Hey, there! Log in / Register

Bicyclist dies after being hit by truck in Cambridge

Amanda Phillips, 27, of Cambridge, died today after being struck by a landscaping truck at Hampshire and Cambridge streets in Inman Square, the Middlesex County District Attorney's office and Cambridge Police report.

Phillips was hit around 12:17 p.m. and was taken to Massachusetts General, where she was pronounced dead. Authorities said their investigation into the crash is "open and active."

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Free tagging: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

She was reportedly "doored" (car opening door into bike lane), and ended up in the path of the truck. From the sound of it, there wasn't anything the truck driver could do.

A sad replay of a crash in Central Square, Cambridge years ago, when a woman was doored, fell into the travel lane, and crushed by a bus.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE CHECK YOUR MIRRORS AND SWIVEL YOUR NECK AROUND AND LOOK FOR TRAFFIC - CARS AND BIKES - BEFORE YOU OPEN A CAR DOOR INTO TRAFFIC! In Cambridge, this is considered the fault of the door opening motorist with good reason - that motorist has the most control and ability to avoid collisions. In general, it is the smart thing to do.

up
Voting closed 0

To make it a habit to open your door with your right hand as it forces you to move your body more. It's not perfect, but it helps. Since moving here, I've become much more conscious of making sure to check my mirrors for cars and bikes (lots of blind spots around corners with parked cars in the more residential streets when they turn around the corner).

It's incredibly sad that such a small mistake can be so utterly costly.

up
Voting closed 0

If you are holding on to a door and another motor vehicle hits that door while you are hanging on to it, it won't go well for you, either.

I saw a collision like this once. The driver was pulled right out of the car by the impact (people don't wear seatbelts when exiting).

up
Voting closed 0

You can see further back through you mirror that you can cranking your neck. A few seconds isn't worth a life; undo your seatbelt, look in your side mirror, and wait until whatever is in your blind spot rolls out of it. Then exit.

up
Voting closed 0

I was taught that the mirrors are for your blind spots. The are NOT EVER a substitute for looking. This was an important and mandatory part of my licensing exam.

Don't know where you learned to drive, but the notion that mirrors are the primary means of checking around is absurd. Or, maybe, people have just gotten lazy.

up
Voting closed 0

That was on my exam too. For covering the blind spot immediately adjacent to the car on the left or right.

When getting out of the car? I can see better and farther what's about to come up on my side by looking through the side mirror for about ten seconds that I can trying to use my Xray vision through the b pillar immediately behind and to the left of my head.

up
Voting closed 0

I can see FAR better what's approaching from behind my immediate left from my mirror than over my shoulder. I have my mirrors adjusted for proper blind spot coverage (i.e. I see what's next to me, not behind me, when I look in the sideview), so when exiting, I have to lean to the window to see behind me. I do that for 3-4 seconds to confirm that my door is not going to take out a cyclist or that a car is not going to take out my door.

My head doesn't swivel 180 degrees, and if it did, I would see a whole lot of car structure which does not interfere nearly as much in the mirror view. Looking over my shoulder is more like a 150 degree view, i.e. the blind spot.

up
Voting closed 0

I need to see the side of the car (just the door handles) in the mirror to get a frame of reference. Added plus of some overlapping coverage with rearview mirror so that you don't accidentally miss a whole sector if you fail to look in one mirror.

up
Voting closed 0

You may not realize it but you're adjusting your mirrors so that there is more of a continuity between side-rear-side mirrors but by doing so you're limiting the field of what you can see. Once I had the difference pointed out to me I changed them and it took a short while to adjust but (in my opinion) made a big difference in situational awareness. I'm good about doing a head check before changing lanes but having the mirrors adjusted properly I already have awareness of what was formerly the blind spot. I challenge you to give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-adjust-your-mirrors-to-avoid...

up
Voting closed 0

If you can see the side of your car in your side mirror while sitting normally, you've made a huge blind spot where overtaking cars are are in the most dangerous position. To eliminate that spot, adjust your mirror so that you can't see the side of your car until you lean over so your head is almost touching the window. Unfortunately, this creates a small blind spot that overtaking bicycles can occupy, so you have to remember to lean over to check that area before opening your door, or turn around and look. Neither of those is much of an imposition, considering the stakes.

up
Voting closed 0

Mirrors are "for" blind spots?

Not quite.

They give you some view of what's behind you, but for most vehicles and drivers, even with the most optimal angling of mirrors - some blind spots will remain.

In many cases, the blind spots are to the sides - between what can be seen in the mirrors and what can be seen by the driver when primarily looking forward. That's why you're obligated to turn your head & look when changing lanes - even if you don't see anything approaching in your mirror.

The existence and location of blind spots varies - depending on the geometry of the vehicle & driver that defines sight lines.

