Sunday, August 22, 2010

Candlelight Walk & Community Vigil for Slain Bicyclist This Wednesday Evening

A ghost bike has been placed near the site of the bicyclist's death.

UPDATE, 9:30 pm, August 22
Sophie Linke, the sister of the young man who died on Masonic, has contacted one of the organizers of the upcoming candlelight walk and vigil and expressed her family's appreciation for the memorial in honor of her brother. She also explained that her brother's full name is Nils Yannick Linke, but everyone close to him uses Yannick. Ms. Linke said her brother spoke with all the family by phone on Monday, August 9th, the day of his 22nd birthday. Everyone was happy he was celebrating his birthday here. Yannik was killed four days later.

Ms. Linke said the family was comforted that a memorial will be held for Yannik. "They want us to commemorate him," Marc Caswell, a Masonic resident, Fix Masonic member, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition staffer, said after talking with Ms. Linke Sunday afternoon. "She is happy about the ghost bike, and she hopes it will remain there until she can see it in person. She plans to visit San Francisco next year." Ms. Linke added that her brother came from a Protestant background, and the family welcomed a blessing at the vigil. The family has followed closely the accounts of her brother's death in local media and on web sites. She said they found them helpful at this sad time. The family will send a statement to be read at the memorial Wednesday night.


Masonic Avenue neighbors and community members will honor the young man killed on August 13th while riding his bicycle on Masonic near Turk street in a memorial this Wednesday evening. A candlelight walk will proceed from a local school a block away from the collision site and gather at the intersection of Masonic and Turk in remembrance of Yannik Linke. The tragic death of the young visitor to San Francisco and the circumstances of the hit-and-run collision have shocked and saddened neighbors, bicyclists, city officials, and everyone concerned about safety on city streets. Representatives from community organizations will speak at the memorial and comments from others will be welcome.

The memorial has been organized by neighbors affiliated with Fix Masonic, North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the San Francisco Day School, St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, and BIKE NOPA. All the groups have been involved in community efforts to slow the speed on Masonic Avenue by implementing traffic calming measures. The Municipal Transportation Agency is currently midway in a planning process to bring a combination of traffic calming measures to the corridor. In light of the August 13th fatal collision, advocates have strongly urged the MTA to implement immediate speed-reduction strategies while continuing the longer-term planning. For coverage of the city's response to the tragic death and the ongoing dangerous conditions on Masonic, see Bryan Goebel's coverage at Streetsblog.

Linke, a 22-year-old visitor from Berlin, was struck from behind and killed instantly while bicycling southbound on Masonic just past the crest of Turk Street. Joshua Calder, a 36-year-old motorist from Oakland, allegedly struck Linke while driving his Mercedes; he was accompanied by his girlfriend. Calder has been charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence and leaving the scene. He was released last Friday on $500,000 bail with a court date set for October 1st. For information on Calder's court appearance, see Friday's Streetsblog report. The Examiner reported this morning that the slain bicyclist's family is outraged that Calder has been released.

Organizers of the memorial want to focus on the tragic loss of Yannik Linke while also honoring him by increasing public resolve to obtain safer streets for all users.

Candlelight Walk & Community Vigil
Wednesday, August 25th, 8pm
Meet at San Francisco Day School courtyard, 350 Masonic @ Golden Gate Avenue
The walk will proceed on the sidewalk up Golden Gate Avenue to Turk Street, cross Turk
and gather at the site of the collision.
Little bicycle parking is available. Candles will be provided.


  1. I've lived in the NOPA neighborhood for 23 years, and I will NOT ride my bike down Masonic Avenue. Many automobile drivers treat it like a dragstrip, from Geary all the way to Fell, and even up to Haight. People drive way too fast in both directions on that stretch of Masonic. Something needs to be done to make drivers slow down on Masonic Avenue.

  2. Bike parking along masonic is definitely an issue, as noted here and something to be considered in the Fix Masonic planning.
    And in the above comment, Yes, something needs to be as no one, especially cyclists and pedestrians, should be prohibited from using the road day or nite, by unacceptable and dangerous behaivour that is being allowed for vehicles.
    is there a memorial fund or similar being set up in Nils name to be used for a positive community memorial and a reminder that some thing like this shouldnt have happned and to prevent it from happening again?

  3. @ PuzzleMaster: I haven't heard of a memorial fund being established so far.

    I agree thatthe perception and reality of danger keep pedestrians and bicyclists from using Masonic.

    For photos of Yannick Linke and his sister's description of how much he loved life, see