Driver of lumber truck hits bicyclist in front of Symphony Hall, runs over her bike

Boston Magazine reports on the crash this morning.



Free tagging: 


Hope she's OK.

By on

That area is an unholy mess right now. Please, everyone--take it easy, slow down, and look out for each other.

she's not OK

By on

She's got a mangled leg. That's not "OK." That's some pretty severe reconstructive surgery, anywhere from 2 months or more on crutches in a cast, the effects of using crutches (they cause their own problems), not riding a bike (which may have been her only way of getting around), then physical therapy to develop the muscles again just to walk. That's if she's lucky. If she's not, then she'll never walk the same way again.

I can't stand it when someone isn't mortally injured and people say "they're OK." I broke my wrist - a "minor" injury - and guess what? Due to the cast on my dominant hand, and living by myself...I had no way to do my dishes, bathing and getting dressed was a serious challenge, I couldn't do my job which required using a keyboard and mouse, and for 2 months I couldn't do any of the fun stuff that was keeping me sane. But I was "OK", apparently.

Jesus H. Christ--slow down and read.

By on

I did not say "she's ok"--I said "Hope she's OK." This is obviously a sensitive spot for you, and as a cyclist who rides through that area all the time, I feel a little extra shudder when I read about an accident like this. But seriously--it was a three word subject line--if you're in such a rush to rant that you completely misread it and accuse me of some kind of gross insensititivity, I'd say step back a little bit and breathe before you start typing.

we KNOW she's not "OK"

By on

It's clearly described that she was very seriously injured. So whether you "hope" it or not, she's NOT OK.

You really are a stubborn little one-note, aren't you?

By on

Actually the article says that the boyfriend followed up with Boston Magazine, said she'd had surgery and in his words "should be OK." So phew. Personally I'd be happy to be in one piece after a collision with a lumber truck. But really--feel free to keep projecting your own crazy sh*t, since you seem really invested in her NOT being OK.

Down Boy

By on

Reading comprehension.

no, she did not bike into the truck

“The truck just turned wide and closed her in,” said Dale Colby, who has been doing construction at the scene in front of Symphony Hall. “It brought tears to my eyes. Seeing that woman laying there—it squished her right in. I heard her scream and saw her tied up with the tire.”

Hard to square the two statements

Maybe it's a failure of my own imagination, but as a cyclist, I can't picture how this could have happened unless she wasn't paying attention. Not saying that she wasn't, but the description as reported right now makes no sense.

You must not bike much

By on

Very easy to understand. Truck overtakes cyclist, bangs a right turn, runs over cyclist.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING a cyclist can do about it because the truck driver has CHOSEN not to LOOK!

It happens way too much because trucks have a license to kill.

Yeah, actually, I bike a lot

which is why I know that the two statements describe two distinctly different situations. That's all I'm pointing out when I say it's "hard to square the two statements."

picture this

You're cycling down the street, paying attention. You come up to this crazy intersection where a lot is going on. You have the green light, you are going straight on green at a decent clip. All of a sudden, from your left, a huge truck plows in front of you making an announced right turn from the left lane. Sure, it needs to make a wide turn because it's a big truck, but does it need to run you down?
This kind of thing happens a lot, or almost happens a lot.

Yeah but

By on

That scenario can definitely happen, but there is no straight vs. turning option here if we are assuming that both the truck and bike were riding down Westland and turning right with the light. If it was something else, i.e. one party was on Mass Ave, then someone ran a light or did something else untoward.

I don't ride much in the city anymore, but I was always more worried about a car turning in front of me because they can turn much faster. A truck can't take a 90˚ corner at speed nearly as easily so there was generally more time to react and respond to one passing and turning in front of you.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I am not blaming this cyclist in particular or cyclists in general. I am simply trying to respond to an earlier post from the view point of discussing the potential causes of this accident.