This isn't so much about what Swirly said as my having read a couple of news articles (& accompanying comment boxes) on similar topics in the last week or two and seeing an alarming number of people make remarks along the lines of "mirrors eliminate blind spots"

up
Voting closed 0

But "cranking your neck" is like exactly what you do to make a head check in your blind spot. Ditto to what Swirly said on it being complimentary.

up
Voting closed 0

Just pointing out that I don't think your idea works as well as it might sound on first hearing it. See my reply to Swirly.

up
Voting closed 0

Also see my point where I say "It's not perfect, but it helps."

up
Voting closed 0

Always always always be aware of where you are and what's moving toward where you're about to move. When you're in a car, on foot, on a bike, or just standing still.

But since it's me talking, I'll also point out that one could also say that it's the city's fault for putting the bike lane right next to the car lane.

up
Voting closed 0

Well, there is, but only on interstates and expressways with limited access.

There is a travel lane next to the bike lane, so the alternative would be for cyclists to use that lane.

But, hey, it is Cambridge and one could argue that there is no need for a car travel lane or parking, if you want to go there. Not like there aren't other roads to get to Inman Square.

up
Voting closed 0

It slows down traffic (both car and bus) and lowers the total throughput of the road.

In LA they have the rather sensible habit of centralizing the parking for a block with a series of inexpensive parking structures in the middle of a block containing destinations like restaurants and shops. You drive to within a block of where you need to go, then get out and use your legs. Kind of like here, except with less frustration.

Edit: s/narrow/busy/

up
Voting closed 0

It is good urban design, but only if it doesn't push road use beyond capacity. Fair amount of this in Portland, OR, too.

That can be mitigated by making the streets safer for cycling and walking, and mixing commercial areas with walking-distance housing.

up
Voting closed 0

that increasing road capacity invites more car traffic, but I really don't see how that argument applies when the roads are already beyond their design capacity. Especially if everything else (namely population, transit layout, distribution of population and job centers) stays more or less equal.

up
Voting closed 0

It is very well known and verified phenomenon. Too complicated to explain in a comment, but there is a wealth of literature on the subject.

The standard interpretation is "build bigger roads, get more traffic". However, it also applies to pretty much any facet of traffic infrastructure, including parking.

The real issue with Cambridge not building up or building more sensible parking structures to replace street spaces has to do with the cap on parking spaces, and how those parking spaces have "migrated" to areas of intensive development over the years, and fallen into private hands. That has prevented smaller parking structures in commercial areas of non-commercial districts. One reason Kendall ended up with so many also has to do with their former use akin to the downtown "mud lots" - when the cap went in, there was a lot of parking space in bulldozed and vacant lots of the area, so the developers naturally offered to "replace" that parking with privatized structures (of course).

up
Voting closed 0

...it is?

Also, you're missing the point of my question. "Build more roads, get more traffic" isn't an experiment you can run in isolation from everything else. Traffic increased with time because there are more people, and more of them are able to afford cars. Sometimes the roads came first, sometimes they came second.

But that's not my real argument. My real argument is that rush hour traffic in Boston (not weekend trips, not "let's run an errand across town at 2pm") in Boston is not elastic the way "induced traffic" theory assumes it is. Not when comparing big roads to cowpaths, with the same exact everything else (remember, I'm saying widen the roads, not widen the roads AND grow the city).

up
Voting closed 0

why don't you do some research and read the literature like was suggested earlier and stop asking stupid questions

up
Voting closed 0

There was a bike boom in the 1970s that wound down by the late 1970's. Cambridge City planners started doing "road diets" since the 1980's without thinking about leaving room for cyclists. They removed two travel lanes in Central Square, giving the space to wider sidewalks, claiming it would make pedestrians safer. It failed to do so. They also narrowed travel lanes to slow traffic by 2 mph. The sad consequence is not enough roadway for cyclists to be safe. A woman died in Central square due to the poor road redesign.

Cambridge planners also narrowed travel lanes throughout the city without thinking of cyclists and hopefully slow drivers by 2 mph. This too made cycling unsafe. So, enjoy your wider sidewalks with room for cafe seating along with added trees and brickwork where safer roadway was removed. Cambridge Planners killed and injured cyclists for it.

up
Voting closed 0

I have no problems with slowing traffic down. Not to a crawl, obviously, but we don't need to encourage people to drive fast on mixed-use streets with buses, cyclists, and pedestrians present.

up
Voting closed 0

bike lane available to them, there is no legitimate reason to allow them to use the other travel lanes instead. If a sidewalk is available, do we legally allow pedestrians to walk in the street? Of course not. Same principal should apply to cyclists. You demand these special facilities, so you should be legally required to use them when they are provided - and NOT be allowed to use other travel lanes, sidewalks, pathways, etc.

up
Voting closed 0

Which has what to do with what?

