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While the Chicago region’s population grew by 18 percent since 1980, the traffic increased by 66 percent in the same period.

Memorial road sign unveiled for Bobby Cann

Last Friday afternoon at the intersection of Larrabee Ave. and Clybourn Ave., friends, family and supporters gathered to celebrate the life of Robert “Bobby” Cann and see the unveiling of a portion of Clybourn as “Honorary Bobby Cann Way.”/

Bobby Cann, a 26-year old who was passionate about cycling, was struck and killed by a driver near that intersection on May 29. The driver, Ryne Sam Hamel, has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI resulting in death.

The event began with supporters gathering around the roadside memorial for Cann that was constructed along Clybourn shortly after his death. People placed new flowers and photos next to those already hanging from a section of chain link fence.

Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr. of the 27th Ward said a few words, followed by Ron Burke, the executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, and Bobby Cann’s mother, Maria.

/“Bobby’s tragedy reminds us that we still have a long way to go,” said Burke. “Bobby was a model of how to get around on a bike. His life was cut way too short.” Burke called for the construction of better bike lanes and barrier-protected bike lanes, along with a better focus on education and enforcement of the rules of using streets and sidewalks.

Maria Cann asked people to help spread the word about the dangers of drinking and driving. “We can challenge that culture by speaking up and taking action,” she said. She told people they could go to to learn more and get involved, adding that “just making the small positive change of living every day with energy, enthusiasm, curiosity, and sense of adventure is enough to keep Bobby’s legacy alive.”/

The audience applauded when Ald. Burnett announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation would finally allow a barrier-protected bike lane to be built on Clybourn. The state controls a number of streets in the city and has so far been unwilling to allow barrier-protected bike lanes to be built on any of them. “This is the first step for many other streets to come,” said Burnett.

After the honorary road sign was unveiled, supporters placed more flowers and pictures at the memorial.