Bicyclist dies after crash with MBTA bus in Allston

Bicycle after crash at Brighton and Harvard.The bicycle after the crash. Photo copyright Scott Eisen.

A 21-year-old BU student died after a collision at Brighton and Harvard avenues with an MBTA bus.

Scott Eisen reports the bus seems to have simply driven away. WCVB reports police say the driver of the Route 57 bus did not realize he'd hit someone. BostInno reports the driver was taken off the job as the investigation continued.

Boston Biker has some more info on the bicyclist.

Traffic in the area quickly snarled after police shut Harvard Avenue to allow an investigation.

In June:
Bicyclist struck, killed in collision involving MBTA bus on Huntington Avenue.



Free tagging: 


Bicyclist die

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Sadly the 21 year old man has been pronounce death at the Emergency room.

Must be another well

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Must be another well qualified, attitude filled bus driver...thanks MBTA

Must be another well

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Must be another well researched, unbiased informed anonymous poster...thanks Internet

nobody goes to jail for

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nobody goes to jail for killing a cyclist, his life will be fine

Please wear your cycling helmet

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I know people will dislike me being on my high horse or for using a horrific tragedy to stand on a soapbox, but I don't give a shit.

Based on the the hat I see lying on the ground, it seems this person was not wearing a helmet. And I don't know if this cyclist would have survived if he had a helmet. But you increase your odds of survival with a helmet and you will mitigate exposure to head injuries and permanent brain damage with proper use of a helmet. If you don't do it for yourself, do it for the people that don't want you to die or see you with a traumatic brain injury.

Wear a helmet, for crissakes.

Stop it

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Helmets don't save lives. Not being hit by buses saves lives.

Lights more important than helmet

What I would most like to know is whether the cyclist had a headlight and a taillight, and if lighting (or lack thereof) was a factor in causing the collision. Were any streetlights burned out or otherwise non-functioning? For that matter, were the bus's headlights working properly?

Good point.

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This region needs a cycling safety initiative. Simple and inexpensive things like visibility and proper gear go a long, long way.


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The cyclist did have lights (on or off who knows) but that does not matter.

You should not have to wear neon and lights in order to not get hit by cars [and buses]. By the logic that one should have to wear bright clothes, a helmet and lights to avoid being not seen and survive - then every pedestrian should too. Also to note this is not some shadowed ninja domain. This is one of the most brightly lit intersections in the area.

The one thing that makes cyclists the safest is cars [and buses] whose drivers know not to hit them.
Look at Amsterdam. They don't have a cycling safety initiative calling for draconian measures that make people not want to cycle. But they have a very low rate of cars hitting cyclists.

Not going to win that argument

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Pedestrians don't expect to maintain a position alongside cars in the road as a bike does. Joggers that prefer to run in the road or run in places without sidewalks wear reflective material. Every car on the road is required to have working lights so why would we expect any differently for a bike that wants to equally share the space? Cars without lights on get hit all the time because they can't be seen adequately.

Bicyclists span the difference between pedestrians and cars. To require lights, as you would for a car, is completely reasonable. To recommend reflective materials, as you would for a jogger, is also completely reasonable.


Relying on Lux

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On a dark country road maybe but...

In the city, at least this part, only tertiary streets have street lighting (and other ambient lighting from stores, etc) that means that visibility on a clear night is almost better than on a rainy day. And even on those tertiary streets, this time of year with many leaves fallen and street lights less occluded, the lighting is quite sufficient. Any brighter and people would start complaining about light pollution.

When referring to pedestrians not having to use lighting I was referring to the road crossing kind, of which an area such as Allston has many.

There is also a happy middle ground between wearing all black and riding a darkly colored bike, and looking like a traffic cone.
A lighter colored top or bag should be more than sufficient, it doesn't need to be neon green. Or a rear reflector is more than sufficient for the bike. You don't need to be seen from the front if you're not salmoning. And headlights are supposed to be used in dark areas to see road hazards, not to be seen.

The onus is not on the biker to make themselves visible - when they quite are. The onus is on drivers to use their eyeballs.
Saying you didn't see someone because it was too dark means there is something wrong with your eyes or attention, not with the rider.

Massachusetts bike law

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Mass bike law states:

"You must have your headlight and taillight on if you are riding anytime from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise.