1) This accident occurred where there isn't a bike lane.
2) A bike lane isn't available if it is blocked or unsafe.
3) The right lane of a multi-lane road is available for cars. Does that mean cars shouldn't be allowed to use the left lane to pass a slower vehicle?

up
Voting closed 0

Maybe bike lanes are dangerous to use. Some by design (in the door zone sometimes know as death lanes). Other times because they fill with debris or potholes.

up
Voting closed 0

Should be a goal not a failure. Slower is safer

up
Voting closed 0

How fast was the parked car going?

up
Voting closed 0

It takes less than a second for a parked car's door to open into a bike lake (or the rightmost part of the "car" lane where bikes ride when there's no dedicated bike lane). A cyclist (or even a car that's driving close to parked cars due to narrow roadways) has very little warning that a parked car contains a person who is about to open a door.

up
Voting closed 0

But since it's me talking, I'll also point out that one could also say that it's the city's fault for putting the bike lane right next to the car lane.

Umm... not sure how you can say that when there isn't even a bike lane here.

https://goo.gl/maps/6KSHHLTaowS2

(http://i.imgur.com/7d2Rpxh.jpg is the scene of the accident, just to show that the Street View is relevant)

up
Voting closed 0

Personally when I open a driver's door, I always open it about 3-4 inches, rotate my body into positions/settle my purse/do a check the lights are off, and then finish opening it. This gives anyone oncoming 20-30 seconds to see the door is opening and make appropriate measures. People who just swing theirs doors wide open in one quick arc seem like they're tempting fate, whether that's dooring a bicycler or getting your door ripped off by somebody speeding past in a car.

up
Voting closed 0

but, that doesn't signal to me that you see me. Basically whenever I can tell a parked car is occupied, I signal left and move into the travel lane.

It is especially hard to control the reflex to swerve when a door or a pedestrian pops out. It would be better to remove on street parking in more of these areas, but that is hard on small business.

up
Voting closed 0

There are reverse bike lanes like this in Brookline and Cambridge. But mainly to provide a logical shortcut to bikes on one-way roads that cyclists would want to ride down wrong-way anyway, because it's so much shorter.

Seems like it has potential as a safety multiplier if they figure out how to incorporate all the different complications in making turns when going the other way, here.

up
Voting closed 0

Have you been riding on some of those lanes?

Opposing traffic on the Rue Rachel lane is horrible, they are too narrow, they are not maintained, and it makes crossings at intersections are even more confusing.

In other words, just because you build cycling infrastructure doesn't mean it is an improvement.

Anne Lusk is quite meh at analyzing data.

up
Voting closed 0

Under Massachusetts law, a collision with opening car door is automatically considered to be the fault of the parked car driver .

up
Voting closed 0

Left side mirrors should be required on bicycles or the rider's glasses or helmet so they are less likely to make unsafe lane changes. This crash and the fatality in Central Square were from cyclists swerving in the path of approaching large vehicles. all other vehicles on the road are required to have mirrors, so why not bicycles? In cases like this, they can save lives and even one life is worth such a new law. Sure, hitting the brakes and maybe crashing into a car door sucks, but it is more likely survivable than getting run over by a truck or bus.

up
Voting closed 0

nowhere above did it say the cyclist in this instance swerved.. it says they were doored.. So hit by the door . fell off bike ..in front of traffic.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/06/24/cambridge-cyclist-was-kille...

Now i do agree that the visibility and ability to see are important on both sides. Helmets , lights and sight.

up
Voting closed 0

It was only a matter of time before someone was killed in that intersection. I was doored in that exact spot six years ago, but was fortunate not to have any traffic following behind. There is zero enforcement by traffic police at that intersection (one of the more dangerous in Cambridge at rush hour), with narrow lanes leading drivers and cyclists to take unnecessary risks, charging around turning vehicles and cutting into the paths of passing and oncoming vehicles/cyclists. The traffic signals prioritize vehicular traffic at the cost of safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. The city needs to increase enforcement and introduce traffic calming measures before another person is killed or seriously injured.

up
Voting closed 0

Cambridge has been narrowing driving lanes since the 1980's, before they ever thought of cycling or bike lanes. After narrowing lanes to slow traffic an average of 2 mph there was not enough lane width for the safety of cyclists. The narrowed road space thy gave to sidewalks and trees. Bad trade-off.

up
Voting closed 0

It is only a matter of time before someone dies at almost ANY location with an urban population density.
Just add more time, and the scythe will swing.

up
Voting closed 0

When will we realize the limits of physics? Mixing bikes, pedestrians, cars and other road users causes death.

up
Voting closed 0

What are you advocating for, then? Cycle tracks? And are you saying pedestrians should only cross above or below streets, never at-grade, at a crosswalk?

up
Voting closed 0

politically driven dumb fuks who think answers are derived on public comment sections STFU and let compassionate non-partisan thinkers solve the problems of entangled moving bodies with widely divergent momenta.

up
Voting closed 0

Calm down; getting so worked up in the morning can't be good for you. I asked you polite follow-up questions because a lot of people start their bike conversations this way, and it's code for bikes should go back on the sidewalk.

