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Posted on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 9:09 p.m.

Bicyclists take to the streets in memorial ride for cyclist killed in Pittsfield Township

By James Dickson


Tim Pincikowski's death sent shockwaves through the Ann Arbor-area biking community. And tonight, that community rode in Pincikowski's memory, hoping to promote greater coexistence between cyclists and motorists.

The Saline man was heading north on Maple Road near Ellsworth Road in Pittsfield Township when he was struck by a 2002 Dodge Caravan heading in the same direction on July 28.

Pincikowski, 45, left behind not only his wife, Lisa, son Michael, daughter Lauren, and parents Ruth and Leonard - but also a biking community that was reminded of its own vulnerability.


In a show of solidarity, about 200 supporters of the Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition took part in a symbolic, three-and-a-half mile bike ride - guided by a police escort - from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School to the spot where Pincikowski was killed three weeks earlier.

Members of the bicycling community say their goal is to foster greater mutual respect between cyclists and motorists.

On Maple Road, where Pincikowski was killed, the speed limit is 55 miles per hour. That puts a premium on driver awareness on the part of both cyclists and motorists, said Matt Harshberger, director of public safety for Pittsfield Township.

When the bikers reached the site where Pincikowski was killed, Joel Pannozo, a member of the local cycling community, posted a black-and-white sign near the shoulder bearing Pincikowski's name and the date of his death. That sign, along with the ghost bike a quarter mile up the road, are intended to encourage motorists and cyclists to share the road and commute with awareness.

When a cyclist dies in an accident, members of the local cycling community lock a white-washed bike to a nearby road sign. The ghost bike tradition started in St. Louis in 2003, "to serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel."

Harshberger said that the ghost bike honoring Pincikowski will soon be relocated to the actual spot of his death.

After the memorial sign was posted, Pincikowski's brother, Scott, gave a short speech and led a moment of silence. After recounting the incident to a rally participant who hadn't heard the story, Scott thanked the crowd and rejoined his family. Scott said he's is planning to start a foundation dedicated to stressing the need for motorists and bikers to share the roadways, and for motorists to give at least three feet to cyclists.


Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said she hopes his death "puts a human face" on the need for peaceful coexistence between cyclists and motorists.

In the near term, Grewal wants to put bike lane road markers on shoulders like the one on Maple Road, as well as signs encouraging motorists to share the road with bikers.

Cyclists hoping for word on whether the driver of the Dodge Caravan would be criminally charged left the rally without an answer.

The Pittsfield Township Police Department submitted the results of its investigation last week to Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie, who has yet to decide whether to press charges.

James David Dickson reports on human interest stories for He can be reached at (734) 623-2532.

Photos by Lon Horwedel, Photo 1 - A sign post in memory of bicyclist Tim Pincikowski stands in the foreground of the nearly 200 cyclists who rode tonight. Photo 2 - Bicyclists ride up South Main Street in Ann Arbor en route to Maple Road in Pittsfield Township. Photo 3 - Lisa Pincikowski of Saline, Tim Pincikowski's wife, gets a hug from Paul Gloor of Grosse Ille, one of Tim's friends.



Sat, Aug 22, 2009 : 10:20 a.m.

Drivers really need more education about bike riders. I hope this accident will help to raise awareness.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 8:24 p.m.

First, the memorial was fitting. A quiet reflective group honoring a man and his family. My heart goes out to the family and to the driver - yes, the driver. He too will live with this for the rest of his life and as 'Mom' said, hopefully he's going to turn this into something postive - fight for others rights to be on the road. That said, the person who mentioned earlier about the water bottles being thrown into people yards - I want to know where all those water bottles are! I'm sort of being funny here, but honestly, at $7 - $10 for a water bottle I've never ever in my life ever seen a cyclist throw their water bottle to the side of the road - and I've been cycling this side of 35 years. I've seen cars (as mentioned earlier) throw all kinds of trash out the window (sometimes at me while I'm riding my bike), but I've yet to ever see a cyclist throw a water bottle (or anything else for that matter).


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 8:17 p.m.

