Joshua Anleu was like many Portage Park teens: he liked going to the mall with friends, listening to rap music, and most importantly, riding his bike.
His uncle David Sanchez said Joshua’s pink bicycle was his “most prized possession.”
“It was his way of doing something that felt free,” Sanchez said.
A month ago, the 16-year-old was killed when a driver — who was later cited for failure to exercise due care to a pedestrian in the roadway — hit him while he was biking just a few blocks from home.
More than 80 people, including family and other cyclists, came together Saturday afternoon for a ghost bike ceremony — leaving a white bike in memorial to a killed cyclist — at the intersection where Anleu was hit.
The ghost bike presented for Anleu had a pink midsection in honor of his beloved two-wheeler.
Anleu was biking in the 5300 block of West Waveland Avenue about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 when the driver hit him after claiming to have stopped at a stop sign — though his mother has told the Sun-Times she doesn’t believe that version of events. Police officials say their investigation is ongoing.
“Basic physics shows that was not the case,” said Christina Whitehouse of Bike Lane Uprising, who organized the vigil.
The boy, who turned 16 a week before the collision, was taken to Stroger Hospital after receiving chest compressions from a bystander. He died two days later.
With the holidays coming up, Anleu’s uncle said the teen had asked for a bike helmet and a sewing machine so he could start making his own clothes. The teen had aspired to design his own clothes because “there were no real good clothes for guys,” he’d tell his uncle.
Anleu had even helped his 6-year-old brother find a style.
“That was his hero,” said Rogelio Arreola, the late teen’s stepfather. “He didn’t like an outfit unless he told him, ‘You got the drip, lil’ man.’”
Arreola said he’s changed the way he drives since the crash.
“I sit at these stop signs longer now,” Arreola said. “We just need to do better as drivers.”
Ald. Ruth Cruz (30th) told the crowd at the vigil that she had been in talks with the city to potentially install speed bumps or a traffic circle at the intersection where the crash happened. Cruz said she wanted to be “proactive, not reactive” when taking on dangers to cyclists in the future.
The city has averaged about five cyclist-involved crashes per day, with 1,600 happening in so far this year — a quarter of which were hit-and-runs, according to a WBEZ analysis.
Anleu’s relatives set up a GoFundMe to help the family with funeral costs.
Contributing: Sophie Sherry