Tampa, Florida - At first glance, Diane Pearson, in her leather vest looks like a biker, but she's not. She's a mother on a mission trying to protect them. She says, "My son had a fascination with riding. He felt free."
Pearson doles out bumper stickers that read, "Look twice. Save a life. Motorcycles are everywhere." She knows how important the message is. Her 31-year-old son Gene, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy, died in a motorcycle accident.
Pearson says, "I have given out 165,000 bumper stickers for free with the help of seven DMV'S in seven counties. To keep his memory alive, I go out and alert motorists that they have to look twice to save a life."
She didn't come up with the slogan though. She says she got it from another mother dealing with the same heartbreaking pain. "Kathy Malone in Georgia is the originator. Her son was killed 25 years ago."
Their message is now beaming from a billboard at Hillsborough Avenue and Race Track Road, but that's not the only place you'll see it. Pearson says, "Bus bench advertising, bus shelter advertising. They're on the side of HartLine buses, and yellow cabs."
She says it's critical that drivers pay attention, be alert and share the roadway. "It was his seventh bike. He was an experienced rider. Took the course. Wore the helmet. Wore full gear and it's unfortunate that somebody didn't see him when they pulled out. They just pulled right out in front of him."
Pearson gives away the bumper stickers for free and says she's sent them as far away as Hungary, Kenya, and Poland.
If you'd like to order bumper stickers or make a donation, visit the Gene Pearson Motorcycle Awareness Foundation.
Tammie Fields, 10 Connects