It is an interesting article, but I'd much rather just have a signal system that didn't discriminate against me, and just wait at a red light like everyone else. Unfortunately, I have signal systems that clearly discriminate against cyclists, no doubt unintentionally, so while I sit at red lights on my bike, I only blame other cyclists so much. If motorists got twice as many red lights as truck drivers, I'm sure they'd treat them as stop signs more often too. BTW, in an earlier comment I pointed out that when I'm biking to and from work on Plymouth, I get a red light at the light at Murfin about 3/4 of the time. I checked for two weeks, and found it's actually 8/10 of the time. I think motorists would go nuts with a signal system that gave them red lights 80% of the time when they're on the major arterial, but this is common for biking. Motorists assume that cyclists get about the same number of red lights, but if you bike, you realize that it isn't random or equitable, the system really does give slower traffic like bikes many more red lights for a given distance traveled. This side-effect makes sense if you understand how the system works, but it does have the effect of discriminating against cyclists to move more cars more smoothly. I think the traffic engineers would agree about the stop signs. The ones I've talked to would gladly go out and replace many stop signs with yield signs tomorrow if they could. Unfortunately, many motorists around here don't yield to pedestrians, even with a stop sign, so yield signs would be even worse.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:32 p.m.

Those complaining about cyclists not obeying all the laws, and interested cyclists, as well, may want to take the time to read this article about 'more reasonable' laws for cyclists. Makes a lot of sense to me.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 6:42 p.m.

Let me comment and say my original post had nothing to do with whether the driver should be charged or deserves to be charged. That is up to the authorities involved and I have no thought or say in that (As someone pointed out justice does need to prevail). It just drives me nuts when people use a platform to preach tolerance and then try to stick there thumb in the eye of the opposition of the opposing view. I'm sure the family and friends of this man had no intention with doing this with this memorial. There are always outside "forces" that try to use this for their own political agenda. I absolutely mean no disrespect to any of them. Absolutely none of this needed to happen. My main point is, just as the comments on this site prove, that many many many people are trying to take this tragedy and the memory of this man and blame the other side. At times like these we need to reflect on what WE are doing wrong and how to solve this, not try to point fingers on the other side. We need to come together and admit our own faults on both sides and how we fix this in our community so another family doesn't have to go through this. Bottom line my belief is that riders and drivers have a perfect legitimate reason to be on the road. The question is how do we make this safer for everyone. Cyclists are frustrated with drivers, drivers are frustrated with cyclists. There's plenty of blame on both sides. Let's not the memory of a fellow community member, friend and family member degrade into something petty. How do we fix this so no family has to go through this? We need to look at ourselves first before we can blame anyone else for all of our own mistakes. There are plenty of bad drivers out there and just as many cyclists bikers, and unfortunately bikers get the raw end of the deal when either side makes a mistake. This is a huge tragedy for members of our community. Let's try to learn from it instead of pointing fingers at either side. There is a lot of disrespect on both sides and I see it DAILY! My belief is we need more bike lanes and wider. The worst thing when encountering a cyclist on the roads is never enough room (I don't think anyone disagrees with that!), and in most cases there are not even places for them to get over without injuring themselves. If we as a community are going to allow bikes on our roads then we need to do it in a manner that is safe for everyone, otherwise we need to decide to outlaw them on the road all together. I don't see that happening. In many places in this world it's the preferred mode of transportation, healthy and green.. Cyclists pay for the roads as drivers and tax payers like the rest of us, so if we are going to allow them on our roads as a community then we need to support the burden as a community. This is your right as a voter and I encourage everyone to exercise that right.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 4:18 p.m.

