When Byron youth Ben Donohoe lost his life in a road accident in July 2010 his family was amazed by the outpouring of love and support from the community.
Now the community is rallying behind a plan would ensure the young man is remembered for generations to come.
Hundreds of locals have lent their support to a campaign to have the proposed Byron Bay to Suffolk Park cycleway named in Ben’s memory.
A Facebook page devoted to the push jumped from 400 to 900 members in the past few days and is continuing to grow.
‘When Ben died, it wasn’t just our family that lost him, the whole town did,’ his mother Yvonne Donohoe says.
‘He was born in Byron and grew up in Suffolk. He played football, he was in the board riders club.
‘We think this would be a lovely way to remember Ben, and to remind people of the fact that we are a community at a time when our sense of community is diminishing.’
Naming a cycleway after Ben would be particularly poignant because some of Ben’s family and friends believe that if the young man had had a bike on the night of his death he might still be alive.
The 20-year-old was hitch-hiking back to Suffolk Park on Bangalow Road after an evening in Byron when he and a friend were picked up by a drunk and drug-affected driver.
‘Within 500 metres they had run into a tree,’ Mrs Donohoe says.
‘They hit the tree so hard the engine flew out of the car and nearly hit a taxi coming the other way.’
‘Now with the cycleway there’s going to be a safe way for young people to get home.’
The Byron Bay to Suffolk cycleway is part of a broader plan by Byron Council to reduce the number of cars in the Shire by encouraging cycling through improved infrastructure.
The Byron Suffolk plan is currently on public exhibition, with three different layouts open for discussion.
The stretch from Byron Bay to Suffolk Park along Bangalow Road is a very popular, but perilous, route for local cyclists.
Those leading the campaign for the path to be named in Ben’s honour are encouraging locals to make a submission to this affect before the cut off date tomorrow (Friday) at 5pm.
Submissions can be made here.