You must wear reflectors on both ankles if there are no reflectors on your pedals."

We'd expect the same from cars; if we want to share the road we should follow similar rules (to a certain extent, of course). It's not that hard to put lights on your bike and in my opinion, as a cyclist, it's necessary.

edit: also re: headlights, they are necessary. especially for those travelling in a bike lane where the potential to be doored is higher. how do you expect the person who is looking in there side view mirror to see you if you aren't adequately lit?


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Unless the streets are lit up like Times Square, it's very, very difficult to see a bike or anything else that is amid oncoming car headlights. I've come frighteningly close to being a bus-versus-bike case myself because of the lack of lights. Forget blame or anything else (and for all we know this has nothing to do with the sad story at hand)—it's an easy, effective safety measure.

A bike headlight is useful

if you want to make sure someone doesn't turn left across your path, and that people on cross streets (including other bikes!) see you coming.

Wearing dark clothing at night is stupid

Public attitude change is needed because always blaming motorists is just simplistic and conveniently avoids all self responsibility. Drivers not wearing seat belts is like not wearing high visibility clothing and lighting. They save lives and eventually the public grows to accept the safety value of being seen the way drivers learn to accept seat belts. Its simple self preservation that individuals empower themselves with instead of blaming others childishly. Using both headlights and taillights at night is the law along with having reflectors. The white bicycle color is a slight help too. Those advocating avoiding self preservation, aiming for a Darwin award should consider moving to NH and hanging out with anti-helmet motorcyclists and anti-seat belt drivers.

Please read my other post. I did not blame the cyclist at all, just bad road engineering. Ask yourselves why its usually wide vehicles like MBTA buses and tractor trailers, professionally driven on narrowed streets which most often killing bicyclists. Inquiry will help reduce dangers more than making groundless personal attacks.

Google Earth shows the curb go out much further than 6' - more like 8-10' like a parked Hummer H1. Travel lanes only look 11' wide, so a 10.5' wide bus next to a vehicle in the left lane has almost no buffer space. We also don't know if the cyclist was making an illegal right on red from Harvard St or if the bus had pulled out from the stop at Blanchard's - possible factors.

It Sure Is

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If you don't have headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, or a horn.

Idiotic bulb out probably killed cyclist

Photos show an enormous curb extension at the crosswalk that goes from the edge of the street all the way to the right travel lane instead of the 6' maximum projection allowed for bump outs. With narrow lanes and a 10' wide bus (10.5 with mirrors) there simply was no space for the rider between the bus and the curb extension.

The sad part is that these road treatments don't show any data that they reduce accidents. Instead, here, they killed a young man. Only the raised median island is an effective measure - the rest only looks safer while increasing contractor profits.

Go away.

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If you didn't hide in the suburbs you would know the intersection in question and know that you are wrong. There is one curb extension at the intersection and it is opposite where the rider was hit. Nor do curb extensions of any size matter. Not even if they are 2000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 feet wide so that cars have to drive on the planet Youranus to get around it.

Just stop your stupid and ill informed campaign for narrower sidewalks that color all your posts here. Just stop posting. Your views are not valid.

Wrong as usual

All reports indicate the accident was outside Redneck’s Roast Beef, exactly where the deadly bulb-out exists.

bump-out bullshit

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And if a car had been parked there instead I'm not sure how this would be different. Buses are large and bikes are small. Bike riders are very exposed. Buses have blind spots. Until we hear more about the details of what happened these suppositions are pointless.

button it assface.

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If you had your way you would remove bicyclists from the streets for more efficient movement of cars, so don't use this tragic death to throw out conjecture on the accident that pushes your own car-centric agenda on this blog and the Boston Biker blog. This is really going beyond boorish trolling and becoming tremendously disrespectful. If you were not witness to the event don't start making up your little just so stories; taking advantage of a tragic death to push your own petty, little fact-impaired arguments in people's faces is really repulsive. Start your own goddamned blog and grind your axes there.

So you are in the public trough?