Wow! "I live in the rural area of Ann Arbor and witness bicyclist tossing their empty water bottles on the side of the road on other peoples property. I do not mind sharring the road, but bicyclist must learn to respect the rules and respect the environment." you know how many times I see cars stop and toss entire bags of garbage on the side of the road, or flick their cigarettes, or McDonald bags. Come on now, really?!? In addition, I would like to inform others, many lights in Ann Arbor are weight sensored. Motorcyclists/scooters and bikers come across this problem all the time (Im a cyclist and also ride a 50cc scooter). We sit there for a length of time because the lights can not pick us up. This is not bikers or motorcyclist fault, its the idiot of an engineer that designed them. This goes to show, that most of this country is not cycling friendly just because it takes a little more effort or money to incorporate this in the infrastructure. This is somewhat off topic, but if you look at countries that adopt a more bike friendly atmosphere and actually encourage their citizens to bike more, study has shown that they are less obese, stress and are generally healthier. In this country, we like to bash the bikers and run them off the road. Just think, we supposedly live in a civilized country.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 2:48 p.m.

"Motorist are frustrated with the me, me, me mantality [sic] of bicyclist. They want to share the road, but not the rules..." Seriously? This attitude is the problem - instead of pointing fingers and using anecdotal evidence to "prove" your point, rise above and be the safest you can be whether on bike, car, motorcycle, whatever. Using excuses to defend bad behavior gets everyone nowhere.

Drew Burton

Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 2:19 p.m.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Tim Pincikowski. I have followed the coverage here and with members of bike touring society and it still is not clear to me exactly what happened to Tim. I have biked to work in Ann Arbor for more than 30 years, probably logging more cycling mileage than miles in the car. My greatest fear as a motorist is looking up after a moment of inattention and see an obstacle in the way. Looking up to see a person there is unimaginably horrible. I am pretty sure that I am not alone in having such moments from time to time. My heart also goes out to the driver, his friends and family. This is certainly living hell.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 2:01 p.m.

O.K. any reasonable person of average intelligence would know that to every rule there is an exception....AND PEOPLE TAKE THAT EXCEPTION. Careless drivers, careless bikers, etc. That's not the point. The point is safety and becoming aware of what is happening on the road. Telephones, head phones, twittering, drinking, dope, putting on make-up and on it goes. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD. "I'm Mom," and I'll admit it was my idea about riding against the traffic. Let's just be mindful of the power we have behind the wheel.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 1:47 p.m.

My condolances to the freinds and family of Tim. I have rode to work thru Ann Arbor and where there are bike lanes it is not un common to see UPS, lawn services etc use bike lanes to double park auto's. I shook my head at a guy with a lawn service truck and trailer double parked on a bike lane as I rode around him and he almost physically accousted me at the near by intersection for calling him out about were he parked.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 1:40 p.m.

Okay this has me totally frustrated. I live in Ann Arbor, and I drive around in Ann Arbor. 9 times out of 10 I see a bicycle not following the rules of the road. I live in the rural area of Ann Arbor and witness bicyclist tossing their empty water bottles on the side of the road on other peoples property. I do not mind sharring the road, but bicyclist must learn to respect the rules and respect the environment. Many bicyclist are so self absored in their own beleif they have forgotten how it is to be polite themselves. Motorist are frustrated with the me, me, me mantality of bicyclist. They want to share the road, but not the rules. I can't tell you how many times a bike has ran a stop sign where it has been a close call. I don't want to have to live with the guilt because a bicyclist was negligent.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 12:56 p.m.

Im not actually surprised at the ignorance of some people. I've been a long time bike rider and I actually ride this route where Tim Pincikowski was killed. People who say that bikers should pay to use the roads, well my property tax, state tax, and taxes I pay to use my car should cover this. If they actually make a lane strictly for bikers in all of the roads, like in most European countries, then I will gladly pay more. Plus most of the roads that do have bike lanes, well if you are not a bike rider, then you will never know that those lanes are usually full of car parts, glass, rocks, and many other debris that can cause a biker to swerve and cause an accident. I also love motorists who think that honking is going to somehow alert me. Actually people, that is so dangerous. Honking at a biker, might startle someone which may cause them to lose control and end up in an accident. Be patient! Lets look at it this way, if you rear end someone, the law says that the person who rear ended is at fault. Why? because you are the person behind who should be alert and see what is in front of you. Now if you hit a biker from behind, like this incident, this person should automatically be at fault. I love the guy who posted that we should wait to see who is at fault here and not to quickly judge. Well in my opinion, a biker has no idea or has no match for a 2ton automobile going at 50 miles an hour from behind. The driver who is behind the biker should be alert and should know what is in front of them. Every time I bike, I try to stay as far to the right as possible. However, since some of the roads in Ann Arbor, which by the way has one of the highest property taxes but for some reason can not fix the roads, I have to deal with terrible roads not alone automobiles. So people, please educate yourselves and know that roads are just not for cars.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 12:52 p.m.

