Cyclist’s message from beyond the grave
CYCLIST safety advocate Cameron Frewer has left a chilling message, made public just days after he was tragically killed in a horrific road accident.
A letter written by Mr Frewer, 44, just four days before his death detailed his frustration at inaction by police to prosecute drivers who failed to leave the required minimum distance when passing him.
"I just felt the need to say my piece in the event something ever happens to me (God forbid). I know I am not the only rider with these issues," Mr Frewer writes.
In a tragic twist, the longstanding cycling safey advocate who operated Facebook page Drive Safe Pass Wide, died this week after being struck by a utility while riding on the Sunshine Coast.
The open letter included links to 17 videos showing drivers passing him by less than the required safe passing distance, as legislated in Section 144A of Queensland Government road rules.
All had been submitted to police as a breach of the law.
None of the video footage, taken from the forward and back-facing cameras attached to Mr Frewer's bicycle, resulted in driver infringement notices.
Mr Frewer addressed the open letter to Police Minister Mark Ryan, Transport Minister Mark Bailey, police commissioner Ian Stewart, Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie and various bicycle advocacy groups.
In the letter, he wrote he was frustrated any letter he sent "either ends in silence, is handballed to someone else or I receive the usual cut and paste reply".
"I am a father of three, a husband, someone who rides a bicycle on occasion, as well as a driver and motorcyclist," Mr Frewer wrote.
"I am hardly the stereotypical Lycra lout but I do value my life and I value a law and process that encourages people to use bikes for whatever reason.
"I work weekends so I am not a cycling weekend warrior. I have joined no clubs, so I am not a bunch rider.
"I ride alone and at times that avoid rush-hour traffic.
"I stop at red lights, ride as far left as practicable and do the best I can to keep myself safe on the roads.
"I don't shave my legs, I use flashing front and rear lights and wear cycling gear that always carries a safe passing message."
Mr Frewer, who was head chef at Mykies on the Bay restaurant, at Kawana Island on the Sunshine Coast, was struck by a utility on Caloundra Rd shortly before 6am on Monday. He was only a short distance into a regular morning ride from his Mountain Hill home and he died at the scene.
To date, the driver of the vehicle has not been charged and police are waiting the results of various mechanical and scientific reports.
His wife Catherine, 44, and three young children Lachlan, 15, Oscar, 10, and Heidi, 8, have been left devastated.
Speaking exclusively to News Queensland, Catherine, an early childcare educator, said she won't stop fighting for what her husband believed in.
"Cam and I talked about the risks,'' she said. "He said nine times out of 10 the drivers were great. But he had lots of close passes and people did horrible things.
"You shouldn't have to worry about someone knocking you off your bike or throwing a can out the window and hitting you or swearing or deliberately cutting you off on a roundabout … all these things happened to Cam and it's just so wrong.
"In the end he felt no one was listening, that the police thought he was a pest.
"You obviously hope it never happens but Cam knew every day he went riding that one day he might not come home. I knew, we both knew.
"Our world has just stopped turning. He didn't have to die. But I'm just so proud that he kept going out there and riding."
Mr Frewer sent the open letter to his friend and Bicycle Queensland chief executive Anne Savage, who described him as a "fiercely loyal and proud family man" who was a hero to his kids.
"He felt taunted and ridiculed at times but he didn't let anyone see his hurt," Ms Savage said.
"He told me once that if he died, he wanted to be gone in a heartbeat. He was, but he was gone too soon."
Motorists are required to leave a gap of at least 1m between their vehicle and a bike rider when passing in a 60km/h or under zone and at least 1.5m when the speed limit is over 60km/h.
Drivers who fail to do so face three demerit points and a $391 fine or a maximum fine of $5200 if the matter goes to court.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said there had been 40 infringement notices issued under the offence code from January 1 to July 31 this year.
The Queensland Police Service said it was "committed to increasing awareness and law enforcement effectiveness to encourage all Queenslanders to be safe and considerate road users".
"As with any investigation, police need to consider whether the evidence available is sufficient to mount a successful prosecution," a spokesperson said.
A GoFundMe page, Campaign For Cameron, has been set up for the Frewer family. Bicycle Queensland will hold a street party at West End on December 1 with all proceeds going to the family.