Street Named in Honor of Fallen Cyclist

A ghost bike stands on North Clybourn, where a 26-year old cyclist was killed earlier this year by a drunk driver.

On Friday, friends and acquaintances joined Robert "Bobby" Cann's family at Clybourn and Larabee, where the city unveiled a street sign in his honor.

And it was only appropriate they came on their bikes.

“Bobby had a really bright spirit, everyone liked him,” said friend Jill Klosterman. “There wasn’t anyone in the world who didn’t feel the love coming off of him.”

Cann was killed in May in the 1300 block of North Clybourn Avenue in Old Town after a Mercedes sedan struck him while he was riding his bike.

The driver, Ryne San Hamel, 28, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence involving a death, reckless homicide and other misdemeanor charges, police said.

San Hamel failed a sobriety test, had a blood alcohol content of .127, and was going 50 mph-- 20 mph over the area's speed limit, according to prosecutors.

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said the corner of Clybourn and Larabee was dedicated to him “so that people on both sides- the two wheelers and the four wheelers- be cognizant of each other.”

Cann was a fixture in the city’s culture, a community where his mother says he felt at home.

“He loved biking because it was just fun,” said Maria Cann. “He also loved biking because the biking community was important to him.”

Cann’s death has been a rallying point for cyclists, who dedicated this year’s critical mass ride in his honor.

“Bobby was a proponent of safe cycling,” said Ron Burke of the Active Transportation Alliance. “He was a model for how to get around on a bike, yet his life was cut way too short by a drunk driver.”

Cann’s family handed out flowers to the dozens who turned out for the dedication ceremony, flowers they later placed in a fence memorializing a rider who raised awareness about bike safety.

“Bobby was funny, energetic, always moving, always looking ahead to see what was the next thing he could accomplish,” his mother said.

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