At Memorial for Bobby Cann, Word That IDOT Will Allow Protected Bike Lane

More than 75 people stood at Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street this afternoon to see the unveiling of Honorary Bobby Cann Way.

Cann was riding his bike near the site on May 29, when he was struck and killed by Ryne San Hamel, driving drunk with a BAC of 0.127. This section of Clybourn is ideal for a protected bike lane, but since it is a state-controlled road and the Illinois DOT had prohibited protected bike lanes in its jurisdiction until it receives three years of “safety data,” CDOT installed a buffered bike lane on the majority of Clybourn this year instead.

Honorary Bobby Cann Way ceremony
Dozens gather at Clybourn and Larrabee.

Alderman Walter Burnett of the 27th Ward obtained the street name designation from City Council in September, and today he surprised the crowd when he said that Clybourn would be the first street in Chicago under Illinois state jurisdiction to receive a protected bike lane. He did not specify which segment would receive the redesign. However, this summer CDOT said it was negotiating with IDOT about how to redesign the untreated stretch between North Avenue and Division Street.

“Protected bike lanes have a long track record of making streets safer for everyone — pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists alike,” said Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke in a statement. “It’s fitting that the lane be installed on Clybourn where Bobby was killed and where cars too often drive fast.”

Honorary Bobby Cann Way ceremony
Bobby's family and friends place flowers on the fence near where he died.

Bobby’s mother, Maria Cann, said that “no law or infrastructure change can ever make it safe to share the road with intoxicated drivers. We can challenge that culture.” She asked that people get involved to change the culture, and stop people you know from getting into a car if they’ve drank too much. She highlighted a new website – Ride On Bobby – that has information and links to resources about how people can get involved to promote cycling in Chicago, which Bobby did with his peers, and includes eulogies and information about drunk driving-related laws in the state.

  • Anonymous

    “She asked that people get involved to change the culture, and stop people you know from getting into a car if they’ve drank too much.”

    I hate to say it, but this approach has hit its natural limit. People are aware, but some portion of the population will simply never give a shit. You cant fix stupid. I honestly dont know what the solution is at this point other than some kind of shock-and-awe-type punishment, like a 15 year mandatory minimum. Sadly, that probably wouldn’t even do anything. Depressing.

    Steven thanks for covering this.

  • Chris

    While IDOT needlessly advanced an asinine policy, I think it’s important this the Chicago cycling community, and Streetsblog as a conduit for the community, celebrates this decision and expresses hope for a future where the State is a partner for active transportation in Illinois.

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