Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tragedy in Chicago

Well the logic board on my laptop crapped out. Apple care was a worthwhile investment. So I've been unable to write for a while and we were away shooting an episode of our new television show: "Babylon by Bike." We had a great time in Boston. More info coming soon.

Meanwhile tragedy strikes in Chicago which is going to be the home of the North American Cycle Courier Championships.

A young cyclist was killed during a race series.

Matthew Manger-Lynch, (29)

was struck and killed by an SUV while he was racing in a local race series called: "The Tour of Chicago." Yes, this was an unofficial race and may be one of the first people killed in this type of event.
A flyer from 2006.

More details are in this article from the Chicago Tribune, written by: Karoun Demirjian

Here is an eye-witness account:

On the second stretch of the ride today, i was in the front pack, which was about 15-20 people. a fellow whom i'd only met that morning, a young guy named matt, passed me on the left, ... two blocks later, our pack was approaching a huge 5-way intersection (lincoln/irvingpark/damen), matt was in front. i was maybe 20-30 feet behind him, with a couple riders between us. matt proceeded into the intersection, probably assuming he could dodge traffic or (as had happened up until then that day), stop traffic dead, as they usually see a pack of unruly bikers and stop for us, not knowing what else to do. this time, in this intersection, that didn't happen. a GMC suburban SUV was coming from the right too fast - matt tried to swerve to miss it, but couldn't. i watched in horror as the suv plowed right over him and his bike, wheels rolling right over both. the vehicle pulled over at the side of the road; matt lay in the middle of the enormous intersection, bleeding, not moving. the other riders stopped traffic, and gathered on the sidewalk at the other side of the intersection. i called an ambulance. we didn't know if he was conscious or not - i tried, with the help of another rider (nico), to talk to him, shouting at him to stay awake, to stay with us, to hang on, to fight. there was so much blood. his helmet was fucked on the front and the back, indicating that the wheel had likely impacted his head. he convulsed a bit, never opening his eyes, never responding to our cries. i now realize he was certainly unconscious during this time. police arrived quickly (we had passed two of them a few blocks before), and shortly afterwards a firetruck and then an ambulance. they took over dealing with him, put him on a stretcher and into the ambulance. the police kept asking everyone around if we knew him. no one did. a few knew his name, and gave it to them. no one seemed to know him personally. we tried to find any info we could about his contacts, his phone, his family. others were somewhat successful later.
we gave our names, and after much official delay, a few rode on to the hospital, and most of us went back to one of the rider's houses (stan + rachels). we waited for info. when it finally came, we were told he was pronounced dead on the scene. his wife had been found and had made it to the hospital. i can only imagine how she feels. my deepest condolences go out to his wife and family.
the scene of the accident plays over and over in my head. i don't know exactly at what point he died. i'm leaving the house now again, and heading directly to a bike shop to purchase a helmet.

Matthew is remembered on this blog


Blogger erik k said...

That is just terrible, I hope people think of Matt the next time they wasn't to run a red light without looking. And as much as a hate SUVs, I kind of feel bad for the driver who was in this instance obeying the law, and will likely be tormented by this for the rest of their life. My deepest condolences to Mathews family

2:46 PM  

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