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Posted on Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 2:25 p.m.

Fatal collision in Pittsfield remains under investigation

By Lee Higgins

Timothy Pincikowski liked the outdoors and had been biking heavily this summer to stay in shape, his wife said.

Every other weekday, he biked about 25 miles. On a weekend day, it wasn't unusual for him to bike more than 50 miles, said Lisa, his wife of 13 years.

But Timothy Pincikowski's bike ride Tuesday turned tragic when he was killed in a crash with a minivan on Maple Road in Pittsfield Township. Police are still working to determine what caused the crash.

"He's a wonderful man, wonderful husband, wonderful father. Loved by everybody," Lisa said.

Pincikowski, 45, of Saline, 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, which was traveling in the same direction, police said.

No citations have been issued at this point, said Gordy Schick, the township's deputy director of police services.

Pincikowski was rushed to University of Michigan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.

The driver of the van - a 20-year-old Clinton man - was not injured in the 5:07 p.m. incident, Schick said. There's no indication speed, wet roads or alcohol were factors, Schick said.

It's unclear whether Pincikowski was wearing a helmet or if the van's driver was wearing a seat belt, Schick said.

Tim Pincikowski worked as a project manager/chemist at BASF in Wyandotte, his wife said. The couple, who live in the Wildwood subdivision, moved to Saline from Racine, Wisc., about two years ago because of a job transfer.

Tim Pincikowski enjoyed spending time with his 18-year-old son, Michael, and 4-year-old daughter, Lauren.

He often took Lauren swimming, brought her to the park or out to watch 3-D movies.

Lisa Pincikowski said she'll miss their nights together.

"Tim and I loved our nights out, going out to dinner and a movie," she said.

Prime rib was one of his favorites, she said. Neighbors have been stopping by the home all day, bringing food.

"We've been very fortunate here," she said.

It's the sixth fatal accident in the township this year, police said.

The accident is the first fatal bicycle crash in Pittsfield since 2003, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

Ed Vielmetti of contributed to this story.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached at 734-623-2527 or



Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 2:47 p.m.

Do not forget this tragedy so that Tim Pincikowski didn't die in vain. "Keep your eyes on the road" should be a national motto for all who travel. "The life you save may be your own." This sounds trite but they are true. We take our comings and goings in everyday life for granted. Life as you know it can turn on a dime. Value yourselves and others.


Fri, Aug 7, 2009 : 7:18 a.m.

I will be honored to help, I imagine a collective effort will be needed to lobby the Pittsfield Township Board to action.


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 11:04 a.m.

This post is for Tim's brother - we are also cyclists and live in Tim's neighborhood - we are interested in becoming involved with bicycle safety improvement actions - a contact email is


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 3:02 p.m.

I will help.


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 2:13 p.m.

I have posted comments on two other stories related to this tragic incident, but wanted to contribute to this discussion as well. Tim Pincikowski was my brother, whom I love and miss dearly. I cannot believe he is gone. As an avid cyclist and in memory of my brother, I am planning to campaign to increase awareness in Ann Arbor about sharing the road safely with bicyclists. I hope to have "share the road" signs posted, have the bike lane widened, and have the speed limit decreased on Maple Road (I have been to the crash site several times). This is popular route for both cyclists and drivers. Knowing Tim, he would have wanted to make this a safer stretch of road. If you are interested in helping me in this campaign (I live in Maryland), please respond to this blog. Scott Pincikowski


Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 12:09 p.m.

My husband is an avid cyclist. However, I disapprove of him riding his bike all around Ann Arbor and the surrounding towns simply because I think he's at the mercy of the drivers. It does not matter that the state put in money to build bike paths, to make them wider or better. What we need is a law that says drivers should not be talking on their cell phones or TEXTING!!! As I drive around town in my van, I see so many drivers talking or texting on their cell phones. And I'm not saying teenage drivers, but even adult drivers. Many drivers have their cell phones pressed to their ear, and zooming through a 4-way stop. All it needs is just a split second of inattention for an accident to happen.

Paul A.

Tue, Aug 4, 2009 : 1:45 a.m.

I notice that my original post has been taken down, but I was never informed the reason why. To reiterate: the responsibility for this incident (I do not consider this an accident as it was clearly avoidable) lies solely with the driver in this case. Not the road, not the lack of a bike lane, not the rider, not the weather - just the driver. As I mentioned, this is the 5th such incident in the past couple of years where driver inattention or breaking the law (it appears that both of these apply in this instance) where a cyclist has been killed or so severely injured that months of hospital stay and rehab have been required. While the discussion of facilities and routes is necessary, the single most helpful action to prevent even more of these incidents is for all road users to realize they have a responsibility not only for their vehicles, but also to be alert to all road users - other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and that all of us who drive need to be more conscious of the consequences of our lack of attention even for a second. Paul Alman

Eric Arsenault

Mon, Aug 3, 2009 : 12:02 a.m.

