'Ghost Bike' Memorial Planned For Ossining Cyclist

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – A Westchester cycling group plans to place a "Ghost Bike" at the intersection of Chappaqua Road and Tappan Terrace in Briarcliff Manor as a memorial to Jane Shakman.

The Ossining resident was struck by a car and killed on July 8 while crossing the intersection on her bike. Shakman was an avid member of the Westchester Cycle Club and the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester and Putnam, and contributed to several events with the biking groups over the years. Alliance members say the memorial will  honor Shakman and remind drivers to be aware of cyclists.

“It’s a bike that is painted completely white with a plaque of the date of the accident, and it serves as a memorial, but it also makes motorists aware of what happened there,” said Michael Oliva, co-founder of the Bike Walk Alliance. “I think it’s important for people to remember Jane and to remember this tragedy of what can occur.”

The Alliance put up its first Ghost Bike in Westchester last year to honor Merrill Cassell, who was killed on Route 119 near the Westchester County Center on Nov. 9, 2009. Oliva said the group plans to place a Ghost Bike on Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow for Luis Zhizhpon, who was killed on June 25 while riding his bike home from Briarcliff Manor’s Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant.

“These are serious tragedies, not accidents, because they could have been prevented,” Oliva said. “What we need are safe streets. Even if you have a massive enforcement policy, where cars are going it’s not going to help as much as safer streets.”

Police say Shakman was struck by a an "inattentive" driver, 26-year-old Briarcliff Manor resident Valerie Naber. Naber was charged with operating a vehicle while having a suspended license, not having a license on her and driving an uninspected vehicle. Police say they expect to file more serious charges at a later date.

David Wilson, advocacy director for the Westchester Cycle Club, said he was a good friend of Shakman’s and is hopeful more changes will be made to make streets in Westchester safer.

“We believe our public roads can be shared between motorists and cyclists and that it can be done safely if all parties obey the law,” Wilson said, adding that he has not heard of further charges being filed against Naber. “We’re hoping that the investigation leads to further charges. But we’re still waiting for charges in (Zhizhpon’s) case and we’re still waiting for charges to be filed in other cases.”

Briarcliff Manor Police were not immediately available for an update.

“It’s time for motorists to be held accountable for killing people who were legally on the road and riding their bikes,” Wilson said. “It’s a really sad tragedy and it really does make me angry. So we’re hoping there will be some justice in this killing.” 

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