A young German cyclist killed in a collision with a truck in New Zealand in January described aggressive truck drivers as "beasts" just days before her death.
Mia Susanne Pusch, 19, arrived in New Zealand in early October and had been cycling around the country until her death last Tuesday.
Below are photos and the speech made at the installation of a White Bike at the site of the accident.
Memorial speech for Mia on the occasion of the installation of a White Bike on August 31st 2010:
Mia Susanne Pusch from Kirtorf, Germany, was killed on January 5 this year at 11.50 a.m. She died here in an accident with a 40-ton-truck while she was riding her bike on this road. Mia was 19 years old (she would have been 20 on June 27th). She had just finished school with excellent marks and she had her life ahead of her. The following words were written by Mia's high school principal in his obituary notice and they say a lot about Mia:
„We remember her as a student and a personality who enriched courses and the life at the school with her enthusiasm as well as her eagerness for her fellow students. Her special interest was always focused on the essential and basic things of life.“ Her selfless zeal for her fellow people can be seen in various things: Whenever help was necessary, she actively tackled any problem. She was concerned about any kind of injustice. She protected those who are vulnerable. What is the essential and basic in our life? This is a question Mia dealt with continously. By the way she approached other people we can see that it was essential for her to be friendly, to respect life and every human and to treat them with care. Also here in New Zealand Mia had a lot of good experiences: her parents and others would have given anything, if her final experience, the one with the truck, would have also been an attentive one.
Being a girl scout, for Mia it was a matter of course to explore other countries and to make new contacts – she was quite experienced in organizing travels, concentrated on the fundamental things and being modest. Therefore her family and her friends encouraged her to go to the other side of the earth, as the Germans say „the end of the world“. That this journey would be the end of her world, her life, nobody could guess.
On October 24th she started fom Frankfurt, Germany, to experience New Zealand by bike for a couple of months. It is a testimony of her courage to do this on her own since she was not free of fear of the unknown. As a consequence her first messages were explicitly contained. She found it hard to be alone, she missed her friends, family and Jonathan, her boyfriend. But Mia was eager to experience and had a persevering attitude towards life. She got to know friendly people and on her bike she experienced freedom and being left to her own resources. On January 5th she was already on her way back home. But she did not arrive safely.
There are no words for her parents' grief or our pain. Life is going on but some hours, some days are unbearable and there is only one desire: that the nightmare may end, that her voice and her laughter may be heard not only in our minds but experienced in person. The nightmare however is reality: Mia is gone and we miss her painfully. The low penalty for the truck driver is bitter, even though the hardest possible punishment would not have brought „justice“. Until today there has not come a single word of mourning, condolence or repentance to Mia's family by the driver. On the other hand, the sympathies we received over borders and thousands of kilometres were and are overwhelming: We want to thank you for this from our hearts, also in behalf of Mia's parents. Jonathan and I also thank you very deeply for being here today in person or in mind, for all your support and friendliness.
In the first days after Mia's death Jonathan's and Mia's grandmothers asked in a threesome themselves independently from each other, why God chose to take her, it would have been their turn and not the one of this bright and upright young woman. No one of us can make this undone and we cannot determine the time of death. Particularly Mia's parents, her sister and Jonathan with God's help will have to learn to accept Mia's death.
I want to conclude with the desire that we may always remember what is essential in life: Being respectful and careful with each other and with the world we live in. That's what we can learn from Mia. And if we do, New Zealand might even become what Mia hoped for in vain: „A Pedaller's Paradise“.
(This speech was mainly written by Jutta Rattunde, translated by Gesa Pusch/Marion Rattunde. Final review: Norbert Guggenbichler)