Cyclists hold memorial ride for killed colleague
SAT, 21 NOV 2009 4:35P.M.
By Rachel Morton
Several hundred cyclists took to State Highway 1 north of Wellington today to spread the message about cycle safety.
The bike ride was also a memorial for Waikanae teacher Frank van Kampen, who was knocked off his bike and killed by a drink driver.
Mr van Kampen was a popular teacher at Kapanui Primary School in Waikanae, so it was fitting a cycle ride in his honour began there.
The 46-year-old, who’d recently become a dad, was knocked off his bike and killed by a drink driver in September. Today the group of bike riders cycled 10km to unveil a memorial garden for him.
"It’s very special," says his brother David. "Frank was a loved part of the community obviously, and it’s a very fitting tribute."
The cyclists also want the Government to make changes to the law, making the roads safer for cyclists. Each year about 10 cyclists are killed, and less than 40 percent of the deaths are the fault of the cyclist.
"Just to take it easy on the roads, obviously don’t drink and drive and for the cyclists out there, hopefully the Government does something about the roads to make them safer, cycle lanes and this and that," says David van Kampen.
Ron Chatters witnessed his friend’s death - he wants drivers to give cyclists more room.
"Be aware that cyclists have got no protection. If they get hit there’s no protection there at all and we want this 1.5 [metres], that’s what we’re after – 1.5 [metres] from the car to the cyclist."
The event wasn’t just attended by family and friends - many people who didn’t know Frank van Kampen came along for the ride too, including 76-year-old Audrey Barry.
"When you’re on a bike they do seem to come very close sometimes, and you can certainly tell the ones who are courteous and will take the time to let you do your thing as well as them doing theirs."
The woman who knocked Frank van Kampen off his bike, Alison Downer, has pleaded guilty to drink driving and will be sentenced next year.
Now these cyclists are hoping some positive change can come from his death.