Now here's the thing that "compassionate non-partisan thinkers" have come up with: http://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/cycle-tracks/

I hope you learned something, and I hope you also figure out that I may be a "partisan", but my heart is in the right place. And that I'm very compassionate, because I chose not to judge you in the first place, I merely asked you questions to make you think. I definitely have a judgement of you now, though. Grow up a bit, would you?

up
Voting closed 0

right away. When you grow up you too will understand to identify numskuls immediately.

But thanks for the advice.

up
Voting closed 0

I think you should go back to Reddit.

up
Voting closed 0

I looked at the Nacto.org link referenced above. They don't get it. Here is a gedunkin for all of you. What happens when 100 cyclists come to a stop light in heavy vehicular traffic while hundreds of people are crossing the street? Picture this, and you'll start to realize that Nacto's kind of success equates to a funnel with grapes and bowling balls all trying to get through at the same time.

up
Voting closed 0

It works perfectly well in Northern Europe. It works well in Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville, almost all of the time.

up
Voting closed 0

because you accept a few needless deaths a year with less than 1% of the population participating. Clown.

up
Voting closed 0

The more bikes on the road, and the more road users are educated on sharing roads with bikes, the safer we'll be. That's the way it is. I've been biking for 10 years. I understand what is at stake. I'm not sure you do. You just like to flame.

up
Voting closed 0

not only misinformed, but a baby. I've been biking for 48 years, come back in 25 when you might have gained some wisdom.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't count when I biked as a kid. I only count when I started commuting on the street. Continue flaming. Maybe you'll get it out of your system.

up
Voting closed 0

period. My original post is heartfelt compassion and a plea to end the cycle of needless death followed by trotting out the same old, same old including the tactic of personalization; "what would *you* do?", "go back to Reddit", "calm down". You characterize my responses as flames; I stick by my first impression of you.

Now excuse me while I interact with some adults.

up
Voting closed 0

I hope you get some therapy some day. It can help a lot. You'd be surprised.

PS, you began your response to me w/ curses and continued w/ personal invective. I continue w/ all my responses to you, to act as though you're a fellow human being deserving of respect. I'd say you are a hypocrite.

up
Voting closed 0

or The rapists? You've got a blank space baby...

Hahaha, you edited your comment after I replied. You followed me from one comment to the next, and did I hurt your sensitive feelings using big boy words?

Ok, you win, have fun biking and dying.

up
Voting closed 0

Yup, I added to it when I realized your posts don't match what you proclaim. You may wear your heart on your sleeve, but it's filled with anger.

up
Voting closed 0

while you are complacent about the unnecessary death of a young woman consoling yourself in the bromides of finding fault in others.

up
Voting closed 0

Don't tell me how I feel. Have a great day.

up
Voting closed 0

you'll stamp your feet and run out of the room with tears in your eyes?

Face it Dot, you thought you would be clever and now you find yourself without a net. You better hope someone comes and releases you from the petard you've hung yourself from.

I knew the first person to reply demanding answers is part of the problem. You are so predictable, you even need the last word.

up
Voting closed 0

I live downtown and the behavior of many bikers (not all) is ATROCIOUS. Some of it is legal - but personal safety (riding in downtown traffic with no helmet - seriously? - hello Darwin).

But the behavior is insane - darting between cars waiting at lights/in traffic, racing through pedestrians against red lights, riding down the sidewalk, riding the wrong way on one-way streets, no lights on their bikes at night. Riding next to parked cars in a travel lane when there is a bike lane on the left side of the road with no parked cars next to it (Comm Ave), riding through parks and pedestrian bridges marked no bikes. The list goes on. From the reports - this accident was caused by a careless driver that doored someone (and my personal thanks to everyone out here for making me more aware of cyclists and the dangers of things like that).

But the biking community has to start spreading safety awareness and road sharing etiquette in their own community. You like to say that we need to share the roads. Great. Then stop acting like they belong to the cyclists just because you are more vulnerable - that's a risk you take in biking. People are going to make mistakes - and from what I've read on this site, it's not if you get in a bike accident - it's WHEN! You are engaging in an inherently dangerous activity driving in traffic. Cyclists need to stop making everyone else's lives an adventure just crossing the street.