By on

The thing is, when making a turn the rear end of the trailer basically suddenly jerks from going straight to 90°. There's not all that much time to react, one second its clear, the next there is a wall in front of you. Hence those yellow stickers on the back of most trailers.

I tend to ride (and drive) rather aggressively in general. However, on a bike I stay far back from large trucks and buses, and if I pass, I pass on the left, or when they are stopped at a light and I know I can defiantly get past them before they move. Part of this probably stems from seeing the back wheels of a trailer making a right go up and over the hood of a car when I was young: it gave me a healthy respect for large vehicles.

Thatbeingsaid, I'm not really blaming the cyclist here. I personally wouldn't get anywhere the blind spot of a large truck, but it's not exactly intuitive. The driver probably could have checked his mirrors better, and should have noticed he passed a cyclist earlier if it was the case. And of course the poorly marked construction site likely didn't help. It may not completely be the drivers fault either, from the description it just sounds like a genuinely terrible accident.

All I can say is thank god shes alive. From the looks of the bike it must have been terrifying.

Based on one quote

By on

One of the witnesses said:

The truck just turned wide and closed her in

Based on that, I'm guessing that he turned right by first swinging wide left knowing his rear axle was going to need the extra radius to make the turn around the construction going on. If he didn't use his turn signal or she was already ahead of the rear of the truck, his move left might have even made her think that he was about to hang a full left and go north on Mass Ave. This would give her the illusion of being safe to continue on/pass on the right only to then get trapped by his front axle coming back to the right and leaving her nowhere to go except under the back end as it approached to close the turn.

Even more likely

By on

The truck started to pass her and the driver just didn't give enough of a shit to notice that you don't pass a cyclist and then make a turn.

That's how Im picturing it

And when a hazard appears in front of me, I break. And I recognize that she might not have had time to react. That all makes sense. But there is a witness statement to the effect that she is pulled under a rear tire, I don't understand how that happens in the scenario you've speculated.

Bottom line, that area is a mess, and prudence requires everybody passing through to pay extra attention to everything, and move slowly enough that they have time to react to unexpected hazards. I just think the article is missing some information, and what is there is conflicting. Not assigning any blame here, and in fact I suspect there is no blame to assign.

Textbook victim-blaming, actually.

By on

"But there is a witness statement to the effect that she is pulled under a rear tire, I don't understand how that happens "

The witness statement is that she was cut off and then her leg wrapped around the rear tire. See how it's got two rear axles (*and* the tires on the forklift)? Dual-axles are like meat grinders because the two tire surfaces are right next to each other and going in opposite directions. The woman who was killed a couple years ago over in the South End by a tractor-trailor? She was practically shredded - they had to cover most of the side of the truck with white cloth to hide the body/blood.

"Not assigning any blame here, and in fact I suspect there is no blame to assign."

Bullshit. You repeatedly claim the cyclist wasn't careful enough. That somehow they didn't react to a massive truck turning in front of them. That they were traveling too fast.

I fully expect that in an upcoming article about a sexual assault, you'll say something like "Well gosh, I mean, when I'm walking down a street by myself at night, I'm looking out! I don't understand how this happened. I'm a guy and I do that, women should be even more careful."

You definitely are saying she

By on

You definitely are saying she wasn't, making a rash statement supported by anecdotal accounts based on your biases.

It's possible that the

By on

It's possible that the bicyclist was to the right of the truck on Westland and was also turning right but as the truck was turning she got caught underneath the rear wheels).

It's called a "right hook"

By on

...and it happens all the time, and it's illegal.

Step one: pass cyclist.
Step two: immediately slow down and turn, cutting them off.
Step three: cyclist slams into the side of your car.

Remember that kid who was killed in Sullivan Square? This is how he died.
Remember that kid who was killed on Mass Ave in front of Landry's? This is how he died.

You can take the middle of the lane to protect yourself from it, and people will zoom past you while giving you the finger, and then immediately cut you off. In fact, many of the things cyclists do to try and prevent dangerous behavior around them, only further enrages drivers.

