SIMPSON BAY–An estimated two to three hundred cyclists of all ages participated in the memorial ride Sunday morning for the late Bas de Haan who was killed by a speeding, overtaking car on the Airport Boulevard on September 6.
The massive outpouring of sympathy for his family sent a strong message to government to make road safety for cyclists and pedestrians a priority.
However, no elected official from either side of the island was seen to take the microphone at the start of the ride to publicly state they would take up the cause of road safety, giving the sense of a missed opportunity by a major party to solicit voters from the cycling community.
That said, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Silveria Jacobs was reportedly present at the start to show her support.
The initiative organised by Tri-Sport saw cyclists gather at the Maya Indian Restaurant in Simpson Bay where a prayer was read by Camila van Grieken before the procession made its way slowly along the Airport Boulevard to the Maho roundabout before returning and finishing at the Red Cross building.
The Harley Davidson Club motorcycles provided an escort for the ride.
At the Red Cross building the partner of Bas de Haan, Susan, and his mother Aukaye de Haan, expressed their appreciation and thanks for the turnout in an emotional moment. Bas’s friends and colleagues from Milton Peters College (MPC) were also present.
“It doesn’t make it any easier for us but we hope Bas did not die in vain and what happened will make a difference,” Aukaye said. “We have attended these kinds of sad events before but I never thought it would happen to my own son.”
Tri-Sport’s Susy Piscione presented her with a plaque in honour of Bas. Flowers and the white frame of “ghost bike,” a worldwide symbol to remember a cyclist’s death, was placed against the fence outside, providing a poignant reminder of the dangers of the road.
The plaque and memorial banners on the fence were donated by Atlantic Signs. Many persons signed the condolences book and the white banner in the shape of a heart.
A memorial is planned for today in MPC and at a later date in the Netherlands. The condolences book will be passed on to the College.
With the deaths of Bas de Haan and Ramesh Manek previously on the same stretch of road, Piscione underscored just how important it is now to get safety measures in place. She noted much of the “share-the-road” campaigning since 2012 has had to be re-started after the government fell.
“There’s very little in the government’s budget for safety of citizens, so what is being done currently – 50 share-the-road awareness signs – have been funded by Tropical Shipping,” she explained. “There’s not one speed limit sign on the Airport road except at Safe Cargo. If your citizens are not safe and not happy you cannot have a successful economy. We need more surveillance and more patrols.”
“We want to see the ‘share-the-roads’ signs up by the end of the year … that’s the first phase, and the second phase is to have the roads painted. Where there’s no space for a bicycle lane, there will be a virtual lane which is just a painting on the road with a bicycle symbol providing a reminder to drivers to share the road. The final phase is education in the schools about traffic, Highway Code, driving tests etcetera,” she continued.
“The law allows bicycles to be on the road. If we don’t have the space we have to make sure the traffic knows that we have that right. But it’s not just for bicycles, it’s for pedestrians and animals too.”
Source: Daily Herald
Memorial cycle ride honouring Bas de Haan draws hundreds