I'm a cyclist like many others in this comment feed. Wider shoulders would be nice, but the single biggest thing that could easily be done to increase cyclists' safety would be to create legislation that protects them. It is a relatively new law that greatly fines motorists that do not get over a lane when passing a police car that is on the shoulder. Look how fast that law has made an impact. Rarely do I see people fail to change lanes when passing a police car parked on the shoulder now. If there was a law that fined a motorist $500 and added 2 points to their record for failing to provide a cyclist at least 5' of clearance when passing, motorists would start giving us some room. I encourage you all to do as I am and write your local and state government. Is a civilian's safety any less important that a police officers?


Fri, Jul 31, 2009 : 11:50 a.m.

From all indications given by eyewitnesses, the driver of the van was well over the fog line, and had been driving like that for awhile. A bike lane would not have helped. I wonder if the driver's cell phone records have been accessed by the police. I'm willing to bet that texting was involved in this tragedy.


Thu, Jul 30, 2009 : 9:17 p.m.

Tim was was a great friend, respected colleague and an inspiration to all who knew him. He is sorely missed by his friends, family and coworkers. His senseless death is still difficult for me to comprehend, but the kind words of sympathy from strangers on this blog are comforting. When I drive Maple every day now, I ask myself, "when will we put in proper bike lanes or bikes paths in Saline and Pittsfield township"? How many of our friends and family members will it take before bikers can enjoy the sport they love safely.


Thu, Jul 30, 2009 : 8:38 p.m.

I knew Tim well, and it is hard to describe the grief that is coming from all the people he touched. This was a senseless accident. The shoulder width there is excellent by Michigan standards. When people get into their cars, they need to be thinking of all the others around them. In general I find the people in this area do just that. But about 1 in 15 are oblivious. The police could take a more active role in this by stopping people that do not give cyclists their 4-8' of space when they pass. I have never seen this. Also, when roads are repaved there should always be a bike lane put in. We would then start to give bikers the respect and space they deserve.


Thu, Jul 30, 2009 : 10:25 a.m.

We bike this road often. It's terribly tragic what happened here. I do know that many cars don't pay attention to the bikers. I try to stay right of the line, but it's not always possible. I can't tell you how many mirrors I've been clipped by. I'm hoping that good bike lanes are put on many of our area roads. I'd love to bike more, but worry about getting hit every time I'm out there.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 10:21 p.m.

I've been cycling for some 35 years and these roads with marginal shoulders are awful. In a prior discussion someone mentioned a putting up a "Share The Road" sign. When I see one of those, I interpret it as "Really Unpleasant at Best and it's not getting any better. Avoid Cycling here." It's very tempting for motorists to zip by a cyclist riding on a 6" shoulder. When driving a car, I think psychologically we think of lanes in terms of tire width. If a cyclists tires are to the right of the fog line, motorists treat them as if they are in another lane. One approach is to deliberately ride in the lane, forcing approaching motorists to wait until the oncoming traffic is clear. Motorists don't like it, but if they're cussing and swearing at you, at least they've seen you. This summer I had the wonderful experience of cycle commuting in Belgium. Loved it. Cyclists Rule. And it is Wonderful. My thoughts and prayers go out to this man and his family.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 9:11 p.m.

Mixing motorized vehicles and bicycles will never be safe practice and todays awareness of staying fit, going green, saving money, and incentives and recognition offered by employers to employees who agree to park the car and bike to work, add up to lots more cyclists on the roadways at all hours of the day and night. This all makes sense and seems the way to go except when it comes to the element of safety. Im a recreational cyclist but wont go near roadways where motorized vehicles travel at speeds reserved for rural country driving45 mph and over, nor will I ride where traffic is heavy with several lanes of traffic. A couple weeks ago I picked up a City of Ann Arbor & Washtenaw County bicycle map, thinking this would show me nice bike paths in the area. To my surprise, the map outlines city streets and county roadways that are deemed appropriate bicycle pathways. Wash. Co. roadways outlined as most suitable are color coded as either preferred or satisfactory routes. To my surprise, the 15+ mile route I drive every day to & from work is outlined either preferred or satisfactory along the entire route. In the years driving these roads, Ive noticed an increase in bike traffic, particularly in the early morning when theres often not a hint of daylight. These roads deemed bikeways by the county are not safe by any means. They are narrow roads with maybe a 1 foot of paving to the right of the fog line, usually with gravel beyond. In many areas the road is hilly and curvy with vegetation close to the roadway. It seems that most drivers are respectful and aware of the heavy bike traffic. But the hazardous conditions Ive noticed and cant quite come to terms with are the cyclists riding either before daylight or after dark. Most Ive seen use the equipment required and/or recommended including flashing front & rear lights, helmet, & reflective clothing. Under most conditions they are visible. However, if there happens to be a car in front of me, blocking my view of anything on the far right side of the road, the cyclist becomes invisible until the car in front is passing the cyclist. I dont have to be on the tail of the front car to be surprised to see a bike on road once the front car has passed it. Add an on-coming car to the mix; its dark so headlights are on, causing the flashing lights of the cyclist to be all but invisible. Those flashing lights are no match for the intensity of car headlights. As a cautious and respectful driver this situation terrifies me, particularly when I realize that these cyclists either think this is safe practice or know they are abiding by the laws and using a recommended bikeway, so knowingly use unsafe roads at unsafe times because its their right, despite the hazards. Seeing these roads given the countys approved bikeway recommendation leads me to believe that assigning blame to either cyclists or drivers, in most cases, is neither appropriate nor likely to fix anything. Whenever bikes and motorized vehs. share the same roadway, there will be accidents, but this mixture of approving roads for bike travel that are simply not safe and encouraging people to cycle more, might be a sure-fire way of allowing tragedies like this to occur far too often.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 8:50 p.m.

