Tragedy sparks widow's warning

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am

Motorcyclist's death spurs drink-driving campaign by wife, friends

Eagle Luk Yee-mei's husband John was killed when his motorcycle was struck by an alleged drunk driver last month.

Yet she still jumps on her Suzuki scooter and rides almost every day.

'That time when I ride, it feels like I'm riding with my husband,' she said. 'We used to ride together every day. We rode home from work together. We rode on the weekend. He loved motorcycles.'

John Desmond Hew, 39, died after his vehicle was struck on the Eastern Island Corridor on July 5.

Ms Luk said she was 'a little angry' about the way her husband had died, but she was trying not to let the anger consume her.

Her husband's death has left her to raise alone a three-year-old son, Jamie, and another child due next month. She has to think about them first. But she hopes her experience will serve as a warning to people who get drunk and then get into a vehicle.

'They have got to think that it's not just themselves they could be hurting, but many others,' she said.

Ms Luk said her husband's passion had been motorbikes.

As technical director of the China BG-Performance racing team, Hew was a well-known figure in Asian motorsport. He represented Yamaha in the Malaysian superbike competition in the 1980s, retiring in 1990.

Hew worked for US motorcycle-racing legend Kenny Roberts, but spent most of his recent years in Hong Kong, splitting his time between the city and Zhuhai .

He was quick on the racing track in Zhuhai, but his speciality was the mechanical side.

'He had one or two accidents on the track, but never on the road,' Ms Luk said. 'He always told everyone who asked the importance of riding a motorbike safely on the road. John didn't talk much, but when he did, it meant something.'

Jamie asked her every day where his dad was. He even picked up the phone, wanting to speak to him.

He is very much his father's son. The T-shirt he wore yesterday had cartoon pictures of cars, and he is always wanting to turn the key on his mother's motor scooter.

Ms Luk said she was thankful that she had a strong group of friends around to help her cope.

One of her friends, avid motorcyclist Sky Lam Sui-kai, said Hew had shown him the best way to ride.

Hew's death has spurred Hong Kong's motorcycle-riding community into action.

They have started a 'Black Ribbon' campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of drink driving. The campaign arose out of the anger many felt over Hew's death.

They made 400 black ribbons - an unlucky symbol in Chinese culture as they are usually worn only when a family member dies, but perfect for drawing attention to their cause.

'Our aim is to strengthen the law against drink-driving,' Mr Lam said.

He said people should be prevented by law from climbing into their cars and driving once they were over the legal limit for alcohol.

'That is our basic request.'

Under current police policy, some drivers who have legally had too much to drink are sent on their way with only a warning.



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