Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 31st, 2008 at 10:19 am
(Photo: The Jane Higdon Foundation)
The trucking company involved in the death of Jane Higdon in Eugene in May of 2006 has agreed to donate $1 million over 20 years to a memorial fund founded in her name.
Also reported by KVAL is this interesting fact:
“Over the past year, Ireland Trucking has sponsored research into the best ways of using the money to prevent similar accidents. The study’s tentative conclusion is that more staffing is needed to make sure that money dedicated to bike paths and bike lanes is maximized.”
This donation — which was an out-of-court settlement, “to resolve issues…without assigning legal fault” — is just the latest way that Higdon’s tragic death has impacted Oregon’s biking landscape. In addition to this $1 million donation, her death is part of what sparked Senator Floyd Prozanski (a close friend of Higdon’s) to support a safe passing law (which passed last session) and the creation of Oregon’s new Share the Road license plate.
In addition to the work of Senator Prozanski, Higdon’s husband Tom Jefferson has also been crucial in the effort to bring positive change in the wake of her death. In a speech during the 2007 Oregon Bicycle Summit, Jefferson said:
“We can’t leave this conference and go back to our silos…we must stick together and build coalitions. We all have the vision, so now let’s go out and do it.”
In Portland, the family of Brett Jarolimek filed a lawsuit against the driver of the garbage truck that hit and killed him in October of last year. In the Jarolimek tragedy, like the Higdon case, no legal charges were brought against the driver.