Mom who lost son in motorcycle accident on mission to remind drivers to look twice

By Erin Maloney, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012
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Diane Pearson calls herself a mother on a mission, and it’s easy to see why.

She’s distributed close to 500,000 purple stickers that say “Look Twice Save a Life- Motorcycles are Everywhere.”

It’s all in memory of her son Gene who died in 2005.

“He was a seasoned rider. Never rode without his full gear,” Pearson said.

But Gene’s experience didn’t matter. A driver pulled out in front of the 31-year-old at an intersection and smashed into his motorcycle. He died instantly. Pearson remembers arriving at the scene, thinking her son was still alive.

"I see flashing lights, and my heart drops. I'm like oh my gosh let me out of the car. There is this tarp on the ground,” Pearson said.

She never got to say goodbye. Seven years later, it doesn’t get any easier.

Unfortunately, Pearson’s story isn’t uncommon. Hillsborough County alone has almost 600 motorcycle crashes a year. That’s why Allstate Insurance is installing permanent signs for the first time that say,” Watch for Motorcycles.”

The company is talking with leaders in the Bay area to identify the deadliest intersections for motorcycles. They’ll identify one place, and start with four signs. Allstate is doing the same in 30 cities across the country.

It’s a small change, but a big step for Pearson and her son’s memory.

“It’s just as easy as can be. Turn your head one more time and look. To this day, I see flashing lights and I see a tarp every time I close my eyes. Every night,” she said.

Now drivers will see signs reminding them to watch out.