Tim's Dad, Sorry for your loss, but riding a bicycle opposing traffic increases the chances of being hit dramatically. Here are just some of the reasons:


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 11:53 a.m.

While reading these comments, I get the impression that some of you believe that bikers, runners and walkers have no right to be on the road. What would you have them do? Are they to stay off the road entirely? The roads are exclusively for the use of cars? Come on now..... In many locations there are no sidewalks, but that is beside the point. While riding in our car in (Wisconsin) and observing bike lanes and often the absence of them an idea came to us. Why not have bikes follow the same safety rule as walkers and runners, (ride, run, walk) TOWARDS the traffic. The on-coming cars can then be observed. This of course would not include motor cycles traveling the speed limits. Our son was in the bike lane as observed by witnesses. The weather was clear. The car that hit him veered into the bike lane at 55 miles an hour. The fellow was apparently tuning his radio. Tim had no chance of survival. A tragedy. He was not wearing a bike helmet but in this case it would not have saved him. We pray however that bikers will take this precaution in protecting themselves as in some cases they have saved lives. We were informed that in Racine, Wisconsin the bike club has what they call a "silent ride." We and our family will be very interested in taking part in it to bring attention the other tragedys that didn't have to happen. Thank you, Tim's Dad


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 11:48 a.m.

"I am curious about the bicycles riding two abreast. Is the presumption that traffic will slow behind them and not pass?" What is supposed to happen is that, just as for a tractor, mail truck, or any other slow-moving vehicle, other traffic will slow as needed to avoid a collision, then pass when there's a safe opportunity. "Instead of wasting time arguing the "share the road" bit, try lobbying government to build "bike parks" or separate bike paths that are at least 15-20 feet off the roadway, at least most of the safety issues would be solved." There are two problems with this. First, when I'm on a bike, it's usually on my way to or from work or going shopping. I'm not usually out "enjoying a Sunday drive." So putting in some kind of park doesn't do any good. There are plenty of parks like this already. It's like saying that people who want to drive their cars should go to a race track. Second, though it's hard for many people who don't bike regularly to understand, it's safer on the road. All the crash studies I've ever seen come to that same conclusion. Every time one of these side paths crosses a driveway or intersection, the danger is as great as at a road intersection, and most crashes happen at intersections. All of us, whether in our car, on a motorcycle, on a bike, or walking across the street, have to deal with the dangers of our road system. We all take risks whenever we go near a road. But our laws are written to minimize the conflicts, and when cyclists and governments say "Share the Road", they are really saying "Obey the Laws." It's just that so many people don't know, or won't accept, what the laws say.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 11:06 a.m.

As I read all of these comments it overwhelms me that people seriously think that you can share the road on your 40 pound bicycle with a 4,000 automobile without tragedy. Human error causes 90% of any accident, which I'll bet was the case in this tragedy. Until you can separate the bikes from the cars with concrete barriers or some other protective system, this will happen again and again. Instead of wasting time arguing the "share the road" bit, try lobbying government to build "bike parks" or separate bike paths that are at least 15-20 feet off the roadway, at least most of the safety issues would be solved.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 10:51 a.m.

During the ride and service I heard neither discussion of nor interest in the possibility of charges being filed against the driver. I would be surprised if anyone present came expecting to learn more of that. It was a somber, quiet event, and everyones thoughts were on the tragedy this was for all involved. The statement in the article may reflect conjecture on the part of the reporter, or a comment by one of the people there. It certainly doesnt reflect the focus of the people present at the event and leaves a false impression that this was a main point of discussion for those present. I think we were all more concerned about the families, and how to prevent future such accidents.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 10:42 a.m.

