‘We don’t want to be burying any more brothers‘
"We don't want to be burying anymore brothers or bike riders".
That is the message from Sons of the Southern Cross Mackay President Ken "Smiley" Hyde who is urging motorists to take more care on the roads.
The club unveiled two memorials at Handlebar Heaven at the weekend following a tribute ride with more than 80 motorcycle riders from all backgrounds and allegiances.
They rode to honour former president Wes "Pop" Carlton as well as raise awareness about their fallen brothers.
Pop died in a tragic crash while riding with Mr Hyde and four other members in Kyogle, New South Wales on October 20 last year.
Mr Hyde, whose leg was fractured in the crash, has had three operations since and now relies on a walking stick.
"The car came over the rise on the wrong side of the road - we were sitting ducks," he said.
"I'll never be able to walk properly.
"My foot's full of steel holding it all together."
A memorial dedicated to Pop now takes pride of place in the entrance of Handlebar Heaven.
It is fashioned out of the handlebars from his Harley Davidson and cloaked by his riding leathers with a Kirk Lemonade in the pocket - Pop's favourite.
And out the back is "The Fallen" wall erected for every lost rider, centred with a hibiscus plant with white flowers.
SOTSS member Ted "Bubbles" Walters said anyone who had lost a motorcycle rider was welcome to have a plaque placed on the wall which was blessed at the weekend.
"We had grown men standing here crying," Mr Hyde added.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the house."
Mr Hyde said riders dying on the roads was not frustrating, it was "tragic".
"The pain never goes away," he said.
"We lost three members out of our club last year to motorcycling accidents."
The club has fewer than 100 members nationwide.
SOTSS member James "Knuckle" McGovern said drivers must look up, pay attention and be vigilant about their vehicle's blind spots.
"Truck drivers look down and see people on their phones all the time," Mr McGovern said.
"It's not a bloody phone booth," Mr Walters added.
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