‘So much love’: How family will honour teen cyclist

THE heartbroken family of a talented young Cairns cyclist killed in a crash have vowed his death will not be in vain as they reveal how his memory will be honoured.

Luke Azzopardi, 19, a junior state champion, died when his bike collided with a car on Lake Morris Road at Copperlode last Thursday night.

His parents Sue and Ian and sister Jasmine released a statement on Sunday and have joined forces with cycle safety advocates the Amy Gillett Foundation for a rider safety campaign in Cairns.

"As a family, we're grateful for everyone showing so much love for our son Luke," the family said.

Cairns Cycling Club members and close mates of Luke Azzopardi, David and Brandon Hutton rode in the Luke Azzopardi Memorial Ride on Sunday. The event attracted about 300 riders and started and finished at the club's Manunda base. Picture: Arun Singh Mann
Cairns Cycling Club members and close mates of Luke Azzopardi, David and Brandon Hutton rode in the Luke Azzopardi Memorial Ride on Sunday. The event attracted about 300 riders and started and finished at the club's Manunda base. Picture: Arun Singh Mann

"We are taking some comfort in the incredible outpouring of love for Luke and how many people he positively affected."

They said he was as passionate about cycling safety as the sport itself, even helping his primary school secure a grant for a bike training course - a program which still exists.

The family and Foundation are hoping to raise $150,000 for both an awareness campaign and safety campaign around sharing the road, along with a pilot program evaluating Cairns roads to "improve safety and stress levels for cyclists".

The campaign launch comes after 300 grieving members of the Cairns cycling community took part in a mass memorial ride at Smith Park in Manunda on Sunday, while the club also pledged to support the driver of the car - a 19-year-old woman.

"The grief has reached right through the cycling community, not only of Cairns, but right through Australia," Cairns Cycling Club president James Mort said.

Cairns Cycling Club’s Luke Azzopardi was a popular mentor among junior riders at the club. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Cairns Cycling Club’s Luke Azzopardi was a popular mentor among junior riders at the club. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN


"The loss to the juniors - the juniors are grieving. A lot of the young kids looked up to Luke."

Mr Mort said the club hadn't forgotten the 19-year-old driver of the vehicle.

"As I've told a number of people 'a life has been lost and another life has been shattered'. So we in time want to reach out to the young girl and help her deal with this," he said.

Originally published as 'So much love': How family will honour teen cyclist


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