I am saddened by this tragedy. As a bike rider myself, I know the risks that riding main roads involves. I try to ride the roads with the larger shoulders believing that it is safer than those with less shoulder. Unfortunately, accidents happen that no one can control. I only ask that when a driver approaches a biker they slow down while passing. It can't hurt and it could save a life. My heart goes out to both the families involved.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 8:05 p.m.

KJMClark. Yes, I guess I'm okay--but determined to be heard. Thanks for asking. Sleep will eventually become easier. I still have not talked with the officer in charge of the investigation. However, I prepared a statement that included diagrams and dropped it off for him around 1 pm today. I was told he'd contact me tonight. It is now later than he will probably be willing to call. This case has attracted LOTs of attention though, and I suspect he has lots of people to get back to today. If I don't hear from him tonight or tomorrow, I'll be in hot pursuit soon after.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 7:35 p.m.

"Who ultimately lost?" Are you saying somebody won? Didn't we all lose?


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 6:37 p.m.

Doesn't hydroplaning happen on WET roads? That road was bone dry aat the time of the collision.

Ann English

Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 6:29 p.m.

I still wonder if the 20-year-old motorist was hydroplaning, unable to avoid hitting Tim. Every motorist should be sure he/she isn't driving on shallow-treaded tires, regardless of time of year or vehicle size. I could have been in the van driver's situation this week if I hadn't replaced one such tire on my own four-door after blowing out another tire kitty-corner to it. That would have been a very, very hard way to learn to prevent hydroplaning. "Ignorance is no excuse."


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 6:15 p.m.

Wow. We never got that with the old Ann Arbor News. 25 hours after a fatal crash we have an eyewitness statement from the person with arguably the best view of anyone on the road. Sally, I hope you're OK. I assume you're the one who was commenting at the Freep this morning. Were you able to tell the police what you saw? I'm sorry you had to see that. I'm sorry that it happened and anyone had to see it.

Phillip Farber

Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 6 p.m.

I am a cyclist. Over my 40 years riding the roads, I been verbally harassed, bombarded by thrown objects, struck by a driver talking on his cell phone, had friends and fellow riders seriously injured and killed. Yet I still ride. I refuse to have that taken away from me. There are many others like me. Folks have commented that this crash is a tragedy. I agree. It is a tragedy because motorists, collectively, place their personal convenience above the safety and even the lives of vulnerable road users. It is a tragedy because we have designed a road system that encourages this selfishness. This is the tragic flaw in our character. The next time you see a cyclist ahead of you on the road and feel that impatience, annoyance or even anger that someone is _blocking_ your progress PLEASE ask yourself where this emotion is coming from and then get over it. Commuting cyclists are trying to get from home to work just the same as you. You have a powerful machine that can carry you faster that someone walking or running or riding a bike. This is not an entitlement to do so. Is your 2 minutes worth a life? The next time your cell phone rings on you drive home, pull off to answer it or let your voice mail take the call. Somehow, since the 20th century dawned, we were able to conduct our lives without talking on the phone while driving. What's different now? Is your desire for instant connectivity more important than a life? Bottom line: do you want to wake up every morning for the rest of your life knowing that you killed someone with your car?


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 5:30 p.m.

I think it's amazing that we have people fighting and dying for our rights in America every day, yet we always end up in this kind of situation with someone saying "you'll be dead right." The right to travel is part of the International Convention on Human Rights. It's spelled out in state law that bicyclists have the same rights as motorists to use every public road in the state except limited access expressways. It's even more of a right, because driving a car is a privilege that can legally be revoked. Yet some poor guy gets killed just biking down a road and he gets blamed for exercising a right? Geez, Nxil, can't you think of something better to say?


