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Bike Crashes

John Kezdy, 64, singer of The Effigies, died after bike crash with delivery van stopped in bike lane

According to police, Kezdy was biking north on Sheridan Road in Glencoe when he collided with the vehicle.

2:11 PM CDT on August 27, 2023

John Kezdy, right, with The Effigies in 1982. Photo via Wikipedia

Update 8/29, 11:45 AM: This morning Glencoe deputy police chief Andrew Perley told Streetsblog that video of the crash shows that John Kezdy did not hit the brakes, continued pedaling, and did not swerve to avoid the van stopped in the bike lane before striking it, as reported yesterday afternoon by the Sun-Times. Perley also told us that the video, from a security camera on a private residence, does not show any other vehicles that may have been a factor in the crash. He noted that the temperature hit 98 degrees Fahrenheit in Glencoe that day and speculated that the heat may have been a factor in the crash.

Still, if the delivery driver had not blocked the bike lane, Kezdy probably would still be alive.

Update 8/28, 2:45 PM: Streetsblog Chicago has viewed the initial crash report for the case, which lists the van owner as a Morton Grove-based home delivery LLC. An image on the report shows that the crash took place north of the South Avenue / Sheridan Road intersection. While the Glencoe Public Safety Department has previously released a short statement with the basic facts of the fact, there is no additional narrative on the crash report, but it simply says, "See [North Regional Major Crash Assistance Team] report #23-19."

Glencoe deputy chief of police Andrew Perley told Streetsblog that this report may take up to 90 days to prepare, as the team investigates issues like how fast the involved vehicle operators were traveling. However, Perly said that the delivery driver was stopped for a significant amount of time before John Kezdy struck it, rather than the crash being caused by the driver quickly pulling into the path of the bike rider.

"The van occupant was sorting through packages in the back of the vehicle," Perley said. He confirmed that these were deliveries for Amazon. "The vehicle was not 'parked.' It was 'stopped,' according to what the state definition of 'parked' is." He said the vehicle's four-way flashers were on at the time.

Update 8/28, 8:30 AM: The Record North Shore reports that Glencoe deputy chief of police Andrew Perley told them "certain vehicles are permitted to temporarily park in the bike lanes. Exactly where the truck was parked remains under investigation." The Streetsblog article has been edited accordingly.

However, whether or not it was technically legal for the driver to park in the bike lane, Kezdy is at least the second person on a bike, also including Lily Shambrook, 3, to have died due to a commercial vehicle parked in a bike lane in the Chicago area in less than 15 months. This suggests that it *shouldn't* have been legal.

Image of the collision location from the crash report. We've removed the address of the house and an image of the fallen cyclist.

Sadly, the Chicago punk rock community has lost a key member to a bike crash. On Saturday morning John Kezdy, 64, the singer for the The Effigies, founded in 1980, and an attorney, died from injuries sustained after a collision with a delivery van stopped in a bike lane Wednesday afternoon in north-suburban Glencoe.

According a statement from the Glencoe Public Safety Department, on Wednesday, August 23, at around 4:15 p.m., police responded to a crash between Kezdy and the stopped van.

The cyclist struck the back of the van, the statement said. "Based on the initial investigation, the bicyclist was traveling northbound on Sheridan Road past South Avenue when he struck the rear of a stopped Dodge Ram ProMaster." This stretch of Sheridan has non-protected curbside bike lanes.

Patch reported that the van was an "Amazon" "delivery van" "parked in the bike lane near the intersection with South Avenue."

Kezdy reportedly struck the van stopped in the bike lane on the east side of Sheridan Road, just north of South Avenue. Image: Google Maps

Kezdy was treated "with lifesaving measures" and taken to Evanston Hospital in critical condition, according to the GPSD statement. He was pronounced dead on Saturday, August 26, at 10:05 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The van driver stayed at the scene, the statement said. A representative of the Glencoe Public Safety Department told Streetsblog they did not have information about whether the motorist had been cited for blocking the bike lane. The North Regional Major Crash Assistance Team is investigating the case.

Sheridan Road at South Avenue looking north. The van was stopped on Sheridan near South when Kezdy collided with it, police say. This stretch of Sheridan has curbside non-protected bike lanes. Image: Google Maps

In a tragic irony, Kezdy and his wife Erica Weeder, who lived in nearby Highland Park, survived being injured in the 2022 mass shooting at that suburb's Fourth of July parade, only for Kezdy to lose his life in the crash the next year, according to a source close to the case who requested anonymity. "He was in great shape. He was an athletic cyclist, training for races."

A recent photo of John Kezdy.

According to his obituary, Kezdy graduated from Evanston Township High School and attended the University of Wisconsin for one year before becoming singer for The Effigies. The group was part of a wave of 1980s Chicago punk bands including Strike Under, Bloodsport, Big Black, and Naked Raygun. (John Kezdy's younger brother Pierre Kezdy, who died of cancer in October 2020, played bass in Strike Under and Naked Raygun.) ''We were a bunch of bands with a basic, gut-level sound and no pretension: Brains, brawn, guitars, melodies... that's the essence of the Chicago sound that started in the early '80s,'' John Kezdy told the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot in 1990.

After earning degrees from Northwestern University and DePaul College of Law, John Kezdy worked as a prosecutor with the Illinois State's Attorney Office in Kankakee and bureau chief of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the obituary states. He retired last year from the Attorney General's office but continued to do part-time legal work. Kezdy and Weeder were married for 24 years and had two children.

"The family is considering holding an October mass at Christ Our Hope Parish in Highland Park," said Russ Henrichsen from Inclusive Funeral Care, which is handling his funeral arrangements. "Mr. Kezdy's spirituality was deeply Catholic. He served as an usher there."

Read the the 1990 Tribune interview with John Kezdy here.

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