Daughters of Middleburg motorcyclist hit, killed urge safety on roads

'Take that second look,' says one of 67-year-old Peter Barton's daughters

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – The daughters of a Middleburg motorcyclist who was killed in a crash on Memorial Day weekend have a message for riders and drivers. 

Peter Barton, 67, was hit and killed May 26 on State Road 16 near County Road 315 in Clay County.

Troopers said he was traveling west on State Road 16 when an eastbound Hyundai Elantra tried to make a left turn and crashed into his motorcycle. The driver of the car and her passenger were both taken to Orange Park Medical Center with minor injuries.

Cheyenne and Destri Barton said their father taught them to love motorcycles from the time they could walk, through riding a bike for the first time.

"If you can pick it up from it being on its side, like laid over, then you were ready to ride," Destri Barton said. "And that's what he made us do before he would ever let us ride."

But probably the most important advice he gave was safety comes first. 

"Even on the dirt bike in the yard, he wouldn't let us get on without jeans, closed-toe shoes, glasses, helmets," Destri Barton said. "Every time, he would wear a long-sleeved shirt to protect him from the sun but also, you know, road rash and everything else."

Family photo of Peter Barton

Peter Barton was wearing a helmet when he was hit and killed Memorial Day weekend, troopers said. However, Cheyenne Barton said, safety gear only goes so far when drivers aren't paying attention. 

"It only takes a second for you to miss a motorcycle and end up right in front of them in a head-on collision," she said.

That's why Cheyenne Barton and her sister also urge bikers to take precautions -- like always keeping their eyes and ears open.

"People like to listen to music whenever they ride, but you can't hear everything around you," Destri Barton said.

The two know firsthand everything can change in the blink of an eye. 

"Take that second look, definitely know your surroundings," Cheyenne Barton said. "If you hear a motorcycle, pay attention to it, because that can be somebody's father like ours."

A trainer with Jacksonville Motorcycle Safety Training said motorcyclists need to remember four things:

  • No drinking and riding.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Take a training course.
  • Be constantly alert.
  • News4Jax also learned Peter Barton was an Air Force veteran -- serving from 1970 to 1974.

    There will be a celebration of life for Peter Barton, including a performance of taps, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Click here for more information.

    The family is accepting donations through Vystar bank account number 7508216406.

    The Florida Highway Patrol's investigation is ongoing and could take months. 

    Right now, no charges have been filed. 

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