Did You Know?

People walking are five times as likely to be killed by a driver traveling 30 mph as one going 20 mph.

Celebrate Bobby Cann’s life

In Chicago there are on average 12 people killed each year while biking. There are almost 40 people killed each year while walking, 86 percent of them while in crosswalks.


Photo of Bobby Cann courtesy of Groupon 

Those numbers go up around the region in suburban communities where people are killed on high-speed, high-traffic arterials.

There are more people bicycling now than ever before. And as more people bike, it should continue to be safer and safer to do so.

But in my eight years working with Active Trans, I have experienced too much death. I believe that fatal crashes and injuries are preventable in almost all cases as the result of choices we make to keep other people safe while we are getting around.

I vividly remember biking to 87th and Racine years ago to visit a grieving family, who had lost their four-year-old “Lil Man” to a speeding driver. They were people, just like me and you, who wouldn’t be able to see their little boy grow up.

There are news reports almost daily of people around the region who are killed or severely injured while they are walking or biking. A man in Bronzeville, a woman in Naperville, a child here, a child there, the list goes on and on.

When will it stop? When will our culture shift to respecting and protecting the most vulnerable — those people who legally and rightfully deserve it the most? The elderly, our children, people with disabilities, people who are walking or biking.

I didn’t know Bobby Cann, the 26-year-old man who was killed last week while biking. But I probably would have liked him a lot based on how his family and friends talk about his life.

Over the years, I’ve had thousands of conversations or salutations with strangers on bikes as we were stopped at lights or giving each other “the nod” as we pass each other in the middle of winter. I bet Bobby experienced that too and relished those moments of human interaction as much as I do.

We can only hope that Bobby’s family and friends celebrate his wonderful life and impact on their lives. We can hope that some good comes from a tragedy like Bobby’s death.

“For Bobby – A Friend & Cyclist” is the headline on the Groupon (where Bobby worked) that is beautifully written by his girlfriend — also a Groupon employee. The deal is a $10 donation to Active Trans’ Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign that mobilizes people around Chicago to push for more protected bike lanes that make it safer for people who are biking, and also walking and driving.

Bobby’s family is honoring him with a memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Rooftop Terrace in Millennium Park. Anyone from the bicycling community is welcome to attend. Afterward, there will be a gathering for Bobby’s family and friends.

Let’s celebrate Bobby’s life and extend the good light he brought to the world. Bobby, my next ride is for you.