Family, friends, local leaders seek change after 16-year-old biker killed in Portage Park crash

'My life will never be the same': Karen Buendia, Joshua Anleu's mother

ByRob Hughes WLS logo
Sunday, November 5, 2023
Family, local leaders seek change after teen biker killed on NW Side
A ghost bike vigil was held near Long and Waveland avenues for Joshua Anleu, a 16-year-old biker killed in Portage Park, Chicago crash.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Family, friends and local leaders gathered to honor the memory of a 16-year old boy who was killed while riding his bike.

A driver hit Joshua Anleu while he was biking in Chicago's Portage Park. Bike Lane Uprising paid tribute with a ghost bike vigil near Long and Waveland avenues on Saturday.

SEE ALSO | Suspect released without charges after bicyclist killed in Ravenswood hit-and-run, police say

Anleu's mother, Karen Buendia, said she couldn't speak at her son's funeral. It was too difficult. But, she wanted to speak now for all of the other children in the neighborhood.

"I'm so glad he was my son. He was the best thing that ever happened in my life," Buendia said. "That was his freedom, his hobby, his bike."

Anleu was hit and killed near a stop sign last month. The driver was cited, but no charges have been filed. Police said the incident remains under investigation.

Natalie Toro, the new state senator for the 20th District, joined other local leaders in attendance to condemn the tragic trend.

"Our system has failed to prioritize pedestrian safety," Toro said. "Around Cook County alone, there have been at least two others who have died in cycling-related accidents in just the past three weeks. This is a public safety threat to our community, and we must address it now."

While Toro and others called for better biking infrastructure, more signage and even a change in traffic patterns, Anleu's mother believes drivers are responsible for making the biggest change.

READ MORE | Family of Chicago toddler killed in bike lane incident sues city, other parties involved

"We, the drivers, we don't care. We still don't care about other people," Buendia said.

Buendia said until drivers do care, lives like her son's will be lost.

"My life will never be the same," Buendia said.