Bermuda Institute pupil Jayvyn Iris has turned a series of personal tragedies into a powerful statement on road safety.

The 16-year-old submitted a 500-word essay over the summer for a competition hosted by the road safety campaigner A Piece of the Rock.

His passionate essay not only earned him the winning prize of a motorcycle helmet, but it was also sent directly to David Burt, the Premier, as part of the competition.

In his essay, Jayvyn wrote: “We need to take account of how many people have lost their lives or even been close to it.

“Why are we just standing back and not doing anything about it? We can come together as one to make these roads safer for the next generation.

“We don’t start tomorrow, next week. We need to start now because we can make a difference in our community and make a difference in the island of Bermuda.”

Jayvyn, from Southampton, said that dangerous driving had always been a personal subject to him because it claimed the lives of two cousins.

Vershon Simmons, 18, was killed in 2011 after he was hit by a car on Harbour Road in Paget. And in April this year, Antoine Seaman, 21, died after his motorcycle collided with a police car in Sandys.

He said: “[Antoine] was like a brother to me. I used to be over his house all the time and I looked up to him as an older brother.

“When it happened, it really hit me hard, because I knew he was changing his life for the better and helping the community.”

Because of this, Jayvyn entered the School Helmet Competition in June when A Piece of the Rock held a presentation at Bermuda Institute.

He explained that he saw the competition as an opportunity to shine a light on the need for stricter road-safety measures.

Jayvyn said that his essay called for more in-depth cycle training that included experience riding on the road.

It also advocated for schools to expose students to safe driving practices at a younger age.

“If we don’t change things happening around here, it can affect the people closest to you,” he said.

“We don’t need another road death before we wake up and do something about it.”

Jayvyn plans to continue advocating for road safety and one day join the Bermuda Road Safety Council.

“We have to understand that we need to keep changing if we want to get better,” he said.