Friday, October 8, 2010

Remembering Jeff Littmann, a champion of bicycling

jeff littmannOn Tuesday, October 5, Jeff Littmann became the eighth bicyclist this year to die from injuries received in a bike-car crash in Wisconsin. As a road racer, owner of Attitude Sports in Pewaukee and president of the Wisconsin Cycling Association, Jeff was a tireless ambassador for bicycling. He mentored many competitive cyclists and is greatly missed by those who knew him.

A service for Jeff will be held this Saturday, October 9, at Nativity of the Lord, 3672 E Plankinton Ave., Cudahy, Wis. Visitation is from 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m., and the service begins at 1:00 p.m.

We have heard from many of Jeff's friends in the past few days who want something good to come out of this tragedy. Here are some steps you can take to commemorate Jeff and make Wisconsin's roads better for everyone:

  • Donate to the Littmann family collegiate cycling scholarship fund. Jeff's family will be setting up a collegiate cycling scholarship fund in Jeff's memory. We will post more details to our website when they become available.

  • Understand the rules of the road and educate others. The Share & Be Aware section of our website has lots of information about avoiding bike-car collisions, from both driving and bicycling perspectives. Click on the Facebook or Twitter icons on our Share & Be Aware pages to share the information with your social networks. (We also regularly post safety tips to our Facebook and Twitter accounts.)

  • Support complete streets. Thanks to the efforts of our members, Wisconsin enacted a law in 2009 that requires new and reconstructed roads that receive state funds to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians – for example, with wider shoulders on state highways. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is holding a series of workshops around the state about the new law, with three coming up in Waukesha, Eau Claire and Green Bay. Attend a workshop to learn about complete streets and how they can make roads safer for all of us.

  • Take a road safety class. The League of American Bicyclists has certified a number of Wisconsinites to teach bicyclist safety classes geared toward a variety of audiences, including motorists, bicyclists and commercial drivers. Please contact us to find a League Cycling Instructor in your area.

We also want to do our part to honor Jeff. The Bike Fed will soon receive funding to dramatically expand our Share & Be Aware program to educate drivers, bicyclists and law enforcement about sharing the road. Our policy, road planning and Safe Routes to School programs are additional strategies for improving the environment for bicycling in Wisconsin.

Over the past few decades, Wisconsin's roads have become safer as the rate of fatal car-bike crashes has dropped significantly. But that doesn't diminish the tragedy of Jeff's death or of the deaths of the seven others who were killed this year while riding their bikes in our state. We can't bring those lives back, but we can work together to prevent future tragedies.

We will celebrate Jeff's legacy by continuing our work to make Wisconsin's roads safer for everyone.

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