JR, The cyclist killed in this story was on a very wide shoulder. The driver of the van was driving on the shoulder, not the road. You should go to the accident site and then try to explain it. There is no minimum speed limit on Maple Road. You are confusing a 55mph limit with a minimum speed, as on an interstate.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 10:09 a.m.

"Is it me or is leaving "disappointed" over awaiting a criminal charge really negating the message of better coexistance and safety?" "Justice delayed is justice denied." Supposedly there's something in the Magna Carta about that. I don't think we're into "denied justice" yet, but it does seem to be taking a bit long to decide whether to even issue a ticket. Everyone is supposed to play by the rules, and if everyone does, we can all coexist safely and this crash should not have happened. And "innocent until proven guilty" applies to the eventual resolution of a case, if one is brought. At this point, we're waiting to see if there will be any charges. That's entirely different. From all of the descriptions, it seems that there were at least civil infractions involved here. It looks to my non-lawyer eyes like a manslaughter charge might be appropriate. That doesn't mean that the man who hit the cyclist will be found guilty of the charge; that's for the jury to decide. However, as I understand it, a manslaughter charge is considered whenever someone is killed due to the action of someone else. That doesn't mean it was intentional, or that a jury would find him guilty.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 10:01 a.m.

First any time an individual looses their life, especially when it is preventable, is tragic. One item or agenda being missed, is on a roadway with a speed limit of 55 mph, a bicyclest impedes or interfers with the flow of traffic. It is true motor vehicle operators must not only drive for themselves, but for everyone else as well. I believe there is a law that restricts the minimum speed limit and I do not believe a bicyclest can attain that speed. In order to prevent or at least mitigate these occurrences there should be lanes designated to bicycle operation. While the premise is sound, it probably will not happen, this state can not even begin to maintain the existing roadways. Until a reasonable/workable solution presents itself, both motorists and bicyclest have to be more attentive and considerate.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 9:39 a.m.

I live in that area and as a cyclist I hate sharing the road with cars. As a motorist I hate sharing the road with cyclists. I think we should connect neighborhoods and business parks with walking and bike paths and seperate bikes from 55 mph roads for Pete's sake. Why can't we put paths between, say Lake forest and Stonebridge? I don't think the Lake Forest people are all that bad. Why does Lake Forest put up signs forbidding me to use their bike paths (through the park)? I don't think Stonebridge people are all that bad. Why is there a "No Trespassing" sign on the path to Zingermans into Airport Commerce center from the business park directly west of it? I don't get it. Walking and biking actually a healthy thing, but I don't like doing it on the 2.5" you get on the side of a busy road. Does anyone else share my frustration? How to cause change?


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 9:38 a.m.

This is an awful story. I am curious about the bicycles riding two abreast. Is the presumption that traffic will slow behind them and not pass?


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 9:21 a.m.

I want to clear up something that I keep seeing: it is perfectly legal for bicyclists to ride two abreast, ie. side-by-side. There is nothing illegal about that. It's illegal to ride more than two abreast, as spelled out in MCL 257.660b: "Two or more individuals operating bicycles upon a highway or street shall not ride more than 2 abreast except upon a path or portion of the highway or street set aside for the use of bicycles." I know many motorists, and apparently a good number of cyclists, think there's something wrong with biking two abreast, but in reality, that's something wrong with our driver's education system, not cyclists biking side-by-side. Somehow bicyclists being polite and getting over when they don't have to has been interpreted by motorists as required. Bicyclists don't have to get over, they do it because they're trying to be nice. BTW, this is a discriminatory ordinance in Ann Arbor's codes. In Ann Arbor, you can bike two abreast until a motorist blasts their horn at you. This invites harassment of cyclists, and isn't legally enforceable in Ann Arbor either, under MCL 257.606. Having looked into this a few years ago, Ann Arbor probably has the most anti-bicycling set of ordinances in the state.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 9:20 a.m.

