Memorial Wednesday for Nils Yannick Linke, Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run

Yannick_1.jpgYannick, as he was known to family and friends, loved to travel. Photos provided by his sister, Sophia Linke.

A candlelight march and memorial vigil is being planned Wednesday evening for Nils Yannick Linke, the German tourist who was killed by a drunken driver while riding a bicycle on Masonic Avenue just four days after his 22nd birthday. 

The memorial, according to Michael Helquist of BIKE NOPA, is being 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."

Participants, who are being encouraged to bring flowers to leave at the site of the ghost bike memorial, will meet at the SF Day School "where they will be given candles and then
walk, in silence, to the site of the collision."

"Organizers of the memorial want to focus on the tragic loss of Yannick Linke while also honoring him by increasing public resolve to obtain safer streets for all users," Helquist wrote on his post announcing the march and vigil. 

Linke was born and raised in Berlin and had been attending school in Vienna, where he was studying anthropology, according to his sister, Sophia Linke, 29. "He took his studies very seriously," she said, describing her only brother as a social, cheerful person who always had a smile. 

Yannick_4.jpgYannick visiting the salt bed in Bolivia.

"He was very friendly. He enjoyed food, he enjoyed life, and he was really, really, really happy when he died," said Linke, who spoke with Yannick the Sunday before his birthday while he was visiting New York and could feel the enthusiasm in his voice.

"He told us how nice New York was and he loved traveling," said Linke. Yannick, who also leaves behind his mother, father and a 17-year-old sister, made friends very quickly, she said, and had numerous friends from his travels all over the world. He traveled extensively around Europe and Latin America, but it was his first trip to San Francisco.

"He told me he was really excited and afterward he wanted to go to Las Vegas and then back to New York. He was actually going to travel for another month, also in the U.S., and then come back to Germany."

Linke said Yannick preferred to find more secluded outdoor spots when he traveled, instead of always going to big cities. "He loved hiking and things like this. Being outside in nature."

He was also a lover of music. Linke said he designed and crafted guitars and attended a number of jazz festivals.  "Music was one of the most important things in his life, and especially jazz music. And especially his guitars. He was really, almost professional," she said.

Yannick’s vibrant life ended 10 days ago when he was cycling down Masonic Avenue and hit from behind by a 1989 Mercedes-Benz allegedly being driven by 36-year-old Joshua Calder, an Oakland man who admitted to police that he had been drinking. Calder made an appearance in court Friday where he plead not guilty to numerous charges, including vehicular manslaughter.

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.

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  • Sad

    Thank you for such a thoughful tribute to Nils. I hope he is the last person to die on Masonic Avenue

  • Such spirit he had. His family must be devastated. What a tragic, horrible waste.

  • dmd

    this is very good thing for both SF and ‘family. But instead of flowers, wouldnt $ for a memorial fund in his name towards safer cycling or something related be more lasting and effective so something like this doesnt happen again?

  • Jane

    Thanks for posting this. It is easy to get caught up in the politics of an incident like this and lose sight of the real people involved. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I love this city and bicycling; it should never cost someone their life to ride a bike here.

  • Molly

    Love you Yannick!

  • gibraltar

    Tragically for Yannick and his family, he was used to bicycling in Vienna and must have assumed that San Francisco was a civilized place.

  • Nick

    So glad to hear people care, especially with his family so far away.

  • thanks yannick for the good time we had in the handball team in vienna, austria.

    best regards
    post sv wien

  • josy

    I just can affirm, what his sister said.
    Yannick, we will miss you so much in Vienna. We will miss your big smile in the morning, when you come into the lecture hall, we will miss the evenings with you, learning, listening music and cooking with you. You can’t be replaced and studying in Vienna won’t be the same for us. We miss you so much!!!

  • JD

    Such a tragedy, and I send my deepest condolences to Nils’ family and friends. It pains me to read about this. And I’m ashamed that my city (and my country for that matter) so worships at the altar of the automobile that we can’t even design our cities around anything but the car (and how we even tolerate people driving drunk). For my part, I will keep on fighting the battle to take our cities back from cars and return them to the people so that deaths like Nils’ will not be in vain. Rest in peace, Nils.