Note - not blaming you Dot net - you sound like you try to be responsible. Unfortunately about half of your two-wheeled brethren need training wheels based on what I see in a 6 block walk to work every day.

up
Voting closed 0

Stevil, I understand what you're trying to say. I can only echo our former bike czar, Boston is one of the most aggressive and difficult places to drive/ride/walk in the US, if not the worst. Skills and scofflaws abound, and everyone interacting in the street responds with aggressive, sometimes unlawful behavior to compensate.

Jaywalking, the Pittsburgh left (first car turning left without giving way at a green), accelerating for yellows and following others past red lights, speeding, unlawful passing and overtaking, not yielding for pedestrians. These are behaviors that cars and bikes often share in, alike.

I just want everyone to be more careful out there. Cyclists will learn quick though, because we are among the most vulnerable, and people are not used to us as much as pedestrians (even the jaywalking ones).

up
Voting closed 0

First Off: Why on earth did you post anti-biker sentiments on an article about a woman who was killed as a result of carelessness on the part of a driver? What does any of the recklessness you're mentioning have to do with this incident? Do you hate people who bike so much you simply have to take advantage every opportunity possible to complain about them?

The majority of fatal bike accidents occur because of the carelessness on the part of person operating a car. This case is not an exception. Have you ever ridden a bike in the city? I feel like a lot of folks that complain about bikers or even hate them would change their tune really quick if they tried commuting around a major city on a bike for a while. I'm a fairly conservative rider yet I'm constantly faced with drivers exhibiting dangerous behavior. Swinging doors open into the bike/traffic lane, passing very close and very fast, quickly changing lanes or turning without signaling, pulling out of spots into the bike lane without checking for bikes, swerving around me angrily (and at speed... usually while yelling at me). I honestly feel that at least part of the problem is that people have this attitude against everyone on a bicycle and therefore, even if it's not entirely conscious, act aggressively on the roads towards them. It is important to realize that reckless bikers and drivers are both in the minority. And while both need to be curtailed, it is exceedingly rare that a reckless bike rider injures another person. The same cannot be said about the reverse.

up
Voting closed 0

First off - the post was in response to a comment about "sharing" the road. It wasn't "anti-biker" unless you consider an admonition to be safe and obey the rules as anti-biker.

I love biking - and do occasionally around the river. I refuse to bike on the city streets. I think it's way too dangerous.

Read your post right before leaving for home - this is what I encountered in my 6 block walk:

Biker number 1 - fails to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk - buzzes within a few feet of him

Bikers 2-3 - ride through red lights

Biker 4-5 - riding down the sidewalk next to the Public Garden among dozens of pedestrians.

That was the first block before entering the Public Garden. Upon exiting the Garden I observed:

Bikers 5-6 - go through the red light at Arlington and Comm - one goes the wrong way down Arlington in the traffic.

That's at least 7 traffic infractions for 6 cyclists in 5 minutes.

Lost count after that - but of the several bikers I observed going inbound EVERY single one went through a blatantly red light. One biker chose to drive next to the parked cars rather than in the bike lane.

Outbound bikes better behaved only because there were no red lights when they were at the intersection - and at least all were in the bike lane.

Somewhere between 1/3 and half had no helmets.

This is my experience every day (including a couple of extremely close calls where lucky timing was the only difference between a close call and an extended trip to the hospital).

There was almost a 100% failure rate of these 15-20 bikers to observe basic laws, safety and etiquette. And then you have the audacity to say that the majority of accidents are due to careless drivers? Simple statistics says it takes 2 to tango and it's likely a 50/50 ratio.

up
Voting closed 0

Bicyclists need to ride outside the door zone at all times, even if this means they are 'blocking' the 'car lane'
But many don't because they don't want to be harassed (honking, yelling, threats of violence).
There will always be on-street parking in Boston and Cambridge.
There will always be narrow lanes.
Please do not harass bicyclists who you think are in your way.
Please always ride outside of the door zone.
(Bicyclists may frequently be traveling faster than the cars anyway, given that most delay is at the signals.)
Please, Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline: no more Door Zone Bike Lanes. It's hard enough to convince bicyclists to stay out of the door zone and motorists not to harass without official markings discouraging safe bicycling.
If you have to have a narrow lane (here it was 12 ft travel lane, 7 ft parking lane), but a Shared Lane Marking in the middle of the lane to legitimize riding in the middle.
If you have to do a bike lane, mark a 3 ft hashed buffer between the PARKED cars and the bike lane.

up
Voting closed 0

Is not the answer. It's never been the answer.

If you have to do a bike lane, mark a 3 ft hashed buffer between the PARKED cars and the bike lane.

