Briarcliff SPCA Bench Honors Killed Ossining Cyclist

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The family of Jane Shakman honored the late Ossining cyclist's memory recently by donating a memorial bench to the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Ossining’s Jane Shakman loved cycling and animals, and those closest to her hope that a new memorial at the SPCA of Westchester will mean she is well-remembered for both.

The 62-year-old was killed riding her bike in July along Chappaqua Road when she was hit by a 2003 Honda, driven by 26-year-old Briarcliff Manor resident Valerie Naber, at the intersection of Chappaqua Road and Tappan Terrace.

When she wasn’t on a bike ride, Shakman often stood outside and greeted people as a volunteer near the entrance of the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor. In honor of her dedication and spirit, family members recently donated a memorial bench at Shakman’s post for all future volunteers working outside of the building to enjoy.

Alice Shanahan, SPCA of Westchester volunteer coordinator, said an official memorial ceremony is being planned for spring.

“We miss her so much,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “It’s a wonderful memorial to her. She was one of our great volunteers and worked with everyone who came in. The bench is part of our memory garden and right where she used to stand to greet people, so it’s especially nice that we will always remember her right there.”

Shakman spent several years helping organize events with the Westchester Cycle Club and the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester and Putnam. The two organizations planned to honor Shakman’s memory with a “Ghost Bike” at the site where she was struck along Chappaqua Road and Tappan Terrace, but organizers said Wednesday that will no longer happen.

“We reached out to Jane’s family for permission and they asked that we not go forward with it because it would be too difficult to see the bike there every day,” said Michael Oliva, co-founder of the Bike Walk Alliance.

Oliva added that the ghost bikes typically serve as a reminder to residents of cyclists on the road.

“I think it’s great that we honored her for giving back to the community with the bench," he said. "I hope there is another way we can also raise awareness for bicycle and pedestrian safety as well. I think it's important that we do what we can to remind drivers that there are other people on the roads also so we will always be looking for ways to do that too.”

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