Nearly happened to me last night on Columbus Ave - two idiots in an SUV slowly drove past me. Passenger looks right at me in the mirror. Driver looks at me in the mirror. Then without signaling, he turns right, cutting me off. I shouted "HEY!" and got told to "shut the fuck up, cracker" and the other one goes "BOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO." Apparently, "hit the YT" is a game now.

Biking the other way home on Columbus Ave, at every single stoplight, someone was making a right turn illegally (across the bike lane.) If you're making a right turn, you do so INSIDE the bike lane, because it's the lane closest to the curb in the direction you're turning, which is the law. If a cyclist gets pissed at you because you're in the bike lane for your turn, politely say "turns are made from the lane closest to the curb" and continue on.

I thought

By on

a "right hook" is when a vehicle turns right into the path of cyclist who is going straight. At the end of Westland Ave. where it meets Mass. Ave, all traffic has to turn right.


Right hook is the term for any time a vehicle fails to completely overtake a cyclist and turns into their path - regardless of whether they are also turning.

You could also cite a driver for "improper passing" - not having enough room to pass and running over the person you are passing.

I've survived enough years on roads to know that this is probably a situation where I would have taken the lane from some ways before the turn, knowing there would not be room for a driver to pass me. Of course, this would result in honking, threats, etc. Often enough, anyway. But it is the only certain way to ensure that the overtaking vehicle driver sees you and will not overtake you where there isn't enough space.

Exactly so, illegal and needs punishment

MA has made right hooks (a.k.a. j-hooking) specifically illegal. Most cops aren't yet with the program, but it's on the books in General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 14.

A motor vehicle operator passing a cyclist can only turn right when the way is clear and the turn can be at a safe distance and reasonable speed. Otherwise, a wreck (for Christ's sake, don't call negligence "an accident") the driver is legally at fault, criminally and civilly. That should come with a fine, a six-year insurance surcharge and maybe suspension.

Cops need to get with the program. The idea that a cyclist is at fault for hitting a car or truck that swung right before them is absurd.

Let the message resound loudly that right-hooking drivers get the works.

You're welcome to fantasize about evil, red-light running cyclists all day and night, but this is a serious issue, with lots of injuries and even deaths. Motor-vehicle operators surely don't like the presumption of guilt here, but they have it similarly in speeding tickets and rear-ending.

I'm very sorry for the

By on

I'm very sorry for the cyclist - but the news should be reported objectively. Unless you have information that the truck driver was at fault in what was sure an accident rather than a deliberate act, the headline should be rewritten. I've seen some amazingly bad riding on the part of bicyclists.

What's not objective about

By on

What's not objective about his headline?

"Driver of truck hits bicyclist" is a description of fact, not a fault determination.

It's like writing the headline "Train hits car". Obviously the train did not swerve to hit the car, and most likely the car was where it was not supposed to be, but the headline is still "Train hits car".

X hitting Y is can, perhaps

By on

X hitting Y is can, perhaps vaguely, imply that X is at fault. If it were not for X acting on Y, there wouldn't have been a collision. Fault hasn't/can't be determined overtly, but subtle cues are given, a mild editorialization imo.

Your train example, I never hear it described as "the car hit the train." How would that even happen? A train can't swerve out of the way of a car... Think about the quoted words in a literal sense.

A better title would be something like "Truck driver and cyclist collide."

The point is that when a

By on

The point is that when a "train hits a car" it is almost always, in fact, the fault of the car driver. Yet it is still described as "train hitting a car." So either that is a neutral description or else headline writers should stop using it. Maybe they should.

Even when some crazy truck driver drove into the side of an Amtrak train some years back, and killed two passengers onboard the train, it was still described as "train hitting a motor vehicle."

Truck driver and cyclist?

By on

How does that explain the mangling?