Wrong. If you have this kind of space (which you can easily have if you remove precious parking from one side of the street) you can move the bike lane inside the parked cars. But I'm sure Paul will give me a bunch of straw men and red herrings as to why that is unsafe.

up
Voting closed 0

If you were driving a car and turning right into the driveway, would *you* see a cyclist in the bike lane who was behind the SUV? https://goo.gl/maps/MHJqSstoiPQ2

How about behind the van? https://goo.gl/maps/ZNbQGFLRjBu

If you hadn't been there before, would you even *know* there was a bike lane back there?

up
Voting closed 0

The idea with setups like these is they force cars to turn, THEN interact with cyclists at a 90-degree angle. Drivers are also expected to, after turning, look for bikes before crossing the cycle track. This is much easier to do when there's 10+ feet between the travel lane and the bike lane than when they are next to each other.

As for drivers not knowing there's a bike lane there, I think the bright green markings along with the bike symbols make it fairly obvious.

up
Voting closed 0

But it seems to me that the most dangerous interactions between bicycles and cars occur when there is A: Passing and B: turning. Thus I propose that cars are not allowed to pass anything, or turn at all.

up
Voting closed 0

I am a traffic engineer, and the most dangerous interaction between bikes and cars is absolutely turning. That's why separated cycle tracks and protected intersections are so great for safety - they separate turning and interacting with bikes into two separate actions.

up
Voting closed 0

I've never heard any recommendation to turn 90 degrees, then stop. In fact, when a motor vehicle takes a turn, it's generally at a 45 degree angle when it's rounding the actual corner. Drivers do have to stop for pedestrians on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, but pedestrians generally go 3 mph, so you don't have to look nearly as far. Bikes go much faster, which is why you're NOT SUPPOSED TO RIDE ON SIDEWALKS. Painting part of the sidewalk green won't change these facts.

I've never seen a cycle track around here that's more than 10 feet from the travel lane.

Cars are more than 10 feet long. And how would a 40 or 53 foot vehicle line itself up at a 90 degree angle in a 10 foot space?

The lane needs to be identifiable *before* starting the turn. If there's green paint and bike symbols on the ground behind the parked cars, drivers won't see it in advance.

up
Voting closed 0

The cycle track example I was replying to is 10 ft from the travel lane.

The bike lane itself is 5+ ft wide, then there's a 3+ ft buffer, then a 7+ ft parking lane. 3+7=10.

I'm also not suggesting that vehicles turn a full 90 degrees, then stop and look. Although that would be safest.

Instead, what I'm suggesting, and what the newer cycle track designs reflect, is the idea that making vehicles make sharper turns forces them to slow down and gives them a better view of cyclists and pedestrians.

Also cycle tracks =/= green paint on the sidewalk.

up
Voting closed 0

If you move the bike lane between the parked cars and the sidewalk, there is no where for the bike to go if the bike lane is blocked by debris or a poorly parked car.

up
Voting closed 1

Agreed.

I think all bike lanes adjacent to parked cars should be restriped as no-bike lanes. (Or the right half of the bike lane should be, if it's wide enough so the left half is outside the door zone.) That's where you really *don't* want to ride.

up
Voting closed 0

With everyone on bikes now and all the new bike lanes in town, I am terrified of hitting a cyclist in traffic or turning right and hitting them in my blind spot. When I am driving through the city and turning, I always check both mirrors AND check my right side blindspot. I have still had too many close calls, and had drivers fly right past me on the right through red lights. Do cyclist realize that drivers have this right side blind spot, and that they should still obey the same traffic laws that drivers do, such as stopping at red lights? Not at ALL blaming the victim here or saying this was the case, but it is very concerning that traffic laws for cyclists don't seem to be enforced, and we naturally assume the driver was doing something illegal or driving recklessly when a cyclist is hit, but we don't want to hit them or run them off the road, and I've seen many cyclists ride carelessly and without equal regard for drivers.

up
Voting closed 0

We need to give up the idea that this is a race and just work together to get across town. That means for the biker to wait for lights and ride in traffic if needed, and slow down if needed.

up
Voting closed 0

with either speed or running red lights? Someone opened their car door without looking for oncoming traffic, and to avoid it she swerved into the path of a truck. Dooring accounts for at least 20% of bike fatalities in Boston and I have had countless close calls, despite the fact that I ride very slowly and carefully. Frankly it's lousy of you to try to shift blame onto the cyclist here when it's drivers we need to educate about checking before opening their doors into traffic.

up
Voting closed 0

The onus is certainly on the person who opens a car door into traffic, and MA law rightly places that responsibility on the driver. But for cyclists, it's actually fairly easy to avoid being doored: ride at least 3 feet from parked cars. I've been a near-daily commuting cyclist for years, and I've never been doored, and only rarely had a close call.

up
Voting closed 0

If you're in a bike lane up against parked cars, your left hand should be above the left stripe of the bike lane. This puts you out of the door zone (for the most part; some convertibles have wicked wide doors). Leave the bike lane entirely if you see any car with a person in it, lights on, taxicab, car that appears to be an Uber/Lyft. (Which is why those cars should have to be well-marked like taxis, so we know they're likely to do stupid driving tricks.)

