Almost one year ago today a young woman was killed as she cycled to university in Glasgow – marking the first of too many road deaths in 2023.

Emma Burke Newman’s parents were 700 miles away in Paris and were unaware that their beloved daughter had passed away following a crash at Broomielaw on January 27.

Rose and John’s world changed forever when they learned of the accident – more than 24 hours later.

And it was a long and painful journey before they finally arrived in Glasgow – where Emma, from France, had moved to study just three months prior.

Glasgow Times: EmmaEmma (Image: Supplied)Aged just 22, the Mackintosh School of Architecture student and part-time designer had quickly settled in the city and had celebrated her first Burns Night just two days before her sudden death.

On the first anniversary of Emma’s passing, Rose and John have shared their devastation of losing their only child.

“I start to tear up and cry, we love and miss her so much,” Rose said.

“The anticipation of the anniversary is so emotional. The last time we saw her was over the Christmas holidays in 2022. So, this time of the year has been difficult.

“People describe grieving like waves. And that's so true. Some days we feel better, but now there's a big wave coming. And it’s a hard one.”

Glasgow Times: One of the last times Rose and John spent with Emma in December 2022One of the last times Rose and John spent with Emma in December 2022 (Image: Supplied)It was difficult to accept their precious daughter had died so young.

“She had just found her path, and she was so happy,” Rose said.

“What we found amazing is that she quickly wanted to find roots in the community in Glasgow. She loved her neighbourhood; there was a community centre close to where she lived in Shawlands.

“She had joined Langside Library. Among the other cards in her wallet was Glad Rags – she was into second-hand clothing.”

John and Rose, originally from the United States, have made several trips to Scotland to be close to their daughter since she was laid to rest in Binning Wood, East Lothian.

During visits, they have met Emma’s friends, work colleagues, flatmate, and teachers – and admitted they learned so much about her.

Rose said: “We've heard from so many people about how she touched their lives, personally or professionally. And her ideas, and how creative she was.

“She was just a normal daughter to us, and we had fun times.”

“I've been proud of her forever,” John added. “But actually, what's happened is I've become prouder because the more I learn, the more amazed I am.

“We've heard lots of good things about her which seem very sincere and that's just something else to be proud of.

“It's difficult because it increases the sadness, but it also increases the expectations that you should live similarly.

“You sort of have to balance, ‘I can't be Emma, but I should embody the same spirit in my own way that Emma did’.

“And some days I'm just not up to it. It's challenging.”,

Glasgow Times: Emma's class photo from November 2004Emma's class photo from November 2004 (Image: Supplied)Emma, who was an experienced cyclist, was passionate about making cities safer but couldn’t have known the threat she faced when travelling to university that Friday morning.

Just days later on February 2, 2023, Chinenye Vera Okonkwo died following a crash involving two cars on St Vincent Street.

Less than an hour after her death, a 64-year-old woman was also struck by a car, just metres away from where Chinenye had been killed.

The woman spent weeks fighting for her life in hospital but sadly passed away in March.

Last year, the Glasgow Times reported on 16 road deaths across the city. Official data has not been released yet.

Just five months into 2023, there were more lives lost on our city’s roads than the previous year – and the figure increased even further after five deaths in the first week of June.

Emma’s parents have been campaigning in her honour to call for action to improve the safety of our roads and noticed several other fatalities across the city.

“There were stories including the police warning people to be careful and it was very strange,” John said.

“Dismayed is not quite the right word, but I was thinking, ‘something is going on’.

“I honestly thought it was just a crazy, violent place. Which doesn't fit with the people we've met.

“One thing we found about Scotland is that the people are just so friendly and so helpful.”

Glasgow Times: Police Scotland staff have been praised for their compassion and kind gestures during the hardest time of Rose and John’s lives – which was very different to their experience in France.

Rose explained how she heard a buzz at their door, and the news that broke their hearts soon followed.

“I thought it was a package being delivered, but I hadn’t ordered anything,” she said.

“I saw two shadows and I lifted the receiver. They said it was the police, and I thought, ‘OK, well come in’. I thought maybe there was a problem in the building.

“Two French police officers entered our hallway and just said, ‘There's been an accident. Your daughter is dead’.”

John explained: “I was present in the apartment, but I was 20 metres away in a different room.”

Rose added: “They didn't say ‘sit down, we have some bad news to tell you’. Nothing. It was just so brusque and after that, I screamed.

“John came into the hallway, and I said, ‘Emma's dead’ and one of the police officers said to me, ‘Should I call the paramedics for you?’ And I looked at him as if he were a total robot.

“How could he be so inhumane?

“But in comparison, that's why we can say such nice things about the Scottish police. They are so kind, so compassionate, so gentle.

“We’re really amazed at the job that they did and how much they have done for us.”

Glasgow Times: Emma with one of her toys in May 2007Emma with one of her toys in May 2007 (Image: Supplied)The couple also praised hospital staff as well as the road charity Brake, who helped in the aftermath of the hardest day of their lives.

They ended up spending five weeks in Scotland whilst a post-mortem examination was carried out.

Rose said: “It was only after the funeral in March that we went back home. We felt we couldn't leave our daughter. We wanted to be close to her until the funeral.

“It was a long wait, but we couldn't go back to any resemblance of normal life.”

Glasgow Times: Rose and John at Emma's ghost bikeRose and John at Emma's ghost bike (Image: Supplied)

To help keep Emma’s memory alive, a ghost bike was placed at the site of the crash by her friends.

Coincidently, Emma had spotted one in Paris and expressed how she liked the idea to her mum.

“I remembered that and talked with her friends, and they liked the ghost bike idea because they wanted to do something,” Rose said.

“We definitely feel Emma’s presence there.”

Glasgow Times: Rose and John at Emma's ghost bike last yearRose and John at Emma's ghost bike last year (Image: Supplied)Although full of praise for their daughter, describing her as joyful, kind and smart, Rose and John did recall her slightly impatient side.

“She was very quick,” explained John. "And so, you know, if you didn't understand something at the rate that she did, she would be impatient with that.”

Rose laughed and added: “If you mentioned something in the conversation that was said three calls ago, she would say, ‘But mum, I told you about that already. Don't you remember?’”

Despite only living in the country a short while, Emma had already visited the Isle of Mull on a solo cycling adventure and was so excited about discovering more of Scotland.

Glasgow Times: She had planned to spend the summer climbing Munros, Rose revealed.

“We were talking to somebody about grief, and they said your life grows bigger around it,” she said.

“And I think that's a nice metaphor. And so, we hope our lives grow bigger around it. Emma has left a legacy. She’s this very inspirational person who is trying to build better cities and as a person, always had a smile on her face.

“She will always be our baby girl; we cry every day.”

“I often think of how the world might be had she lived,” Rose added.