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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