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 5:25 p.m.

Hello. I witnessed the last several seconds before the van struck Tim. Mine was the lead car going in the other direction (south). Both lanes had steady light traffic--going about 50 mph. Tim was riding steadily and positioned appropriately on the right side of the road. He was not swerving. He wore a helmet. He did not seem to be aware of the approaching van; that is, he kept his head straight forward. From the position of the van, closely following Tim--and partly off the road on the right, I was certain the van would strike Tim. As I passed the bike and van, I heard the crash and saw--both in my peripheral vision and in my side mirror--Tim and the bike flying up and back toward the van. One or both of them must have crashed into the windshield of the van because my last view was of the windshield shattering first inward then spraying upward and around the van. Unable to help in other ways, I called 911 for assistance. I am so sad that this happened. My heart and prayers go out to both of the families.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 4:32 p.m.

This is a tragity. I drive to work daily, I would ride my bike or walk if there was a good and safe pathway available. Our State, City, County and Townships primary responsability is to protect the health safety and welfare of it's residents and visitors. We spend far too little in money and planning on pedestrian and non-motor transportation.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 4:20 p.m.

This sucks. A girl on my daughter's softball team said the kid (here referenced as a man) was shaken up and they gave him water. There are so many bike-car fatalities on our roads. I wish there were bike paths between where people live and where they work like in Sweden (I lived there for a year). I feel we are a bit too cavalier when it comes to safety.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 4:19 p.m.

Sad event my thought go out to the bikers family and freinds. I bike on Dixboro and get the occasional door handle almost clip even when there is no opposing traffic and the auto could easily get over even as I hug the edge of the roadway. I think I am a better driver also being a biker and pedestrian.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 3:48 p.m.

I ride on this road all the time. The speed limit is 55mph so cars go fast no question. Compared to most roads, i find the shoulder bigger then most. It is all very sad and tragic for him and his family. People in cars (myself included) need to remember that's a person on those bikes and give them some space, slowing down and moving over a bit is not going to cost you any significant time, we will break for a squirl or raccoon, and yet we'll buzz a person on foot or their bike. Thoughts and prayer to the Pincikowski family....


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 3:17 p.m.

This is a tragedy for all concerned. Let's be clear about traffic safety: Bicyclists and Motorists should be driving the same direction on the same side of the road. Neither of them should be on pedestrian paths!


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 3:05 p.m.

Very sad, I ride and drive that area often,there is not much room for both cycle and car. Hopefully the township will expand the roads and add more bike lanes to our area. My thoughts go out to Tim's family.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 2:29 p.m.

I think other people (and myself included) drive over the speed limit because there doesn't seem to be one until after you pass Textile Rd (when it becomes 40 mph, then 35 after that). I drive that road every day to and from work and I do drive fast, but whenever I see someone riding or running, I slide over into the other lane away from the person. I hope other people have the sense of mind to do the same.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 1:57 p.m.

I live right in this area and travel Maple almost every day. I also am an avid bike rider and runner, and use Maple as one of my routes. Way too often I see cars drive way over the speed limit (my perception) on Maple. Something that disturbs me the most is that I can not tell you how many times I see vehicles driving way over the fog line, almost as if the shoulder is a lane of traffic. This could have easily happened to me, and I try not to think about it, but the reality is that cars and bicycles are a dangerous mix. Too many cars think that bikes are a nuisance and try to run them off the road, coming so close to intimidate. To be fair, their are bikers out there who are hazardous and ride carelessly. People who run with their backs to traffic, oftentimes wearing headphones are at great risk as well. The bottom line is that people may be careful for a little while after something like this happens, and then the memory of the tragedy fades away until the next time. I implore people to be careful, whether you are a biker, runner, walker, or driver. While no details have been released about how this happened, I think the message is the same: Be aware and pay attention. And, drivers, it would be appreciated if you could slow down or at least give us a wider berth when you see a bike or runner. Thank you.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 1:42 p.m.

I was biking home on that very route yesterday about 10 minutes before the accident. Very freaky. Cars were going too fast I felt nervous biking there. What a tragedy that a biker was killed. It would help if the township would post "share the road" signs. The paved shoulder is only a couple of feet wide. Note to future road project managers: a wider shoulder would make all the difference in the world. There is no better option for bike-commuting between Ann Arbor and Saline than Maple Rd. Sigh.


Wed, Jul 29, 2009 : 1:39 p.m.

Tim was a wonderful, kind man. Please pray for him and his family, whom he loved so dearly.