Sounds like you must be in the business of making money off expensive road accessories which are at best useless, thus want no criticism of them. Cite some studies where money spent of curb extensions reduces accidents. Otherwise, cosmetic value is not worth the cost, snow plowing difficulty, loss of drop off areas for the handicapped, and danger to cyclists. Raised medians have actual data showing they save lives. Too bad roads are designed by urban planners who value aesthetics over maximizing the use of proven life saving features. Planners are the killers who fear criticism.

full disclosure

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I get no public monies and I am not a planner. In fact my opinion of planners is probably not a hell of a lot more positive than yours probably is, I just don't subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Cambridge has these designs all over their streets. Try "cutting through" Cambridge sometime. It's practically impossible because the damned streets are designed to slow cars down, and they do so well. In Boston bits and pieces of these designs have been implemented, but most of the streets are still designed to move cars quickly or some sort of compromise between the two, which results in stretches of fast traffic and then stretches that are frustratingly slow. If the whole shebang was designed for one mode - slow driving - there would be fewer accidents.

Also, bikers should assume that every car is being driven by someone like Mark K and therefore take all defensive precautions (helmets, lights, reflective clothing, one of those medieval spiked balls attached to a stick with a chain) in order to ensure your survival.

Raised medians are wonderful things. And they exist at this locale, so I'm not sure what your point is.

Condolences to the family/friends of this young man and the driver of the bus. This situation sucks.

Just responding to your personal attack

I did not attack the unfortunate cyclist, instead putting most of the blame on dangerous curb extensions promoted to serve design instead of safety. I don't blame children for acting like children its just what they are. I can blame not having enforceable laws on cyclists and no enforcement. If theft laws were never enforced, stealing would be rampant too. Can't blame the thieves.

The only time my insurance company paid out a claim was in 1989 when my car was parked on the street outside my Cambridge apartment and somebody broke my window and stole the radio. A couple times since drivers did manage to hit me driving without any injuries. I'm the perfect client for car/motorcycle insurers other than not needing or paying for collision coverage. Cyclists should be relieved when I'm on the road. Constantly witnessing them ignore traffic laws just reflects who they are and doesn't bother me any more. Why blame a skunk for smelling?

Yeah, I stopped going to or through Cambridge, or spending any money there since all the transportation removals. Just faster, easier and more pleasant to go elsewhere or send my money out of state to on-line merchants.

Raised medians are an example of a rare safety feature that has research data to show effectiveness. Most of the millions of dollars spent on other design features have no proven effectiveness! At least the FDA still requires products to be safe AND effective before mass deployment. I hope designers would learn some science so to stop killing people for a prettier sidewalk.

Again Mark, no one here

Again Mark, no one here believes you. Virtually everyone in this website see you as a man pushing an agenda for your driving convenience using safety as your excuse than an urban planner buff who carries a serious concern of current practices being too unsafe.

In other words, accusing John-W of being a corporate stool is not going to win you allies or make you be taken more seriously. You have no evidence or any signs his profession is anywhere near that area. Thus your entire premise seems to be anyone disagreeing with you is part of some corporate conspiracy. A dead end argument.

Again, if you are truly concern about design and safety design, you need to show it. I'm not going to tell you how. But I can tell accusing others disagreeing with you of being biased by money without any evidence besides just because the person disagrees is not going to do it.


What a sad event. Condolences to his family and friends.

Easy to solve

There's a camera at that intersection. And if the bus driver is at fault, there should be a law that allows for the execution of an (expletive) PUBLIC transit operator fleeing the scene of an accident with a death.

Camera Bus

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Who investigates the incident the city police or the company police the Transit police ?

Not to belittle the death of a young man

But these bicycle/car arguments that break out here after every single story involving a bike issue or accident is getting pretty repetitious. I know Davis Square Livejournal had a running flowchart that stipulated all arguments in every conversation about airplane noise over the area-- perhaps we need one for this forum for this issue?

Nothing new is ever learned with the back and forth, no one's opinions are changed, but there's a lot of butthurt to go around that always takes away from the actual issue itself. At least, IMHO that is. Let's just stipulate all the set arguments into the record and move on.