up
Voting closed 0

of the bike lane, but it can still be iffy if the moving car/cars are right up against me. I really generally have time to slow down--I'm not a speedy rider--but there are situations where it's so fast or startling and of course your impulse is to swerve. It just chills my blood to think about. Poor woman.

up
Voting closed 0

Do you think there should be some punishment for the driver?

up
Voting closed 0

If you want to stay safe here start by losing the tude.

up
Voting closed 0

you wouldn't be commenting on a story about a girl getting killed by an open car door by kvetching pointlessly about bikers who speed and go through red lights.

up
Voting closed 0

Vast majority, actually.

I am very aware of this, but here's the key thing: WAIT! A car that isn't moving doesn't hit anything, and if somebody hits you, it is on them (and likely at too low a speed to injure you in your iron cage).

up
Voting closed 0

Incredibly sad- I saw my own life flash before my eyes in a collision with a car running a light June 1st. Hampshire crossing Portland on my bike commute home from Boston. Every time I'm surrounded with other bikers it's the best feeling. Safety in numbers.

I hope Amanda's death really gets everyone thinking more seriously about what measures can improve.
I survive close by on Prospect St. I haven't biked in what I'll now always remember as the place she died but do know it's a tough place to cross on foot.

Police have been regularly pulling people over in front of where I live on Prospect & often I am hoping/wondering if for violations involving cars v bikers. When cars don't signal and turn it's another real hazard.

As a biker I appreciate when traffic lights work in the bikers favor- so we can get out ahead and be ahead in the lane- especially on too narrow streets.
Bikers have due responsibility to be aware of hazards.
Yesterday I rode a scary spot headed on Cambridge Street to Allston where the Mass Pike merges. That wasn't fun- I signaled to merge right and the highway minded driver plowed ahead from behind me. Thankfully the next driver yielded and I thanked them. I would argue for SLOW/yield to bikers, even flashing signs.

I will end this note that after being hit, as a car driver, I am FAR more cautious. What will it take?

up
Voting closed 0

My life also flashed before my eyes when I got doored on Brighton Ave when I was in my 20's. My takeaway was that riding a bicycle in the city is too dangerous. A bicycle is too fast for the sidewalk, too slow for the street, and offers no protection - one 5mph collision and you can be dead. The risk of death or debilitating injury wipes out any merit of pedaling around town.

up
Voting closed 0

And please, drivers, do whatever it takes to not door someone.

I almost did so on Brighton Ave. I'm cautious and thought I had looked well in my side view mirror. Opened door and young woman was right there. Only her quick reflexes and lack of car traffic prevented a serious accident.

I was shocked and apologetic but she seemed to take it in stride and just kept going.

Trust me, I felt horrible and I can assure you it will never happen again. I look before opening my door as carefully as I do before backing up. Mirrors and full physical look completely behind me. Not out my side window alone but out rear as well. It only takes a second to avoid or possible cause a terrible tragedy. Take the time.

up
Voting closed 0

Maybe this is a stupid question and/or been discussed before but why not adjust the lanes so that the cycling lane is to the right of parked cars? As in along the passenger side? Unexpected doors would still be an issue but isn't falling onto the curb a better alternative? Yes this puts cars in a position where they open their driver door close to traffic but that's not uncommon anyway on one way streets.

up
Voting closed 0

this is part of the plan for the comm ave redo: http://www.universalhub.com/2016/dedicated-bike-lanes-part-204-million-r...

parts of Western Ave in Allston already have a setup like this -

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3638225,-71.1221433,3a,75y,98.11h,66.65t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1scA5FKh_6rr1KVaQfLmRx8w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

up
Voting closed 0

much appreciated

up
Voting closed 0

I've been complaining about Commonwealth Ave for years: here, in my head, to strangers on the street ("I'm not crazy") and to city officials. I am so glad this plan has been set forwards for reworking Commonwealth between BU and Packard Corner as that is probably the worst stretch of the road. They do still need to get going on the same work from Arlington Street all the way to the bridge however. And Brookline's Beacon Street, while not as bad [better driver behaviour], could use some work as well.

It doesn't even take a bicycle rider to notice how bad the driving on Comm Ave is. Just stand on one of those half-arsed trolley stops like Babcock Street and feel yourself almost suctioned into the highway traffic one inch away.

up
Voting closed 0

My deepest condolences to the family of the young lady we lost...truly a travesty.

With that being said, I implore all transplants to get familiar with the city they are moving into, particularly with bike riders who should understand dangerous intersections, like this one, is not make for bike traffic. It's made to ease car traffic joining major streets, not unlike the Mass ave /cambridge street, Mass ave/ prospect st, Mass ave /Tremont/Columbus/Melnea Cass intersections, Fenway, Davis square and Union square intersections. WALK the damn bike or find some side streets and take the scenic route!

