Thanks to a Streetsblog Reader, Fallen Cyclist Bobby Cann’s Memorial Sign Is Back in Place

Bobby Cann's October 2013 memorial. Photo: Steven Vance
Bobby Cann's October 2013 memorial. Photo: Steven Vance

In October 2013, dozens of loved ones and friends of fallen cyclist and Groupon Employee Bobby Cann gathered at the intersection of Clybourn and Larrabee to pay their respects. That May Cann, 26, had been struck and killed at the intersection by motorist Ryne San Hamel who was driving roughly twice the speed limit with a blood-alcohol level also about double the legal limit. San Hamel eventually pled guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, but was sentenced to a mere ten days in jail.

During the memorial, one of the Chicago’s brown honorary street signs was installed at the northwest corner of the intersection, declaring it “Honorary Bobby Cann Way.” Google Street View images show that the signs was still in place as recently as July 2018.

In late February a Streetsblog Chicago reader, who commutes daily via the curb-protected bike lanes that were installed on Clybourn in the wake of Cann’s death, contacted us to say the sign was missing. He suspected it might have been removed due to a Chicago ordinance passed in 2017 that causes honorary street signs to “sundown” after five years.

The legislation states:

[An honorary street sign] designation shall expire five years after the date of ordinance passage unless renewed… Once five years has expired the [Chicago] Department of Transportation shall remove the sign. An alderman wishing to renew a design shall propose an ordinance requesting the renewal. the renewal shall be for five years.

Since the tribute to Cann was installed more than five years ago, it was possible that CDOT took it down, but department spokesman Mike Claffey told me that wasn’t the case. “CDOT did not remove it … we had no info on what happened.”

Another possibility was that the sign was removed during a late February filming session on the block for the TV series “Chicago Fire.”

27th Ward alderman Walter Burnett introduced the ordinance for Cann’s sign, and his assistant Reginald Stewart arranged for its installation during the October 2013 memorial. Stewart, who happens to be a former CDOT sign shop worker, told me today that Burnett hadn’t requested the removal. “Somebody probably stole it,” he said, adding that he would ask CDOT to reinstall.

But that wasn’t necessary, though, because earlier today Claffey told me the sign shop had already fabricated a new sign for Cann and installed it on Thursday. “In response to your inquiry, they replaced it,” he said.

The new honorary street sign for Bobby Cann, located at the southeast corner of Clybourn and Larrabee. Photo: Marcus Moore
The new honorary street sign for Bobby Cann, located at the northeast corner of Clybourn and Larrabee. Photo: Marcus Moore

Hopefully it will be a small comfort to Cann’s family and friends to know that, almost six years after his tragic death, the Chicago bike community still cares about keeping his memory alive.


Driver in Bobby Cann Case Hires High-Paid Celebrity Lawyer

Ryne San Hamel, the driver accused of fatally striking bicyclist Bobby Cann while drunk and speeding, has retained attorney Sam Adam Jr., whose previous clients include ex-governor Rod Blagojevich and R&B star R. Kelly. Adam also served on the defense team for Carnell Fitzpatrick, the driver who intentionally ran over and killed Chicago cyclist Thomas […]

Driver Who Killed Bobby Cann Asked Judge For His Mercedes Back

At a September 23 court hearing, Ryne San Hamel, 28, who allegedly struck and killed bicyclist Bobby Cann, 25, while drunk and speeding, requested that the state give him back his impounded Mercedes, according to victim advocate Sharon Johnson. Prior to the hearing, the summary suspension of San Hamel’s driver’s license was rescinded, Johnson said. […]

Hamstrung by IDOT, City Plans Buffered Lanes Where Cann Was Killed

Last Thursday, about a week after the May 29th death of cyclist Robert “Bobby” Cann, killed by an allegedly drunk, speeding driver at Clybourn and Larrabee, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced plans to stripe buffered bike lanes on the entire 3.5-mile length of Clybourn, from Division to Belmont. Construction should start either this week […]