Represents a larger problem

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I agree that it's disheartening to come across these message boards when the bikes vs cars thing comes up, but it represents a much larger issue needs to be addressed more thoroughly by the local government.
Biking in a city like Boston, with it's narrow streets, aggressive driving, and confusing layout, is extremely dangerous. Painting "bike lanes" and sharrows on what used to be car-only traffic lanes basically set a death sentence for a few unlucky travelers.
How is it that it's legal for bikes and cars to share space, yet illegal for bikes and pedestrians to share space? It seems logical that a bike hitting a pedestrian would cause minor injuries, whereas a car hitting a biker holds far worse consequences.
For the person who mentioned the accident rates in Europe, please consider that Europeans grew up in a culture that shared transportation spaces, and even remodeled many city roads and avenues to provide bikers with safe and often even exclusive lanes for travel. This is a far cry from Boston, where Commonwealth Ave used to be a bustling community of automobile manufacturers, and where biking seemed dangerous and unnecessary considering the public transit options. Fast forward to 2012 and we are a more entitled culture, with very little patience for our neighbors. Once Menino painted those bike lanes and sharrows, the city encouraged a larger sense of entitlement from within the biking community. This should not be an argument on who owns the road. The biking community needs to demand safer alternatives, such as independent biking lanes, the option to use a sidewalk, and a much more aggressive police force. It's no secret that getting pulled over in Boston for a traffic violation is almost nonexistent. We all know people who drive under the influence consistently, as well as people who speed recklessly, and run through red lights or speed up for yellows. If the police force were to increase their aggression on the driving public, I assure you that the driving would improve. Not overnight, but there would be a significant difference in the safety of our roads (and we'd make a lot more loot in taxes!). Look at Los Angeles. They will not tolerate a car even trying to inch its way into a pedestrian crosswalk. They police their drivers, and the drivers fall in line.
So my point is that the battle between cars and bikes in Boston is only going to get worse as we move into the 21st Century. It's time for the local government to take these issues seriously. And no, I do not think the recent "Wear Helmets, Stupid" campaign is the right direction.

Errors made in the 1980's

There are historical contributors to current bike dangers. There was a bicycling boom that died out in the late 1970's. After that, there was a big move to narrow roads to slow vehicle speeds, converting roadway width to more sidewalk and sometimes a raised median. Now, after a few years of a new bike boom, the narrowed roads contributed to higher bike accident rates.

Our opportunity is to mark off part of the excessively wide sidewalks as bike tracks where appropriate. Bicyclist safety is more important than sidewalk cafe's and landscaping. Unfortunately, urban planning architects feel the opposite and are running things.

I ride through there daily for my work commute

And the 57 buses/cars frequently buzz cyclists along this stretch of Allston. I filed a complaint some weeks ago after I came to a stop at the red light at Spikes. Not even a split second after I stop, a 57 bus blew right by, within inches of me. Had I not been as far to the right as I was, I would have easily been run over by that bus.

Anecdotal stories aside, this area is not designed well. The curb extension at Redneck's does not match up with corner at Blanchards, as there is no extension at this point. I can't speak to what exactly happened in this accident as I arrived a few moments after it happened but this is the second accident in a month at this same area of the intersection. You have to wonder if MassDOT can take a look into any improvements that can be made here.

Knock it off with that baseless noise

The curb extension here is half assed and you know it. The opposite corner at Blanchards does not have the curb extension, so it pulls buses and right turning vehicles into this area. As a result, the bus must then pull and merge back into traffic. A better setup includes curb extensions on both sides of the intersection, so that vechiles are not pulling out and then back in. The bus would be able to pull up to the curb extension designed as a bus stop and continue forward without have to merge back in. Yes this will cause the cars and bikes behind the bus to be delayed or have to go to the left hand lane but so be it. Still, I do not think this solely contributes to the accident seen last night, as the biker appears to have been struck AFTER the curb extension. So this it would seem that the cyclist was ahead of the bus and therefore the bus is required by law to pass at a safe distance. The other possibility, as you have so callously mentioned here and on other blogs, is that the biker ran a red at Harvard to make an illegal right.

I noticed you keep sounding off here and on the other blogs with baseless "facts" about curb extensions being deadly but you are incapable of providing any kind of research into this subject. So I provide this, chapter 4 of the study conducted by Boston Complete Streets, looking at intersection setups that acomodate bikers, pedestrians and cars.

I think it is worth a read and does provide some in depth analysis but then again its clear that you think the urban planners of this city have an agenda to take away your freedom to drive, so do your whatever mental gymnastics you need to do to discredit this study.

Complete streets are the pigs in the trough!

