Maryborough's Robert Kerr was tragically killed in an accident while riding his motorcycle in August. His widow is determined to see his death enforce road safety.
Maryborough's Robert Kerr was tragically killed in an accident while riding his motorcycle in August. His widow is determined to see his death enforce road safety.

ONE LAST RIDE: Widow's powerful road death message

ROBERT Kerr didn't have to die.

His grieving wife Gillian knows this as she sits in the Bidwill home she and her husband shared until a tragic crash took him from her on August 12.

She's heartbroken. But she's not bitter.

Instead, she's determined to best serve her husband's memory by ensuring his senseless death inspires a campaign to stop other riders from suffering the same fate.

"He was my best friend, my lover, my rock and soul-mate," Gillian Kerr told the Chronicle.

 

Robert and Gillian Kerr at their wedding
Robert and Gillian Kerr at their wedding in 1990.

"On my bad days I feel there is no life without Robbie but I know he would expect me to carry on and keep trying.

"I think running this awareness campaign has given me purpose."

Robert was killed instantly when a 21-year-old driver allegedly tried to overtake 12 motorcycles lined up to turn off the centreline of a rural road by passing on the wrong side.

Robert was first in the queue to turn and as he did, the young man's four-wheel-drive bull bar allegedly collided with Robert's iconic blue 1948 Indian Chief Roadmaster bike.

Robert was 56, three years away from retiring.

 

Son and Widow of the late Robert Kerr - Michael and Gillian Kerr
PAYING TRIBUTE: Robert's son William and his widow Gillian Kerr with one of the family's loved vintage bikes. Cody Fox

"No, I'm not angry," Gillian said.

"I don't want to see the driver go to jail. I know he didn't deliberately maliciously kill my husband. I know he is suffering mentally about it. I have invited him and his family to Robert's funeral. I don't know if he will come but he is more than welcome.

"He just made a terrible mistake which he has to live with for the rest of his life and I want to make sure it never happens again. I would love it if he could also speak up and say these are the consequences of not driving safely."

"If Robert's death can save just one life then I think that would make him proud, he was always such a safe driver."

Gillian and Robert had a fairytale romance and just shy of 30 years married were still very much in love.

 

Robert and Gillian Kerr in 1987
Robert and Gillian Kerr in 1987

"He was a kind, kind man," Gillian said.

"He was a gentleman, he liked to help younger people and guide them especially at work.

"He loved a joke, he was just a nice regular guy. He was a family man and loved me and his son William very much.

"We ride vintage Indian motorcycles, that is a hobby of ours, we both ride and have one each.

"His was a very special bike, we found it when we were in America in 2016 in an attic in parts and brought it back to Australia in bits, with some friends we restored it and ended up with a beautiful bike. It was an eye catcher everywhere he went."

 

Robert Kerr and his wife Gillian riding together
Robert Kerr and his wife Gillian riding together recently.

"He was hugely safety conscious he worked in the coal mines, he was a drag line operator one of the most dangerous jobs out there.

"He was everything safety safety safety.

"Never sped, never even had one drink riding our motorbikes, not even a glass of wine."

Members of the Vintage Motorcycle Club of Queensland, Robert and Gillian were on a rally ride to Kilkivan on that fateful weekend.

 

Robert Kerr
Robert Kerr on his iconic blue 1948 Indian Chief Roadmaster bike in a photoshoot before he died.

It was the first time Gillian could ride again after spinal surgery four weeks earlier, but at morning tea time, she went ahead in a car because her back was sore.

"As he was leaving I told him 'give us a kiss and cuddle goodbye'... he sighed and made a fuss but he did it and gave me a gentle hug and kiss and off he went," she said.

"I was expecting to see him in an hour at the show grounds."

People came up to Gillian later at the show grounds and said there had been an accident on the ride - it had been someone on an Indian.

Robert was the only one riding an Indian that day.

"They wouldn't give me any information and I was just expecting to have to go to a hospital to meet him or hop in an ambulance with him or something," she said.

"When we got there, I could see two ambulances and I could see his bike burning on the ground and the paddock was on fire.

"And there was a body lying on the ground with white blankets over it and the ambulance officers were standing around talking so I knew then.

"I knew he was dead."

 

A recent shot of Robert Kerr and his son Michael
A recent shot of Robert Kerr and his son William riding together.

The terrible ordeal wasn't over for Gillian yet as her grief exacerbated her Crohn's disease and that night she found herself in hospital.

Two days later she suffered a large aneurysm in her aorta and was rushed to Brisbane for emergency surgery.

Miraculously, Gillian was told she did not have brain damage.

"At the time I was ready to go," she said.

"I wanted to be with him but it was not to be."

"When I was in hospital I thought about what happened to him and how safe he always was and decided if I was going to move forward with my life that I needed to have something to live for."

Robert's employer BHP Billiton agreed to set up a registered charity in his name to try and raise awareness of how vulnerable motorcycle riders are.

"There is a perception everyone who rides is a bikie and into drugs, there are so many of us out there who are nice people with good backgrounds who's leisure is going for country rides on vintage motorcycles keeping history alive or new motorcycles," Gillian said.

"We are just normal people and we deserve people in cars just give us a little room, just be aware we have no protection, slow down, look out for us.

"If this story just makes one person watch a little more carefully when they see a motorcycle then that's the point, that's the message.

"I want to spread this message and when I am well restore and ride Robert's bike in his memory."

FUNERAL DETAILS

TIME: 2pm

WHEN: Friday (tomorrow)

WHERE: Life Church, Maryborough

DETAILS: All welcome. Car and bike enthusiasts also invited to form guard of honour leaving the Fraser Coast Crematorium at 12.15pm. Anyone interested in joining the procession call Nigel Bliss on 0428 873 825. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the charity in Robert's name.