LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KRON) – A man known as a legend in the bicyclist community was hit by a car Tuesday in Lafayette while riding at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road.
He was taken to the hospital where he later died.
The 86-year-old man was still riding hundreds of miles a week and was a big advocate for sharing the road.
“I never thought that someone would hit him with a car and kill him like that, so it’s been very hard. I just wasn’t ready for this,” Linda Kwong said.
Joe Shami, known for riding at least once a week every week for 10 years up Mount Diablo on his bike, was struck by a car Tuesday morning while riding in Lafayette.
“He had the biggest smile and the friendliest guy,” Alan Kalin said.
Friends of Shami say he was humble, kind, quiet, and an inspiration to all who knew him.
Video shows Shami completing his 500th consecutive ride up to Mount Diablo just a few years ago.
According to the police, the driver who hit Shami is cooperating with the investigation which is still ongoing.
At this time, no arrests have been made.
“It was devastating it was hard to process I still struggle with it,” Kwong said.
Linda Kwong was Shami’s closest friend — She says she was in shock when she learned of the accident.
She says it happened less than a mile from his home. She was with him in the hospital when he passed away.
“He had so much more life in him. He wasn’t even near slowing down. It just tears me apart that, that it was taken away from him,” Kwong said.
Shami’s friends say he was a legendary cyclist in the Bay Area and whether you rode a bike or not, he’d talk to you about his mission to make roads safe for everyone.
He helped to install bike turnouts on Mount Diablo, which helped to reduce collisions on the road significantly.
“I would ask everyone whether you drive or ride a bike or walk, the next time you go up Mt. Diablo and you see a bike turnout, remember Joe Shami,” Kalin said.