FOR bereaved father, Michael Rooney, March, 4, 2001, was like any other. 

At around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, he was out working in the workshop, as he often did. 

He knew his 20-year-old son, Patrick, had taken a run out in his motorbike; he knew that, by nature, motorbikes were dangerous.

 But he had always warned his son to be safe. He had even tried to discourage him from the past time altogether. 

He never expected, then, to hear the knock on door of the workshop from a police officer. Mr. Rooney was told that Patrick had been tragically killed on the Lisnaskea Road, when he had collided with a milk lorry that had turned out of a junction. 

With those words, Mr. Rooney's world fell apart. 

Nearby, in the family home, another police officer, a female, broke the news to Patrick's mother, Christine. 

As she heard the news that no parent wants to hear, motorcycle racing played on the TV. 

"It's sad to lose anyone, whether its in a car or a motorbike," Mr. Rooney said. "But anytime someone gets killed on a motorcycle, it brings it all back to us. 

"It impacted us badly for a long time, and still does. There's always an empty seat at the table. Especially at Christmas and during family times."

Patrick passed away less than two weeks before his 21st birthday. He even had his party organised. 

Instead, the family had to say their final goodbyes before Patrick could experience this coming-of-age milestone. 

"We always knew the dangers, and we always tried to talk him out of motorbikes," Mr. Rooney continued. "And, for a while, he wasn't involved in it. But one day he bought another bike and we couldn't say no to him. 

"At that age, they are all interested in bikes, and they don't have any fear."

However, while Mr. Rooney appreciates the dangers of motorbikes, he has also called on other road users to take extra care when they meet a motorcyclist. 

"Motorcyclists are very vulnerable. A hare crossing the road would kill a biker. Yet I feel that traffic doesn't give bikers as much lookout or respect as they should. 

"The majority of motorcyclists are skilled, safe and know what they are doing. But there's only so much they can do when something turns out in front of them. 

"To other road users, I urge them to watch out and take extra care toward motorcyclists."