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Posted on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 5:47 a.m.

Memorial ride to honor cyclist killed in Pittsfield Township

By Lee Higgins

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.

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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. 

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. 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 Reach him at or 734-623-2527.



Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 9:33 a.m.

Pincikowski Educational Fund We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill We all experienced a loss with the tragic death of Tim Pincikowski. While we feel the loss, it cannot possibly compare to the loss his family has experienced and the emptiness this has created in their lives. The loss is only compounded when young children are involved and their futures are changed forever. Tims daughter Lauren is four years old, his son Michael is eighteen. To honor our friend and his family, we have setup an educational fund for Tims children. The funds collected by this effort will be transferred to a 529 Plan under the direction of Tims wife Lisa. We are working with several organizations to match individual contributions. This is an opportunity for all of us to give back to Tim. Tims family was everything to him and he continuously talked about them and the joy they brought to his life. By contributing to this fund, we can truly make a difference in their lives. If you would like to make an anonymous donation, please make checks payable to Donation Account for Pincikowski Education Fund and send checks to: Donation Account for Pincikowski Education Fund P.O. Box 674 Saline, MI 48176 If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kevin Bingel at Process Results, Inc (734-429-8900) or Jill Fiser at


Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 11:59 a.m.

Dear Readers, I look forward to doing the ride today to honor Tim, Rain or Shine. It is my desire to have the speed limits posted on Maple and Lohr Roads and have the speed limits lowered to at least that of Textile and Ellsworth. The most basic reason is that these roads see extensive recreational use by both runners and cyclists. I use both roads and witness on a daily basis commuters going to work and others enjoying the outdoors on bike and foot. The speed limits have not changed in the last 15 years, and should, based on the extensive development this area has undergone since 2000. See you at the ride.

Paul A.

Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 7:40 a.m.

Thanks, Lee for the link to the WBWC site, and of course, for the article.

Lee Higgins

Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 10:25 a.m.

Here's a link to the Washtenaw Bicycling & Walking Coalition's Web site. It has some more information about tomorrow's ride, which is open to the public.


Sun, Aug 16, 2009 : 8:26 p.m.

I agree that this should be a very safe stretch of road, but posting that stretch at 50 mph means many folks are driving at 55+ and, even though excessive speed may not have been a factor in this crash, I feel safer on shoulders when drivers go slower. It increases reaction time; more opportunity for motor vehicle drivers to notice bicyclists and maneuver correctly. Separate pathways might encourage more bicycling in Pittsfield and elsewhere, but separate facilities make crossings with roads problematic. Motor vehicle drivers generally don't look for vehicle traffic except on the road, and there is no reason why bicyclists shouldn't use the road if that's where they feel safe. The WBWC has been concerned about identifying a safe corridore from Ann Arbor to Saline. We have taken the initiative to bring governmental agencies together to remediate the Ann Arbor - Saline Road overpass and intersection with I-94 to provide safe bicycle and pedestrian access. Our preliminary review of roadways suggests that Lohr Road might be the best road for a safe bicycle corridore. I personally would like to see speeds posted at 35 on Lohr, 4-foot shoulders built, perhaps with a rumble strip at the fog line and other appropriate traffic calming on that road. Whether separate paths are built, or Lohr is redisigned to accomodate slower traffic, motor vehicle opperators need to expect more bicycles on Maple and all other roads. This is a growing trend, and must be encouraged, not stifled. Bicycling as practical transportation has it's nitch, and it's good exercise, good for air quality, good for relieving traffic congestion, good for decreasing consumption of oil. Not everyone is as strong a cyclist as Tim was, but everyone is capable of using a bike to go 2 miles to the store.


Sat, Aug 15, 2009 : 5:08 p.m.

Lee. Thank you for this article. It feels to me like a kind of closure. Others may feel that way too, given the lack of other comments thus far. I needed something--having been a close eyewitness. This helped.