I've deliberately made it a point to avoid that inman square intersection because of how crazy it is by taking the concord ave route.

Even when I had a car the city can be confusing to navigate and I've been living here ALL my life!

Everyone take time to get to know the city you live in or it could cost a life, regardless of whether it's yours or someone else's, the gravity of the situation is all the same.

up
Voting closed 0

I find the operator of the parked car guilty of manslaughter, because their act in obstructing a travel lane caused the woman's death.

I sentence the operator to their choice of losing their license to drive for a year, 90 days in jail, or $100,000 restitution paid to the victim's family.

up
Voting closed 0

Opening a door without looking is as negligent as running a stop sign, driving while impaired, speeding, or any number of other illegal actions. When such disregard for others results in injury or death, the responsible party should be prosecuted to the full extent the law allows.

Once drivers realize that their own lives will be affected when they carelessly open their vehicle door, maybe they'll start to be more careful. Opening a door without looking is not an accident — it's a deliberate, intentional act. The charge should be no less than Vehicular Homicide.

up
Voting closed 0

Well, now I've heard everything.

up
Voting closed 0

Huh? A "a deliberate, intentional act" requires thinking. Opening a door without looking is generally a sign of NOT thinking. Part of the definition of "negligent." We're all guilty of doing that - it's how our human brain handles the gazillion things it handles. We don't sit there and think, "I think I'll throw open this door because it's easier than looking in the mirrors or turning my head." We're thinking, "darn, I'm running late, and I have x and y and z to do," and that pushes what we SHOULD be doing at that moment out of our heads.

I'm not saying we shouldn't figure out what's necessary to make people think about - maybe throwing a few people in jail and throwing away the keys would work, but I doubt it, since by definition the driver is *not* thinking at that moment.

I don't know what the answer is. I can find fault with all sides here. I do know that any plan that depends on making all people behave perfectly all the time will never work.

But I just couldn't let "Opening a door without looking is . . . a deliberate, intentional act" go without a response.

up
Voting closed 0

When doing so, you're responsible for taking into account the safety of others in every manner of operation — whether it involves moving the entire vehicle, or just its doors.

If you're too busy and don't want to think about that, you are a menace to the public and should not be driving a motor vehicle.

up
Voting closed 0

One problem with dooring is that car passengers can do it, not just drivers.

up
Voting closed 0

While yes, deliberate intention and ignorant neglect are not the same, if you are someone who is not thinking while driving then you are not responsible enough or skilled enough to be driving in Cambridge and Boston. PLEASE take public transportation if you are too distracted to remember or 'too inconvenienced' to crank your neck to check for a cyclist or vehicle. As someone who has lived in Boston for 15 years and other cities for over a decade previous to that, I am NEVER too distracted or busy to make an intentional effort to watch out for cyclists and other cars before I open my car door when I park on the street. Furthermore, if I am a passenger in a car, I pay particular attention to the what the driver is doing before they open the door -- are they checking for cyclists and cars? If they aren't, I let them know immediately: stop and look before you swing that door open. Here in Massachusetts, I believe, it is THE LAW. There are NO EXCUSES. Some suburban drivers who are not familiar with city driving / parking are not used to this. They need to be taught. And, there are some city drivers who still believe they should not be sharing the road: cabs, contractors, ditzy idiots too busy yapping on their phones, etc. We all have to watch out for one another. This is yet another senseless and tragic death that could have been prevented.

up
Voting closed 0

Why isn't anyone talking about the usefulness of mirrors on bicycles so riders know if there is a truck, MBTA bus, or car behind them and not swerve out infant of it when a door gets opened? Instead you are all discussing mirrors on cars when most cyclists don't have/use mirrors at all. A cyclist knowing that a vehicle is close to them can then instead nail the brakes and hope for the best. An air horn on a bicycle might also prevent some crashes too.

up
Voting closed 0

The fact that there've been so many bicyclists getting killed on Boston and Cambridge Streets lately is beyond belief! Something is definitely lacking here, if one gets the drift.

Without having known the woman personally, I offer my condolences and sympathy to her friends and loved ones.

up
Voting closed 0

Please read John Allen's Street Smarts.

Facilities can be great for getting butts on bikes, but for safety, handling skills and best practices will do far more for safety.

Learn to be safe and comfortable riding in traffic, and the fun and usefulness of urban cycling increases greatly.

Cycling Savvy is another good source for practical and simple techniques you can learn and use NOW and in more places before waiting for the design, plannning, approval, funding, implementation, adaptation, maintenance, etc. of cycling-specific facilities.

up
Voting closed 0