Get real - truck runs over cyclist is what we know. How it happened may be conjecture (educated guess is that truck driver's colon impaired seeing cyclist when he half passed her and he right hooked her), but the driver didn't collide with anything but his limited ability to steer a truck in the city in a safe manner.

Accident or not

The truck hit the bicyclist and crushed her bike. The bike didn't run over and crush the truck. The headline is correct even if the bicyclist intentionally wanted to harm herself, something which seems pretty unlikely.

I know nothing about this accident but it's pretty common for a car or truck to suddenly change lanes or pull off to the side of the road into another lane (and/or bike line) without checking to make sure there isn't someone there first. This is the most common type of cycling fatality.

BF 'reprimanded' police?

By on

Really? And what, they just hung their head in 'shame', and mumbled 'yes sir'?

Mass Ave is a nighmare for cyclist, pedestrians and drivers. Especially by areas like Symphony Hall. People, please be REALLY careful, whoever you are. Blaming police is easy, but fact is we don't have enough cops to secure the whole city, for traffic control, etc., There are a lot of reasons why this is the case. The real world isn't a TV show like CSI.

And No, I most certainly am not 'blaming the victim'. I was a I suppose 'professional' bike rider, that is I was a courier in NYC, midtown and DT, and as a teenager rode all over Boston, Cambridge, and NY on my bike. It was dangerous then (20 years ago), it's even more dangerous now.


By on

The way I read it, the boyfriend reprimanded police for not safely diverting pedestrian traffic away from the accident scene "because cyclists and pedestrians continued to pass through the area where the woman was hit" after the cops had shown up.


By on

my (minor) issue was with the word 'reprimand', which sounds like something mom would do, or boss at work.

Yes, he reprimanded police, and rightfully so

By on

Not about the crash but about the sidewalk:

Orange cones and rope, separating the construction crews from the roadway, mark the strip of Mass. Ave. where the crash occurred. There was little space between passing vehicles and pedestrians forced to walk in the street in order to circumvent the ongoing construction.

Only after the accident, and after the woman’s boyfriend reprimanded police on the scene, did officials erect a more secure path using rope and cones to separate pedestrians from the traffic.

The city, as usual, forgot about pedestrians and did not properly setup the construction site.

What makes this case remarkable is that instead of blustering and behaving badly, the police listened and did the right thing to fix the problem. Or so it seems.


By on

get off your high horse.

is it sad

By on

That I am waiting for MarkK to chime in and victim blame.

:( I hope she has a speedy recovery. awful.

I can't stand biking on Mass

By on

I can't stand biking on Mass Ave in Boston. The pavement is so rough that it's painful to ride, not to mention dangerous. It's gotten to the point where I really don't want to ride there. But there aren't a lot of parallel routes across those neighborhoods.

I have a fixed amount of attention. If I'm on full-time pothole patrol, it's a lot harder to look for other road users.

Pavement hazards are one of the most common causes of bike crashes.

I've submitted a Mayor's Hotline request, but haven't gotten a response.

My favorite

By on

are the potholes and insanely wavy/ridged pavement down by the bridge. Terrible.


By on

That area is a shit-show regardless of construction work obstructions. According to the Boston Globe article, there was no police detail present which I find pretty shocking at such a busy intersection with all of that work at Symphony Hall going on. Wishing a speedy recovery to the woman hit by the truck.

Not the Globe

Boston MAGAZINE article (assuming you mean the article linked in the original post above) - not the Globe.

Reeds Ferry

Higher Quality, Better Selection, just crappy drivers.

I hope the bicyclist is ok and with any potential settlement with her she stipulates that they have to get rid of that know it all Brimleyesque voice over guy on their commercials.

Classic Right Hook

By on

I hope citations were issued at the scene and she sues them blue.

But who am I kidding in a state where a CDL is a license to kill.

I've walked through here

By on

I've walked through here several times recently and it's a scary-ass hell-hole.

