Bicyclists in Wisconsin have responded to two fatalities in recent weeks by riding, remembering and reminding.
“Our lives today move very fast,” Kevin Hardman, executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, wrote in a piece inspired by the tragedies.
“But when driving an automobile, our responsibility demands that we carefully watch for others. Please be patient when you’re behind the wheel. Your family, your friends and your neighbors are just around the corner.”
In the recent cases, those neighbors were a mother and a father and leaders among their cycling groups.
Troy Tousey, 48, was killed on June 6 when a car hit him from behind on Highway Y, a few miles north of Sheboygan. Tousey was near the back of a group on an evening ride when he died, becoming the second bicyclist killed in Wisconsin in two weeks.
His obituary brings home Hardman’s point: that those bicyclists aren’t just anonymous figures in shorts and jerseys, but husbands and wives, sons and daughters.
“Troy loved the outdoors and was an avid snowboarder when in Colorado.
“His summers were spent putting thousands of miles on his bicycle. He was a bicycle trainer for Maywood Environmental Park and most Wednesdays and Saturdays he could be found riding with his friends here in Sheboygan.
“Troy and his family had recently returned from their dream vacation where they visited France, Belgium, Holland and Spain.
“Troy enjoyed taking his son Tate to Packer Games. On a summer evening, Troy enjoyed hosting house concerts in his backyard surrounded by his Michigan Avenue friends and neighbors. He took great pride in cheering on his twins at their first triathalon. Troy was vice-president of the Etude Group Governing Board, which is part of the Sheboygan Area School District.”
The same week that Tousey was killed, Hardman traveled to Wausau to join friends of Tammy Gass in a memorial ride to honor the 44-year-old killed near Mosinee. Like Tousey, she was hit from behind by a motorist who failed to avoid her on a county highway.
Both Tousey and Gass were riding in a proper and legal fashion, according to the initial police reports.
Gass’ first husband, Gregg Bednorski, also was killed while bicycling. Four years ago, he crashed into a truck parked on Highway KK, the same highway on which Gass died. She left behind a new husband, four children and a group of cycling friends.
“During our ride, Tammy’s friends shared their sorrow at the loss of their friend,” he wrote. “Many of them told me that Tammy would want something good to emerge from this tragedy, and that she would want everyone to continue riding their bicycles. Her friends told me their view that all road users need to share the road and that all road users need to show more respect for others than they do now.”