympathy personally that I know many members of the cycling community felt, and was expressed when I wrote my blog at the end of the week of the crash. I learnt that the family have read our blogs since the event.
Kerry wanted to acknowledge our messages, so emailed this for me to pass on. ” I would appreciate the community knowing that their messages of sympathy were received and how very grateful myself and all of Johns Family have been for all the kind words and support. These messages have been very helpful during this very difficult time.”
I feel humbled by this message. What we did seemed so inadequate at the time, yet it made a difference.
This brings me to the memorial ride.
We were asked immediately after the crash to organise a memorial ride. I consulted our Cycle Action team, and the practical reality of a public ride on the mean streets around Stanley St worried us. We were also aware many people were on holiday. This caused us to rethink the timing and venue, and to contemplate holding a ride in February (Bikewise Month) on Tamaki Drive, riding to Jane Bishop’s ghost bike.
This would effectively mean moving the date of our annual memorial ride, the first of which was held on the first anniversary of Jane’s death. We need to talk to Jane Bishop’s friends in Auckland about this, because our rides to date have been primarily to remember Jane. Her friends have been an important part of the rides, and we want them to feel welcome if we change the date and use the event to remember other cyclists killed and injured on Auckland roads.
Tamaki Drive is safer to ride as a group, has space for us to gather, to share a poem and leave flowers or other messages of remembrance. It is also appropriate for a memorial ride as it has such superb panoramic views, is loved by all manner of people who cycle there, and is Auckland’s busiest cycle route.
We hope an annual memorial ride such as this will be both a time to pause to reflect on the loss caused by cycling crashes and the joy, satisfaction, well being, engagement and other positive emotions people feel while cycling around Auckland. If you want to help organise it, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org)