Calgary man organizing charity ride to honour uncle
The nephew of a Chestermere man who was killed in a collision with an alleged drunk driver on July 15 has organized a memorial motorcycle ride in his uncle’s honour.
In partnership with the Calgary chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Sober Riders Motorcycle Association (SRMA), 22-year-old Chris Harrison is asking all motorcyclists who want to spread the word about the hazards of drunk driving to join him in a 147-kilometre poker run on August 19.
“Drinking and driving needs to stop,” said Harrison. “Apparently our mouths aren’t getting the word out fast enough, so we need to let our bikes do the talking.”
While riding home from work on his motorcycle on July 15, 45-year-old Tony Harrison was killed when a westbound van crossed the centre line into his lane on 17th Avenue S.E. in Calgary near the Stoney Trail connector.
The van’s driver, 42-year-old Kelly James York, has been charged with four offenses, including impaired driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of a collision. York is currently being held at the Calgary Remand Centre. He will remain there until Aug. 3, when a Provincial court judge will decide whether he will be released on bail.
“It is important to honour my uncle because this was a completely preventable death,” said Harrison. “He was an amazing man that needs to be remembered, but we are not only honouring him, we are honouring every single victim of drunk driving. Every life taken by drunk driving was a life that could have been saved. No victim or family deserves this kind of pain and suffering, so we need to make it stop.”
The ride will begin at 11 a.m. at the Empire Studio 10 movie theatre on Macleod Trail in Calgary and will run through Aldersyde, Turner Valley and Bragg Creek before ending at Mitford Park in Cochrane. A registration fee of $25 per rider will go toward door prizes and donations.
Harrison, who followed in his uncle’s footsteps and started riding at a young age, said he hopes fellow riders will show their support and join in the ride.
“Any one of us riders could have been in Tony’s shoes that night,” he said. “We shared the same drive and passion for the open road. It is something unexplainable, it’s just in your blood.”
Details on the ride are available on the SRMA website at www.soberriders.ca/~calgary/MADD Further information is also available on Harrison’s “Bikers Against Drunk Driving” page on Facebook.