For those who knew, knew of, or were in any way influenced by cycling safety advocate Cameron Frewer, the past seven days has been the longest week of the year.
At around 6am on Monday November 5, Frewer was hit by a car while on a morning ride near his Sunshine Coast home.
Pronounced dead at the scene, the 44yo left behind a loving wife and three heartbroken children, the eldest having celebrated his 15th birthday the day before his father’s death.
Arguably one of the nation’s most prolific and passionate advocates for cyclist safety and the ‘share the road’ message, Frewer made it his mission to use technology to record his rides including the close passes that would often occur along the way.
Catherine Frewer Responds To Outpouring Of Tributes And Love
In a tearful and emotional interview we spoke with Cameron Frewer’s widow Catherine, and started by talking to her about the incredible outpouring of online tributes from across the world.
“I’m absolutely amazed to read what people have written, the love, the letters, the outpouring and the donations,” she told us.
“This is going to make a huge impact and a real difference,” she continued. “I’m just overwhelmed. From the online world to the broader community, to neighbours and the kid’s schools.”
Through tears, Catherine Frewer explained how she was feeling. “You never think you’ll be in this position, especially with three children,” she said.
“I’m in very much a sad and unimaginable place … its very hard to get my head around what has happened. But I’m a mum, and the children need me to to be strong and not break down.”
Determined that Cameron will continue to make a difference, Catherine said her mission from now on is to honour and keep her husband’s name, spirit, passion and legacy alive.
“I’m going to keep his fight going,” she said. “More needs to be done before this happens to someone else. The more we push now, the better the future will be for all riders. I’m going to spread his name out like wildfire. It makes me feel very honoured that I was Cameron’s wife and I now have the responsibility to carry this on for him.”
“Cameron would say to me ‘if anything happens you go in there and fight and do everything you can’ and that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.
“I’m now Cameron’s voice. I’m hoping Cameron’s death is going to push this to the brink and he has made a difference.”
Angry, Devastated & Heartbroken
Angry, extremely emotional, devastated and heartbroken, Catherine said “my children now have no dad and this man ( the driver ) has taken that all away.”
Asked her message be to the driver involved, she hopes the man will be charged.
“He is out and about with a license, I just feel that is not on,” she said.
“He has killed my husband and he still has the right to hold onto his drivers’ license. This is what Cameron was fighting for. Yes it will take a long time but I’m hoping he will be charged and it will go to court, he shouldn’t have a license. Cameron had every right to be there on Monday morning and was doing nothing wrong,” she said.
‘He Was Doing Everything Right’
“He was just a normal 44yo husband that would ride his bike. He would always follow the rules and stop at the red lights, with lights and cameras on his bike. He was doing everything right …and was gone in a flash.”
And Catherine’s message to other road users across Australia?
“I would say please respect everyone on the road – everyone – a motorbike, a cyclist – those people in particular because they are more vulnerable,” she said.
“Be patient, drive with less hate and bullying. Cameron said most drivers are polite and courteous, but I ask that small percentage to drive more sensibly and put themselves in the drivers’ shoes. Learn the rules – if you don’t know the safe passing distance look it up, and finally only pass when you really do know it’s safe to do so. Just be fair, drive fairly, the road is there for everyone.”
‘Police Need To Take Reports Seriously’
Catherine said Cameron simply wanted motorists and cyclists to harmoniously share the road, whatever the road, and for police to take his reports and complaints seriously.
“For example, he had a driver pass him with some horses in a float – the officer basically said to him ‘these are expensive horses and they are very precious’ … It just seems there were excuses and excuses,” she said.
“He gave so many reports to police and received so many excuses,” Catherine continued. “As cyclists, we rely on those people (the police) so it was very disappointing his complaints were not taken more seriously.”
“He predicted this was going to happen. He knew one day I would have to speak out for him. I’m now the only person who can do that for him, with Anne (Savage) of course, and she has been my rock. If I didn’t have Anne here I wouldn’t know how to talk to you or talk to the police.”
“He has found her (Anne) as a great supporter, and now she is supporting me … It’s spooky that way.”
‘Anne Savage Has Become My Rock’
As Catherine explained, Anne Savage was a professional colleague, good friend and close confidant of Cameron. Catherine told us “Anne is Cam to me at the moment.”
The CEO of Bicycle Queensland, Ms Savage spent much of the week with comforting Catherine and children, and continues to offer support. Describing her lost mate as “a good sport and a fair-minded man”, she said above all else Cameron was a family guy.
“He would have done anything for his wife and three kids,” she told Bicycling Australia.
“They moved to Queensland in April 2017 to give the kids the the best possible start in life – Cam loved the outdoors.”
Anne Savage said Cameron Frewer didn’t allow his children to see the video footage or read the many online death threats their father was receiving from people who trolled his ‘Drive Safe, Pass Wide’ Facebook page.
“He didn’t want his family to worry,” she said. “But he also wanted to be a role model for his kids. He kept riding firstly because he loved it and secondly because he couldn’t accept a world in which his kids would be confined to computer screens and barred from being active and healthy.”
“He knew the law, he knew he had a right to be on the road, and he didn’t take anything for granted. He fought back, but he wasn’t militant. He approached things with rationality – at heart he was an unshakeably honest and decent character. He wasn’t out to get anyone and he always rode with consideration for other road users, obeying the law.”
Failed By Police
Ms Savage said the Queensland policing system failed him many times.
“He felt taunted and ridiculed, at times, I think, but he didn’t let anyone see his hurt,” she said. “He didn’t let them tear him down, despite feeling deeply disparaged and dismayed and disenfranchised.
“Integrity was everything to Cameron,” she said. “He tried to laugh off the way he was treated by authorities, often referring to himself as a top whinger – he was self-deprecating in the most Australian of ways.”
Ms Savage said Cameron Frewer would want to be remembered as a fiercely loyal and proud family man who tried his best to do the right thing for his wife and kids.
“People always say tell your family you love them,” she said. “Cameron was the guy who went above and beyond. He showed them he loved them, every day, through his actions. He was a hero to his kids.”
“He told me once that if he died, he wanted to be gone in a heartbeat. He was, but he was gone too soon,” she concluded.