The Killyclogher family of Martin Mimnagh, who was killed while out cycling in February, say they will live with the consequences of his tragic death for the rest of their lives.
The 40-year-old was killed when he was struck by a car from behind during a cycle near his home in Wexford.
Martin’s brother George has said the driver’s one lapse of concentration has meant four children are now going to grow up without their father.
It is four months since that tragic day on February 18. George said while the numbness is beginning to fade, the full reality of what happened is only starting to sink in.
To mark Bike Week, George has called for mutual respect on the roads so no other local family has to suffer the pain of losing a loved one.
He hopes that by sending out a powerful message in Martin’s memory it can help contribute to saving lives on the road.
George said, “We have to live with the consequences of this moment for the rest of our lives. It is something that is never ever going to go away. I can’t put in words what our entire family have gone through.
“The numbness is starting to wear off and it is only now beginning to register and hit home that Martin is really gone. The bad days still greatly outweigh the good days.
“I can remember my mother calling me to tell me that Martin was dead. I just couldn’t believe it. That is what shock in times of tragedy does to you. That five hour journey down to Wexford was the longest of my life. Every ten minutes felt like an hour.
“We have lost a brother, a son, a husband and a father. Martin has four children aged two, five, eight and ten. This one lapse in concentration on the road has deprived them a life with their father.”
Martin was an experienced cyclist, who with George was actually organising a charity cycle in memory of their father Frank, who passed away last December.
That cycle under the banner ‘Tour De Frank – Martin’s Grand Plan’ will take place on the weekend of August 24-25 to raise money for Marie Curie and Palliative Care Omagh.
‘THE VULNERABILITY IS SCARY’
Having taken up the sport in recent months, George said he is shocked at the level of road rage aimed at cyclists.
He said, “Now I am a cyclist myself I see it from the other side of the coin. I am shocked at the abuse people shout from cars at cyclists, while others speed past your shoulder at over 60mph. It is scary at times. It doesn’t take an awful lot to slow down until you reach that gap in the road to pass safely. You don’t lose a lot of time.
“It is a combination of a lack of respect of cyclists on the road and a lack of respect for what you are in, may it be a car, lorry or van. While cyclists have a responsibility to obey the rules of the road, it is shocking the amount of times vehicles don’t give cyclists the space they need, putting them at grave risk.
“The vulnerability of cyclists is scary. They are out for their health, well-being and enjoyment. No cyclist is intentionally trying to delay motorists.
“There has to be mutual respect. If both abide by the rules of the road, cyclists can stay safe and motorists won’t be delayed.”
READ THIS WEEK’S ULSTER HERALD FOR A SPECIAL REPORT ON CYCLING