All of the Pincikowski family mourns our terrible loss. He was a precious and beloved son, brother, father, husband, friend,co-worker, neighbor. We also feel sorrow for the pain it has caused the driver and driver's family. We hope that while he will have to live with this tragedy as we will that good could come of it. If he, the driver would make it his mission in life to promote safe driving practices in his community, schools, public forums lives could be saved. Yes, some are critical of bikers and yes, all are not sensible in their habits but after all they are on a light weight vehicle and must depend upon the common sense of other vehicles on the road. In Europe,the biker comes first. Thank you, Tim's mother


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 8:46 a.m.

While I myself do not ride a bike, I think an historical point may be worth noting here: the impetus for good roads (in Ann Arbor, in Washtenaw County, in Michigan, nationally -- originated with bicyclists, not automobile drivers. There were no automobiles in the 1890s, when the Good Roads movement got started, but cyclists demanded better surfaces than the sandy tracks and mudholes that farm wagons were using. (The first bicycle path in Washtenaw, built by Wheelmen, was a ten-mile stretch from Ann Arbor to Whitmore Lake, which followed the present course of Whitmore Lake Road.) Cars and their drivers are Johnny-come-latelies, who started their ride on the coattails of the two-wheel enthusiasts. The dauntless bikers had already demonstrated the need, and had demanded improved surfaces for modern vehicular travel.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 8:44 a.m.

It's always sad when this happens and I feel bad for both families. Usually it's preventable and generally, preventable from BOTH sides of the fence. It's easier for a bike to stop, it's easier for a bike to be moved off the road.. Not so much for a car, we all know it's harder for a car to stop, and they can't just pull off the road. So, some of the responsibility of a bikers safety is on the biker. Just like a motorcylclist has to SEE; search, evaluate and execute, so does the cyclist! We all know once we get in our cars we allow ourselves to become distracted by other things, is it right, no, but it's reality. I know some cyclist get defensive about this, but more often than not I see cyclists doing what MDAVID stated, weaving in traffic, not stopping at lights, riding side by side, (This not a safe practice where I encounter bikes on rural hilly roads!) cutting across the road, disregarding the laws we're all supposed to follow. Cyclists are not innocent and need to take responsibility for their own actions and sometime you have to be responsible for the other idiots on the road to protect yourself.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 8:11 a.m.

I'd like to reiterate the fact that I view myself as a very alert driver. I don't have a problem with sharing the road. What I do have a problem is the sense of entitlement evident in some of the responses and with bicyclists not obeying the laws (although I'm sure many of you serious bicyclists share that latter opinion). Just because you pay your registration fees, it does not give you the right to use the roads as you see fit. For instance, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to play roller hockey in the middle of State Street. Also, you have to follow the rules of the road ie. you can't drink and drive/speed/drive recklessly/etc. My point with the registration fees is that roads are primarily constructed for vehicular travel. Many of you are suggesting alterations be made to roads to solely benefit bicyclists. Where is that money going to come from? The state charges registration fees for ATVs/Boats/Snowmobiles/Motorcycles, why should bicycles get a pass?

Saul K

Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 8:04 a.m.

Tragic event, I hope the family is recovering from their loss. As far as the characterisation of cyclists as wanton lawbreakers, it more what we choose to see or what we have grown accustomed to, than a particular user group that is the issue. I drive to work and bike to work about equally and see plenty of bonehead moves from both groups. Try standing next to the road with a radar gun some time and see if anyone is paying attention to the speed limit. Since we typically don't enforce until 10mph over, then most people treat the "limit" or legal maximum speed as the minimum. In fact drive right at or just under the limit and you will see just how frustrated too many drivers get. Right turns on red require a stop, which is defined as a cessation of all movement, how many cars even get below 2mph (which isn't a atop), hint not very many. So yes everyone needs to work on following the rules and sharing the road, quite possibly enforcement needs to be increased for both catagories of user. We all need to be more considerate of each other. Operate your vehicle carefully - Saul


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:51 a.m.

