The cycling community had a devastating tragedy on Friday, 17 December 2010. On an overnight ride around the island of Oahu with 30-40 other cyclists, a friend, Zachary Manago, was killed by a hit-and-run driver at 11:10pm. Though he only began riding this year, Zach was extremely enthusiastic about cycling and had a great positive attitude and a smile that was contagious. The cycling community in Hawaii is an extremely tight-knit group, so everyone who knew or did not know Zach was affected in some way by this incident. Though he was only 18, his network of friends and supporters was massive, as displayed by the turnouts at his memorial events and the nearly 1900 people that have joined the “R.I.P. Zachary Manago” facebook page.
In memory of Zach, the weekly Tuesday Night Ride on the 21st was dedicated to him.. aptly renaming it ZNR or Zachary Night Ride. Over 90 people showed up on bicycles to ride the weekly route that he was so enthusiastic about attending every week and where he gained close friends in the cycling community. A video of the ride can be viewed here. (Photo: Mark Misusawa)
On the 23rd, a ghostbike was implemented at the scene of the accident. Family and friends from Zach’s many aspects of life were present, leaving flowers and mementos for their fallen friend. (Photos: Colin Waki)
This tragedy had a phenomenal occurrence. Because it was a hit-and-run, the driver of the vehicle was not identified. Friends cycling with Zach recalled seeing a white SUV or pickup truck that they suspected was the vehicle involved in the crash. A few bike friends took the initiative to search for the vehicle in the area. One thing about living on an island: vehicles and people can’t hide for too long. By an amazing stroke of luck, friends located the vehicle in a covered carpark with evidence of the crash still intact on the SUV. Since it had been raining, the evidence may have washed away if it was not in a covered stall, and police made an arrest following this find. Unfortunately, the suspect was released pending further investigation, but all are hopeful that things will work out and the driver will get charged with negligent homicide and failure to render aid.
One of the most amazing things about the incident is that people are moving on knowing he is still present, laughing like he is hanging out with them and commenting on his facebook page knowing he is getting the messages and writing back to them. At the memorial, people felt that they were just so blessed to have had Zach around for 18 years, and that his presence is still felt amongst them.
I have never felt so honored and privileged to be amongst such a great group of friends, and I’m sure Zach felt the same way. Rest fully in peace Zach, as friends are looking out for you. Ride in Paradise.