‘It’s not safe out there’

  • Sombre message: Drive for Change campaigners on East Broadway near Hamilton yesterday morning (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Sombre message: Drive for Change campaigners on East Broadway near Hamilton yesterday morning (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The mother of a woman killed in a crash is backing The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign in an attempt to prevent other parents going through her pain.

Valerie Petty explained that her daughter, Kerry Hollis, a 38-year-old mother of two, died after a crash in Southampton last year.

Ms Petty said: “It’s not safe out there.

“It’s scary and I need to help to make a change to make our roads safer — not just for my children, but for other people’s children so other mothers don’t have to go through what I’m going through.”

Ms Hollis was killed in a crash on Middle Road near Five Star Island last September.

Ms Petty joined others who had lost family members, as well as schoolchildren, community leaders and police and emergency services staff for the rush-hour event along East Broadway on the outskirts of Hamilton yesterday morning.

The crowd held signs that showed the names and ages of the 118 people killed in accidents over the past ten years.

Ms Petty said road safety was a community issue.

She explained: “This is not just one sector of people or another. It is everybody.

“I have three other children — I have a son-in-law, I have two granddaughters and they’re all on this road.”

She said she was pleased by the turnout for the event and by the number of children involved.

Ms Petty explained: “They’re the next group of people who are going on our roads.”

Terrylynn Doyle said she was happy to be part of a “momentous occasion”.

Ms Doyle’s son, Malik Weeks, who was 24, died after a Christmas Day motorcycle crash on North Shore Road in Hamilton Parish in 2012.

Mr Weeks, son of Progressive Labour Party MP Michael Weeks, left behind his four-year-old daughter, Maeisha.

Ms Doyle said: “I know first-hand about the carnage and the devastation it leaves for families.

“I’m more than happy to put my face to this movement to highlight the dangers of our roads and the lives that it impacts.”

The boyfriend of Ali Bardgett’s daughter was killed in a crash in 2015.

She asked that his name not be printed out of respect for his family.

Ms Bardgett said: “He spent a lot of time at our house.

“They were two young people with the rest of their lives in front of them.”

Ms Bardgett added that her husband was injured in a hit-and-run a year before the fatal crash.

She said: “I pushed him around in a wheelchair for three months.

“Just driving from St George’s to town everyday was just insanity.”

Ms Bardgett, the deputy chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, said the problem of road safety had three components.

She explained: “There is a lack of education, enforcement and engineering.”

Ms Bardgett said Bermuda’s road safety statistics were “appalling”.

She added: “We have the worst statistics for road safety. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Inspector Robert Cardwell of the Bermuda Police Service said the event was a “brilliant initiative”.

Mr Cardwell added: “It’s nice to have our partners taking a lead on this.

“We’ve said it over and over that road safety is a bigger problem than the police can handle by themselves and this is a step in the right direction.”

Veronica Manderson, an emergency medical technician, came out to help put the spotlight on road safety.

Ms Manderson said: “Everyone is here because they want to help and get the message out.”

She said that “a lot” of her time at work was taken up by road accidents.

Ms Manderson added: “Horrific accidents happen all the time.”

She said her message was simple — “don’t drink and drive.”

Ms Manderson added: “Do not be under the influence of any mind-altering drugs or alcohol.”

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Published Jan 30, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 30, 2018 at 7:21 am)

‘It’s not safe out there’

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