Drivers and cyclists share the road with each other. Both have to be vigilant, conscientious, responsible and follow all the rules of the road. This was a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with his family.

Laura Bien

Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:46 a.m.

Nice (though sad) memorial service. As a biker, I always observe the rules of the road and err on the side of caution. Though my husband and I have the legal right to ride two abreast, we never do, but ride single file and strictly observe all traffic lights and signs. I note other bikers doing the same. Characterizations of bikers as wanton lawbreakers are not accurate.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:39 a.m.

I feel very bad for the loss and the families on both sides but these roadside memorials have got to go. These things are just litering roadside america. And who paid for the police escort for this? Positions are being cut and but we have staff to escort a group of bikers?

Phillip Farber

Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:30 a.m.

I wish to correct the perception that somehow cyclists are not legitimate road users because they don't pay an annual registration fee or pay gasoline taxes. A friend once asked if he carried a quart of gasoline in his water bottle whether he'd have his gas taxes covered. But seriously, the taxes/registration canard surfaces in just about every discussion of the rights of cyclists to the road. That, and blaming the cyclists victim for being on the road in the first place. A quote from a post on the Michbike list on this point is worth repeating: "The vast majority of bicyclists ride on state and local roads, and most of the funds for the planning, construction, and maintenance of these roads comes from state and local income and sales taxes, plus property taxes. The money to fund the enforcement of laws governing the use of those roads, and the money to fund personal and their equipment who respond to road emergencies also comes from these same coffers. These taxes are levied at numerous levels, and almost no one (except maybe jailbirds) escapes paying them." Drivers need to realize that in the coming years more and more people will choose cycling as a means of transportation as gas prices continue to increase. It is the responsibility of every road user to operate safely. Frustration is a dangerous emotion when you're you're the pilot of 2 tons of glass, steel and plastic.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:27 a.m.

I would add that probably all of the cyclists that ride regularly have homes or pay rent and have jobs which means we pay property taxes, state taxes and federal taxes. Most of us own cars and pay road taxes when we buy gas for our cars. So don't insunate that we are freeloaders and don't contribute to the maintenance of the roads.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:24 a.m.

While I do not ride a bike on a regular basis, I do encounter many bikers on a daily basis. I live in Dexter and drive Huron River Drive and other roads frequented by cyclists. I sit on my porch and watch most riders completely ignore all stop signs, while riding 2 and 3 abreast. I observe the same on Huron river, and dexter chelsea roads. I almost hit a biker who chose not to stop at the corner of Huron river drive near mast road. While I truly believe we should share the road, on a daily occurence bikers do not follow the rules of the road. Why would you think you don't have to stop at a red light or stop sign, ride 2 or 3 abreast, weave through traffic to get up to the light, etc. I certainly would receive a citation, hurt someone, or worse. I try and be supportive to biker's who want to ride for their own enjoyment, to get to work, etc but if one doesn't follow the rules of the road bad things will happen. I do not know the details of this accident so i am not comfortable commenting on it..but I am so very sorry to his family.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:16 a.m.

I drive my car daily and ride my bike 3-4 days a week. I often used Dexter-Chelsea road as a motorist and as a cyclist. Bicyclists already have the legal right to use Dexter-Chelsea road and most other Michigan roads now -- paying a registration fee isn't required. Drivers are required to share the road now, a cyclist registration fee doesn't change that. However, what is required is that all cyclists choosing to use a road should obey the rules of the road. Cyclists riding more than 2 abreast are riding illegally. I would support law enforcement stopping and ticketing these cyclists as well as those who ride through stop signs or red traffic signals. Motorists AND cyclists alike must follow the rules of the road or accept the penalties for not doing so. My experience has been cyclists are not receiving this attention from law enforcement. That said, I know friends of Tim Pincikowski and they all say he was a very good, very safe rider who rode according to the rules of the road. When the facts of this tragedy are released, I expect the focus of attention will be on the driver.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 7:01 a.m.

