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"An angel on earth": Parents, friends, teammates remember Madden McKean, who died in bike fall

Community grieves 13-year-old boy who died after falling off bike
Community grieves 13-year-old boy who died after falling off bike 02:18

FARMINGTON, Minn. -- Joe McKean wouldn't sit down to talk about his son unless he wore his son's favorite pullover and held his favorite basketball.

"I definitely feel like I'm holding on to a love of his," McKean lamented to WCCO News. "He had so many passions and love, and basketball was definitely one of them. Madden - he was truly an angel on Earth."

Madden McKean, 13, died on May 27 after falling off his bike two blocks away from his mother's house in Farmington. According to police, McKean hit his head from the fall; first responders were unable to resuscitate him.

"I continue to learn every day what he was made of and what he did for others," McKean explained. "It's truly astonishing to me. The kids who struggle, who aren't in sports, who get picked on, those are the ones that we're hearing stories from that he would always talk to him once a day. Say hit to them at lunch. Make a funny face to make them smile."

A makeshift memorial sits at the site of Madden's death. It's just one of many tributes materializing across the community among family, friends and teammates.

"I would describe him as a nice, caring kid. He was always there for me when I needed him to be," Brennan Sytsma, one of Madden's closest friends, told WCCO News. "He wouldn't want you to cry he would want you to be happy when you hang out with everyone. He would want you to be nice to everybody."

Brayden Cole, who played golf with Madden, vowed to continue celebrating Madden's birthday.

"I'm always going to be posting stuff, like whenever there's a beautiful sky, and say thanks because he's up there making it better," Cole added.

"I just want to be kind like he was to everybody else," Cayden Olson, another close friend, vowed.

Bike Safety Tips

The Minnesota Safety Council urges all bike riders to wear helmets, which it describes as the "single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes."

On its website, the council also offers several tips related to fitting a helmet and maintaining safety on the roads:

Proper Fit

  • The helmet should fit snugly and feel comfortable. It should be positioned to cover as much of the head as possible, including the forehead. Always buckle the chin straps. Look for D-rings or a quality buckle that cannot be opened or easily bent or broken. Use the dial turn ring or foam pads that come with the helmet to insure a proper fit.
  • Children should always wear a helmet when riding. Children's heads vary widely in shape and size; pay attention to fit and use the foam pads as needed. A properly fitted helmet should rest level on the top of the head. The rim must be level from front to back. It should fit securely when the strap is fastened, with enough space to put one finger between the child's chin and the helmet buckle.

Safety Tips

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Ride on the right, with the flow of traffic.
  • Be alert for road hazards.
  • Use hand signals.
  • Lock your bike.
  • Don't allow children to ride at night.
  • Watch for cars in driveways and alleys.
  • Use caution in wet weather and fog conditions.
  • Maintain your bike.
  • Be considerate to other bicyclists, pedestrians and motorized vehicles.

Helmet Care

  • Be careful of using paint and stickers on a helmet. They may damage your helmet.
  • Clean your helmet with gentle soap and water. Don't use abrasive cleaners.
  • Replace any helmet after you crash. Impact may crush the styrofoam. Replace the buckle if it cracks or if any pieces break off.


  • It doesn't matter what kind of helmet I wear.
    An ASTM, SNELL or CPSC approved helmet has passed crash testing, certifying it will protect the bicyclist in the event of a crash. Don't wear a helmet that hasn't passed the standards.
  • Only children need to wear helmets.
    Anyone can be seriously hurt in a bicycle crash, especially adults who are often riding at faster speeds on busy roads. Adults are role models for children. Always wear a helmet no matter how old you are.
  • I ride mostly on paths or trails, so do I need to wear a helmet?
    Most crashes occur on paths and trails. Often, there are people with children, strollers, pets, in-line skaters or other bicyclists riding slower or faster than you on the same path (which is usually 8' or less in width).
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