Memorial ride to honor cyclist killed in Pittsfield Township
A bicycle painted white with flowers on the handlebars remains locked to a “No Passing Zone” sign on Maple Road in Pittsfield Township.
The “ghost bike,” as cyclists call it, is a small memorial for Tim Pincikowski, a cyclist from Saline who was struck and killed by a van on the road July 28.
On Tuesday, dozens of cyclists are expected to travel to the collision site during a memorial ride that leaves Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor about 5 p.m.Cyclists will travel with a police escort about 3.5 miles to the site, where a service will be held, then return about 6 p.m., Washtenaw County Bicycling & Walking Coalition officials said.Â
Tim’s brother, Scott Pincikowski of Frederick, Md., who plans to attend, said family members are pleased the coalition organized the event.
“I think it’s incredible and quite an honor for Tim,” he said.
County prosecutors are reviewing a police report on the crash, which Pittsfield Township police say is a routine step in any fatal collision investigation.Â To date, no charges have been filed.
Jim Nieters of Ann Arbor, who has been cycling for more than four decades, said it’s hard to believe a cyclist was hit on a well-paved road with a wide shoulder and clear sight lines.
“You can see a cyclist from a long way off,” Nieters said. “It should be a very safe stretch. If somebody can get (killed) on that stretch of road, think of how vulnerable cyclists are.”
Pincikowski, 45, was riding his bicycle north on Maple Road south of Ellsworth Road when the rear end of it was struck by the front passenger side of a 2002 Dodge Caravan traveling in the same direction, police have said.
The driver of the van - a 20-year-old Clinton man - was not injured. His name has not been released.
Scott Pincikowski is working to start a nonprofit in his brother’s name to promote safety for cyclists.
His goals include working with the township to have a “Share the Road” sign installed on Maple Road.
The township will continue its work to make travel safe for cyclists and pedestrians, Supervisor Mandy Grewal said.
As an example, Grewal pointed to the Platt Road greenway - a 10-foot wide asphalt trail that’s being installed along the east side of Platt and Ellsworth and Textile roads.
“It has really further cemented my focus to work very hard to establish a network of non-motorized pathways across Pittsfield Township,” she said.
Drivers and cyclists need to stay focused, said Paul Alman, a WBWC board member who helped organize the ride.
If you’re behind the wheel, that means not adjusting the GPS system, using a cell phone or playing with the radio, he said.
And if you’re on a bicycle, that means not listening to an iPod and using alternate routes if travel becomes dangerous, he said.
“I certainly don’t think the message is stop cycling,” Alman said. “I think the message is be conscious, be aware, be safe. Just assume no one sees you.”
Tim Pincikowski's wife, Lisa, 4-year-old daughter, Lauren, and other family members also are expected to participate in the event.
While Lisa Pincikowski has struggled with losing her husband, she's been touched by how the community has responded, said her sister, Sonya Otwaska of Racine, Wisc.
“This has taken quite a toll on all of us,” Otwaska said. “We can’t bring Tim back, but maybe we can save somebody else’s life.”
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2527.