Safe Routes to School pioneer Deb Hubsmith has passed away

Safe Routes to School pioneer Deb Hubsmith has passed away

Safe Routes conference VIP ride-59

Deb Hubsmith in Portland in 2009 attending the
Safe Routes to School National Conference.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Deb Hubsmith, the person widely credited with establishing the Safe Routes to School program in America, has died. She was 45 years old.

Hubsmith was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2013 and passed away yesterday at her home in Marin, California.

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I met and spoke with Deb several times over the years. I’d run into her at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. and we connected when she came to Portland for the Safe Routes to School Conference in 2009. She was without question the most polished and powerful advocate for cycling I’ve ever met. What I admired most about Deb was her sheer confidence in the cause. She could look a Senator in the eye and ask for $500 million like it was small talk. We need more people like her in the national bike movement.

National Bike Summit 2010 - Lobby Day-20

Deb was a powerful bike lobbyist.
Here she is in 2010 on Capitol Hill.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
National Bike Summit 07

Deb and one of her biggest allies in Washington,
former U.S. House Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2007.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Deb has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of students and families who have benefited from her work to make it easier to walk and bike to school. She was an inspiration and her work left an indelible mark America. Our thoughts are with Deb’s family and friends. May she rest in peace.

Below is a video honoring Deb’s life and work that was produced by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (the organization she founded and led for nine years) and was shown at the 2015 National Bike Summit:

— Read more about Deb’s passing at SafeRoutesPartnership.org.


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