How many accidents/deaths before the city does something?! I'm so sick of having to walk around tense and defensive because drivers are aggressive and selfish. Cambridge doesn't have that air of tension like Boston does. Implement traffic calming measures like Cambridge. Set up stings like Somerville. Shut down Boylston and Mass Ave to motorists until they can learn how to be mindful and considerate of other human beings. Grrrrrrr.

I am so sorry for the woman and hope she recovers.

*Make sure the mayor sees this.


By on

Shut down Boylston and Mass Ave?? How many accidents have there been in that area, 1? 2? If you're walking in that area and you obey the walk/don't walk signals, it's really that scary? Should we ban cars? Ban pedestrians? Ban trucks? If you're walking around tense/defensive and scared of being hit by a car, there's something wrong with you. Of course biking in a city of narrow streets full of cars/trucks is dangerous and obviously there is still work to be done to make it safer for cyclists, but to say that it's scary to walk around the city is ridiculous.


By on

It was a generalization of the streets of Boston vs. DC, NYC, Chicago, etc. GENERALLY, streets in Boston are more narrow than in those other large cities.

Well it's a lazy generalization

By on

First of all, it's barely true: only in the oldest neighborhoods of Boston, those built in the 18th century or earlier, are there truly narrow streets. So basically the North End and Beacon Hill, and whatever is left of the rest of ancient Boston. Most 19th century and 20th century streets are significantly wider. Even pre-automobile, there was a fad for wider streets, and of course once the automobile became popular, many streets were widened purposefully "to ease congestion" (nevermind that it failed to do so).

Second, as I pointed out, the most dangerous conditions occur on our wide streets: Comm Ave, Mass Ave, Beacon Street, Tremont/Columbus in Roxbury, Brighton Ave, Blue Hill Ave, etc.

So bringing up "narrow streets" in the context of a terrible crash is a red herring: at best misleading and lazy, and at worst an outright distraction from resolving the pressing problems of our wide, dangerous streets.

It's difficult to relax when people continue to be injured and killed because the city is willfully blind or negligent when it comes to the dangerous conditions fostered by decades of street widening and automobile-focused design.

Grand Boulevards for Grand Armies may be the idea.

Napoleon III was said to favor them for large field army maneuvers in cities, parades and such.

They may also have some function for evacuation emergency.. capacity.

Boston rarely met a bit of Euro grandiosity it didn't want to emulate.

Military planners dread narrow street urban combat like Stalingrad and a ghost of those concerns probably sleeps in the origin plans for the infrastructure build out since the last half of the 19th century.

But yeah, they sure do suck if you are a pedestrian.

Isn't this a street safety and streetscape project?

Isn't the construction going on here to make the street safer, more bike/pedestrian friendly, and more attractive? How ironic that the city made the area more dangerous, when it had not been so previously. What does Livable Streets Alliance have to say about the mess they promoted?

Jerks like you delayed

By on

Jerks like you delayed construction of this project for close to 12 years.

Yes Mark, the driver gave the

By on

Yes Mark, the driver gave the cyclist a near fatal right hook because of street scape construction on a sidewalk nearby. That makes perfect sense, and thank you for posting your very rational and adult thought.

You are never over there

By on

I offer this as proof:

How ironic that the city made the area more dangerous, when it had not been so previously.

The area is rather dangerous.

So please be quiet while the mature adults discuss this.

If there were a drinking game

By on

where I got a swig of beer for every time you write something completely incomprehensible--like off the roof cuckoo bananas--I would be a fat, unemployed drunk.

Let me just get this straight--you're blaming Livable Streets for a traffic accident caused (indirectly at least) by a poorly supervised construction area and very possibly grievous driver error? Huh?


By on's still under construction, Mark. It's not finished. And I'm not even sure that the Livable Streets people had anything to do with this project. You got any proof that they did?

I really think that you write these ignorant things just to get a reaction to your comments. Well, it worked.