  • Katherine Roberts

    This drives me crazy. My heart goes out to his friends and family, and I am very touched by their forgiveness, and the faith they have in us that we will honor his spirit as he deserved. R.I.P., Yannick, I apologize for my city for allowing this tragedy to happen.

  • Linke, Petra

    Hello everybody,
    I would like to thank you all for everything you have done to remember my one and only son.
    He was the joy of our life, vibrant, loving and enjoying everything he did. We don’t know how to live without him. He has left us after a beautiful 22 years.
    Thank you again, Petra Linke petra.linke (at) berlin.de

  • Jean Audino

    Yannick was a precious, wonderful human being, full of life, energy and love of life. He will be missed by all those he had touched. We love you, Yannick. Michael and Jean.

  • Sprague

    Thank you to Streetsblog and BikeNopa for honoring this young bicyclist who died on San Francisco’s automobile-first streets. Your portrayal of Yannick introduces us to the victim in a recent sad story. What a loss for Yannick’s family and friends! My condolences to all of you.

  • SFSeal

    My heart goes out to Yannick’s family and friends. He sounded like an amazing man who I would have liked to have met in my travels. Just a senseless tragedy…..Having lived in Berlin last summer, I can imagine the amazing biking Yannick enjoyed growing up. I wish one of my fellow San Franciscans had warned him of the dangers riders face in our city. He will remain in our thoughts forever.

  • Mike Bloomfield

    My heartfelt condolences to Mr. Nils Yannick Linke’s family and friends are almost eclipsed by the shame I feel knowing that such a vibrant young man was killed while visiting and cycling in our beautiful city. May he rest in peace. May his family find peace.

    Traffic on Masonic must be calmed and I hope that our public figures take note of this tragic event and move forward with all possible haste to quickly calm the traffic on Masonic. Consistently holding drivers fully accountable for their actions will also serve the public well.

  • PaulO

    I attended Yannick’s vigil tonight at Turk and Masonic. It was a wonderful tribute to a man I will never meet but will never forget. My heart breaks for the loss his family and friends must be experiencing. My condolences to each of you.

  • Mike

    So sad to see someone like him cut down just as his life was entering its prime. He looked like he really knew how to live, not just coast through life like so many others seem to. Condolences to the family.

  • Craig mellor

    Im really sorry for him and his family, he sounds like my type of person, were almost the same age.God bless you mate. love craig

  • joe garant

    Yannick…

    Ride through those beautiful clouds…ride fast, ride swift…

  • Erich Ziegler

    Bye Yannick,

    you were an easy going guy. I liked you and your music loving and I was impressed by your building you Bass guitar on your own. Fare well…
    Erich.

  • Chris E

    I just made a donation to MSF in Yannick’s memory; I wish I could do more. I never met Yannick but he seems like the kind of person I would have met in my world travels. I am very involved in couchsurfing and I understand he was just getting involved with it as well, so this feels like it happened to a friend who I just had not met yet.

    Even without regarding the political issues of safer streets and drunk driving, I am shocked by the brutality that was inflicted on this young man. I hope that justice is served in the legal case, that our society will get serious about safer streets and drunk driving, and that the lives of the family and friends of Yannick are enriched by his memory.

    Chris

  • Dear, dear Petra,
    I have only just heard what happened to you son Yannick and I am so sorry and sad for you. He looks like such a wonderful boy.I know in my heart how you and Sophia will miss him.

    Much love,
    Shelle

  • Jack McKee

    My friend, we approach two months since you have departed and it feels like years have passed. You never got to see my place at Rutgers, which is a shame, i’m sure you would have (strangely and humorously enough) showed me things about my own place of residence that I have not yet found, and could very well never find, you were good like that!

    hunter and i have taken your passing as a call to arms, but not one that destroys, rather as one that encourages us to do things, im pretty sure you’d be pleased.

    i could talk to you forever, falsely, through internet messages and facebook, yet when i call your line, i know it is a cut connection and that i’m bordering on crazy, this post is bordering on crazy! yet, i do NOT feel you are gone, and perhaps that feeling will not change.

    much love, and treace, brother.

    Hope you are groovin amongst the best Jazz artists you had ever hoped to know

    Jack