One of the Cambridge Planners is a co-founder of the Livable Streets alliance. These organizations get most funding from road design firms. The design firms can't make money in Mass building new roads or widening roads, so they make more profits in making over existing streets more expensively.

That guide has a few good ideas and mostly bad ones. Worse, they supply no studies to justify most of the designs they are promoting. No Crash Modification Factors - how many fewer accidents can be expected for each specific feature. Wide and bold continental sidewalk markings are great - used in Europe for 80 or more years and long overdue in most of Massachusetts. The guide seems to ignore the demands of truck and bus turning radii, instead promoting the elimination of slip lanes and pork chop raised islands. That sort of thing helped kill Kyaw last December by MIT.

The only study backing bump outs found that standing on one six feet into the street will get drivers to yield quicker than if standing six feet back on the curb line. They didn't compare bump outs with just standing 6 feet out and protected by the parking lane to see if motorists stopped sooner or not.

Bicyclists, the elderly, and snow plow drivers all hate bump outs. The elderly and parents with kids, or cab passengers need places to be dropped off for just a moment. Such a transitory situation is not a major threat to pedestrians.

The guide is obviously written by urban planners and architects when they claim that huge bulb outs next to busy streets somehow make lovely places for benches and watching resulting traffic jams. Architects love pretty drawings that seldom look like end products. Actual traffic and civil engineers use 2-D technical drawings. The architects of your document need to do homework and justify features based on what decreases accidents, not what makes for pretty streets.


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How many local forums does Markki poison with this obsessive nonsense? At least a dozen.

I understand..

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...that he feeds from the car and narrow sidewalk trough. He gets all his money from a conspiracy of troll interests that keep him posting spewage to on-line discussion boards. This is a fact because I can just state it.

Came across this after the ambulance left

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Sad to hear the news update.

From what I saw in person, it's a strange location for an accident, so I'm curious to see what the results of the investigation are. There is no bus stop at this spot, so the only thing I can imagine is that the 57 bus was leaving from the Harvard Ave stop and side-swiped the cyclist while merging into traffic. It's also possible that the cyclist took an evasive maneuver to avoid something like dooring, and this put him into harm's way.

Also, Adam, it was Brighton Ave (east) that was closed, not Harvard Ave.

Harvard at Comm. Ave. was shut

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Heard it on the scanner; police at the accident scene even complained about traffic continuing to come down Harvard.


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I didn't check out Harvard and Comm. But I could see Brighton Ave east all cordoned off completely: sidewalk too. I had to cross the street to pass by.

(not that this is very important, just a detail)

So what were the results of

So what were the results of the investigation into the last bus/bike fatality in June? There's no sigh of it online that I can see.

Pitchforks and Torches?

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Are we going to have to start surrounding buses and dragging off slected drivers to get these murderous clowns off of the road?

Brighton Avenue

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When Brighton Ave still had the Watertown tracks in the left hand travel lane the road was much wider than it is today. It was still two lanes in each direction, but the median was much smaller -- maybe a foot or so. It's too bad when that stretch of road was redone in the 90s that no one had the foresight to leave room for what we need now -- full bike lanes, proper bus sized lanes, etc. It's seems like were trying to add back space that was eliminated less than 20 years ago. That's not very long in the lifespan of a roadway.

It's not poor design it's poor judgement

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It's a two lane road each way. If a bus, or any vehicle, is too fat to go around a cyclist in the lane then it is their responsibility to switch lanes to pass. Not half switch lanes to pass, fully switch lanes to pass. You have two choices when behind a cyclist - go slower than them until you can safely pass them without coming within several feet of them, or safely pass them without coming within several feet of them.
This basically means the only motor vehicles which can pass a cyclist (without multiple travel lanes) are motorcycles and scooters.

Bike lanes don't really help. If you are in a bike lane and a car passes you in the normal lane it is actually passing too closely to you. Plus you have people who are pulling through them to park (or buses at bus stops), turn, people who park in them, and so on.

What you need are no bike lanes at all and drivers who understand they are subservient to bikes.

Really I'd like to see the A line brought back with street running trolleys up Brighton Ave. At least with those they are confined to their tracks so they can not swerve to deliberately hit you. 57 bus drivers have a long standing reputation (going back to the 80s or farther) of harassing and threatening cyclists.