To the posters saying that cyclists shouldn't share a road they don't pay for, I'd would also like to point out that the vast majority of cyclists also own a car or two that they do pay taxes on. I would also like to point out that the tax on my one ton auto is about $200/year. If by me paying $2/year for the 'privilege' of riding 20 my pound bicycle would mean that I would have a portion of the road wider than the fog line dedicated to cyclists, I would be happy to do that. By the way, most of the cycling lanes in the area more closely resemble debris fields, than a usable bicycle lane. It's not that hard to ease off the accelerator and wait until it's safe to pass a cyclist. You would do the same for a farm tractor. Please don't honk at me, either, okay?


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 6:35 a.m.

This is truly a tragedy. My heart goes out to the family and friends. I lost my 21 year old son and the pain never goes away. There are always bicyclists riding 2 to 4 abreast on Dexter-Chelsea road and it's very dangerous to both riders and drivers. I also agree that bicyclists should have to pay an annual registration if they want to share the roads. I too, move as far to the left as possible when encountering bicyclists, but there is no alternative but to "follow" if they are riding 3 to 4 abreast ahead of me. Can be very frustrating.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 6:31 a.m.

Stan, I keep see your "cyclists don't pay their way" claim all too often. This claim is not reflected in the data we have on the cycling community. The vast majority of cyclists are car owners and drivers who already more than pay their way because they choose a transportation method that does not damage or 'wear down' the roads the way their car does. Unlike cars, there isn't infrastructure to register and license/register bicycles by the state. Setting that into place would cost us far more than the burden on the roads.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 5:49 a.m.

This sounds like a nice event to remember someone who by all accounts was a wonderful man. It's just too bad it became a chance for people to push an anti-motorist agenda. I just wrote a check for $126 to the State of Michigan for my car registration. This money helps pay for the roads. The state needs to force bicyclists to pay an annual registration if they want to be taken seriously by the public at large. There is no reason to lower the speed limit. BTW, when I encounter bicyclists on a non-city road, I move as far to the left as possible.


Wed, Aug 19, 2009 : 1:45 a.m.

My deepest sympathy to the Pincikowski family and to Mr. Pincikowski's friends. Seeing this video made me cry. I know what it feels like to lose a sibling too early in life. I would love to know who we can contact to lower the speed of that road! I believe 55 MPH is too high. It encourages drivers to go faster because it is high. Also, to the AAPD...PLEASE watch this area for speeders and rude drivers like the Mustang driver.


Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 11:39 p.m.

I see someone flagged my comment. I guess some people just can't handle the truth when it's set before them.


Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 10:20 p.m.

While this is a terrible tragedy, the driver is innocent until proven guilty. There is a possibility that this is an accident and that there is no criminal responsibility. I can understand the anger and grief that the friends and family must feel and the need to be able to hold someone accountable, but charges are left up to the prosecutor after reviewing all of the evidence (real evidence...not what we read in the paper) and then ultimatley the court system. Again, I feel sorry for the loss that the family has suffered and this it truly a terrible incident. My point is that just because an incident is tragic does not mean that criminal charges are warranted. I am just with holding judgement on the drivers criminal (or not) responsibility until after all of the facts are reviewed by the appropriate legal authority. All of us, motorist and cyclist, CAN learn from this incident without waiting for a decision on criminal charges and be more cognizant of each other. Drive and Bike safe!


Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 9:59 p.m.

Dear Readers, In the second picture you can see Tim's brother and sister leading the ride, other family members were at the memorial site, they are a wonderful family and were very thankful to folks who joined in the ride. I was at the ride, there was respectful silence in the peloton as we moved along behind an AAPD escort. It was nice to see the great turnout by fellow cyclists. My thanks to the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition organizers and the Ann Arbor Police for their part in the ride.


Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 9:31 p.m.

I passed the memorial riders on my way home tonight; I was heading south down Maple. As I cautiously drove by the site where the accident occurred (the bikers were north of the site at this point), I was passed by an impatient green Ford Mustang. How sad. What an idiot. How inconsiderate.


Tue, Aug 18, 2009 : 9:30 p.m.

Is it me or is leaving "disappointed" over awaiting a criminal charge really negating the message of better coexistance and safety?