Hal Williams

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Hal Williams
Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grand River and Temple
near the Motor City Casino
Detroit , MI
United States

From Mode Shift

Hal Williams, a regular rider and volunteer with Detroit’s
weekly Slow Roll ride, was killed on Saturday, Sept. 29, after being hit
by an automobile, according to multiple sources including an online post from a family member. News of Williams' death came just days after an eight-year-old boy on a bicycle was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Mode Shift has no specific details about the most recent incident, except that it occurred in Detroit.

Williams niece Sabrina Sears described her uncle on the online site Give Forward.

was a veteran, a member of the 82nd Airborne division and possibly the
sweetest, most caring man anyone could know,” she said.

over a year, Williams had been volunteering as a corker with Detroit’s
Slow Roll ride. Corkers stand in front of vehicle traffic during a
bicycle procession to prevent accidents and work to encourage safe
habits on the ride.

“He was one of the backbones. I knew
if I asked him to do anything, he’d do it,” Mike Torres captain of Slow
Roll’s corkers told Mode Shift. “Just in the biking community itself,
he was loved by all. Everybody got along with him. He was just a super
nice guy.”

He first met Williams about 14 months ago at
his first Slow Roll. Torres helped him fix a flat on the old beat-up
beach cruiser he was riding and gently chided him that he should have
brought some tools with him.

“The next time I saw him on
Slow Roll he had a new bike," he said. "He bought himself a Schwinn and
had a bagful of tools and patch kits and tubes and was ready to do it
-- and from there on out he would always stop and help somebody who had a

Torres said Williams was in his mid sixties,
rode with a bicycle club called the Born Riders when he wasn’t hanging
with the Slow Roll crew and also belonged to the Outcast Motorcycle

William’s friend Robbie Samples, a Pontiac
resident who works and bikes in Detroit, told Mode Shift she was out
with him the night of his last ride.

“We had just had a
good time Saturday night we and were listening to the blues and some rap
music. We had rode around. He had helped us fix my sister's chain and
fix my brakes,” she said. "He had been telling me how he rides his bike
and he lost all this weight. He was telling me he’s glad that his kids
were adults and now it's time for him to enjoy himself. We had a good
time and I was just truly devastated to find out [what happened] the
next day.”

This past Monday, Slow Roll corkers wore
black memorial T-shirts to commemorate William’s life. Torres has also
organized a memorial ride to the Outcast clubhouse.

for the crash, he’s puzzled how anyone driving couldn’t have seen
Williams, since he always rode safe and turned on his lights at night.

think humanity’s losing a little bit everyday, because I don’t want to
blame it on the drivers. I don’t want to blame it on bikes,” he said.
“Being someplace is more important than anything else, because there’s
people who run over pedestrians, 8-year-old kids bicyclists; it doesn’t
matter. The numbing of the society is just amazing at this point.”

fromMode Shift

Ghost Bike Honors Detroit Cyclist's Life

By David Sands |
October 11, 2013

PHOTO: J. Singleton

DETROIT—People driving by Motor City Casino this week may see an
old Schwinn painted white and decorated with flowers. The bicycle,
propped up against a sign post at the intersection of Grand River and
Temple, is what’s known as a ghost bike.

Employees at the Hub of Detroit, a local bike shop, created it to honor Hal Williams, a local cyclist and Slow Roll corker who died following an automobile-bicycle collision last month.

is a ghost bike, and we’re locking it up to create awareness of what
happened to our friend Hal and what happens on the road,” Hub mechanic
and Detroit Greencycle
proprietor Joey Landis told Mode Shift during the bike’s installation
Thursday afternoon. “We were really surprised when we heard the news
[about his death]. He was definitely one of our favorite customers at
the bike shop. This is the least we can do.”

In the
coming weeks, the bike’s creators plan to add a plaque with Williams'
name. They invite members of the public to bring additional locks to
secure it.

More than 500 ghost bikes have appeared at
over 180 sites around the world since the phenomenon began in St. Louis
Missouri in the early 2000s, according to ghostbikes.org.

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,” the site explains.

currently lists only a handful in Michigan, including one in Canton and a
Royal Oak ghost bike, believed to be the first in the state, which
memorializes Jacqueline Robinson who was killed in a hit-and-run in 2008.

Those involved with Williams’s memorial, which was installed at the same intersection where Councilman Ken Cockrel's son was hit on his bike in 2010, are also interested in installing a ghost bike for another cyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run in Southwest Detroit earlier this week. That person’s identity still remains a mystery.

Police told Mode Shift that an unidentified man on a bicycle died after
being struck by a motor vehicle on Michigan Ave around 32nd Street at
about 8:35 p.m. Tuesday night. The suspect, who is thought to have been
driving a dark-colored SUV, left the scene of the crime. DPD’s fatal
squad is now investigating the incident.

department’s Office of Public Information had no information about
William's death. Landis believes he was riding along Grand River the
night of his death.

The two crashes are part of a series
of fatal bicycle collisions that have taken place in Detroit in recent
weeks. Another cyclist, an eight-year boy named Darrin Wilhite was killed by a hit-and-run driver last month.

told Mode Shift he’s concerned about the incidents and hopes the ghost
bike will help raise awareness about safe driving habits.

got me freaked out,” he said. “I’m nervous about the people I know and
those I don’t know too. I want cars to pay attention.”