If LivableStreets had any

By on

If LivableStreets had any control of the construction practices for this project, they would have recommended separated bike lanes be set up with cones or stanchions so that cars and bikes wouldn't be sharing the narrowed roadway. If that were the case, the truck and the bike wouldn't have been so close to each other.

MassDOT has construction guidelines

Lots of them, especially maintaining pedestrian accommodations, ideally handicapped friendly.

So, blame me for interjecting information into the story, informing you all that the construction is for a streetscape project. The irony was lost on you that messing with a fragile road network causes trouble, perhaps more trouble than a streetscape project is worth.


By on

Messing with a fragile road network?

Who do you think you are talking to here? You never go to this area and we can all tell by your assertion that it was safe before. It was not safe before.

You are a know-nothing idiot who, worst of all know-nothings thinks that he actually knows something. You don't. You have no clue.

Just shut up and go away.

you are not your car

By on

Also you are clearly not familiar with the area.

Public space is about people getting around. Not people roaring through killing people with their vehicles and demanding destruction of communities so they can be lazy at higher speeds.

People. Not cars.

Please get a clue. Your car is not important. Your car does not make you important.

Not Impossible

By on

Nobody is saying ban all motor vehicles [that I could see]. They are saying drive carefully in congested areas [all areas] because the people walking or biking around have a right to be safe. Large vehicle drivers should not cavalierly speed around but tip toe gently.

But anyhow I would like to point out these:

How Often?

By on

Q: So Mark, how often does it happen that someone needs to have a piano delivered?

A: Once in a lifetime. At the symphony, more often for sure but a normal road is plenty wide for that.

Q: How often do people need to go from their apartment/condo/house to their place of work or classroom?

A: 5-7 days/week, through most of the year.

Q: Does it make sense then that walking and bicycles are useless or unnecessary in this space?

A: No, quite to the contrary. See above.

Q: Does it make logical sense to argue that because delivering a piano on a bike is impractical that the space has to be engineered around trucks?

A: No, of course not, and it doesn't require anything special anyway, but that doesn't stop you and your illogical grasping-at-straws gobbledygook. You have made that argument before and it's been soundly shown to be illogical but you continue to beat that drum of stupidity.

Nitpicking here. I've had my

By on

Nitpicking here. I've had my full-sized upright piano move with me 5 times. And when I move again, it will come with me. Of course I'm more the exception than the rule, but you do realize that Berklee School of Music and the New England Conservatory are located in Boston... right? Just saying.

Boston is not a safe city for cyclists...

By on

Anyone who says so is either an idiot or a liar. How many attacks on cyclists are we going to tolerate? I think it's time for a serious critical mass demonstration. Show the drivers ruining this city with their filthy cars that they don't own the streets. Stop traffic dead in its tracks.

Law-abiding Critical Mass

By on

That would be a totally awesome demonstration - hundreds of cyclists swarming the roads and stopping at every red light, stop sign, cross walk, etc. Both aggressive and passive-aggressive at the same time and nobody would have any right whatsoever to bitch about it - particularly when drivers can't even manage to obey the laws in rush hour traffic!

Way more effective than just speeding along!

Must use single lane

Mass Law requires cyclists to only use one lane (plus bike lane if available) on multi-lane roads. So for Mass Ave, they would have to let traffic through on one lane.

Not exactly correct

By on

MGL Chapter 89, Section 4C:

Section 4C. On any highway with more than one passing lane in the same direction, heavy commercial vehicles, except buses, shall be restricted in ordinary operation to the right-hand travel lane, and in overtaking and passing shall be restricted to the next adjacent passing or travel lane, and shall not use any other lanes except in an emergency. For the purpose of this section, heavy commercial vehicles shall be defined as those in excess of two and one half tons used for transportation of goods, wares, and merchandise.

This restriction applies to multi-lane controlled access highways (such as I-93), and would not be applicable to Mass Ave or similar streets.

Too Wide Turns

By on

The point was that trucks should use only one lane at a time, not 2 or more at the same time.