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Bicyclist killed in Porter Square crash

Porter Square crash scene

Porter Square crash scene. Photo by Stakx.

Shortly after 8 a.m., Cambridge Police report. Wicked Local Cambridge reports the crash involved a truck.

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Comments

I know someone who saw this, said the cyclist was basically cut in half by a tractor trailer. I don't see how that happens at the speeds trucks and bikes would be going through this intersection.

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I saw it. That's what happened. It was horrible. I am waiting for Cambridge to set up a trauma line to call into. I've been crying on and off all morning

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EAPs are usually offered through schools and employers, and have confidential, free, 24/7 support. Hopefully you can get that info and reach someone. (Coverage extends to household members- so if any roommates or family have an EAP you can call theirs.)

So sorry for what you're going through. I hope you can speak with someone soon.

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From Boston Cyclists Union:

"We've heard from a number of people who were witnesses or rode through Porter Square just after this morning's fatal crash who are feeling the trauma of the incident.

If you want to talk to someone about this morning's crash, or any of the feelings you may be having, we're organizing a gathering tonight at Bourbon Coffee in Porter Square from 7-9.

Our friend, Laura Everett, is a reverend and bike commuter. She agreed to be there to talk, listen and support anyone who wants to come. This is a non-religious, non-denominational gathering that is open to anyone."

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Its just horrible at to what happen today in Porter Sq. I ride every day But I see my fellow riders just being incredibly aggressive out there. Running red lights blowing stop signs cutting off cars buses and trucks. Maybe we should spend more time riding in a safe way and maybe this type of thing would not happen.

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Experienced commuter.

STFU about "bikes run red lights". That isn't what kills. BAD DRIVING kills - 30,000 a year in the US.

I can only think of a couple incidents in recent years that were the cyclists fault - and I have no problem calling those out. HOWEVER the number of people killed by bad driving, in cars and out, massively engulfs and eclipses those numbers.

If anything? It isn't "bikes are bad" but WE ARE ALL A BUNCH OF MASSHOLES AND SOME ARE DRIVING HEAVY EQUIPMENT.

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A fellow cyclist is trying to make sense of this tragedy and all you can do is bash him. If cyclists can't have a civilized discussion with one another then how do you expect a cyclist to have a civilized discussion with the driver of an 18-wheeler? Ranting and name-calling seems to be your agenda, not finding a solution to improving road sharing.

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Because any anonymous commenter named "Bob" is always a cyclist?

No. We do not know that this is a "fellow cyclist". Even if Bob rides a bike, we have no way of knowing if "cyclist" to him means "rides bike on path to ice cream place" or "commutes" or "does randos most weekends".

What we have is someone who CLAIMS to be a cyclist so as to establish "credibility" despite being an anon, and all in order to immediately launch into an irrelevant victim-blaming tirade.

Then again, anons like you should probably be restricted from these threads because you have no credibility.

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I understand that your heart is in the right place here and I do appreciate that but I think it's important to point out that for all of the red lights that area cyclists supposedly run, not a single one of the bicyclists who have been killed in Boston, Cambridge, or Somerville in recent memory was doing anything illegal at the time that they were killed.

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"I am waiting for Cambridge to set up a trauma line to call into."

Same here. The torso was several feet away from the rest ... prayers out ....

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I hope his death was swift. You can't say enough nice things about the bicyclist- he was a kind, endearing, unassuming, humble, hard-working man. Highly doubtful he was riding like an a-hole.

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Please Share: Bourbon Coffee Porter Square #Cambridge, 7-9 tonight open space for those who saw the bike crash or want to talk about it.

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I don't know any details of this crash, or the one between a cyclist and a truck in Cambridge earlier this week.

What I do know is that some kinds of trucks have massive blind spots and their right turns are absolutely harrowing for nearby bicyclists.

To that end, London plans to phase out the use of poor visibility trucks from city streets beginning in 2020.

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That is a great idea. Those trucks do not belong on city streets. London has been doing excellent work with regards to public transit, cycling, and raising tolls on drivers. Meanwhile the MBTA is cutting back service. We are falling behind other cities and people are being killed all because we don't want to inconvenience dangerous drivers.

We should be saddened but not surprised when cyclists are killed around here. A Cambridge cop hit a cyclist and sped off earlier this year and wasn't even arrested! That dangerous criminal, Ryan Callinan, is still a cop. That is how little of a shit cops and our legal system care about the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.

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just grasping for any real estate you can.

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What does that mean?

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and here's what I want. If you don't give it to me, you're a murderer.

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Vision zero is worthwhile. If calling you a murderer helps you realize that human safety is more important than preserving your narrow way of life, then ok. But all citizens have a role in making changes to the roads.

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Is what truck drivers have in their blind spots. The sooner you bike clowns realize that and stay the hell away from them as any sane driver should, the sooner you'll stop getting fricasseed.

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OK, I'll abide. I'll stay the hell away at 12mph. You, truck driver shall too. You pass me and you're violating that rule. I have an itchy trigger finger and I'll catch up to you at the next light...

We'll see who gets "fricasseed"

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OMG MOTORISTS MIGHT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR MAYHEM!

NO FAIIIIRRRRRR!

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Good point tying this in to the MBTA. I'm a proponent of biking, personally, but we need a robust, reliable transit system so that cycling isn't the only long-distance travel option for people without cars. The level of service we deal with MBTA-wise is really criminal.

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I've proposed a complete Mass Ave in Cambridge north of Harvard. Eliminate a lane of car traffic and a little parking, add exclusive bus lanes and protected bike lanes. And make it feel much more like a city street than a highway!

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Hoping these comments don't delve into unnecessary point-counter point arguments. God bless the deceased and all of their loved ones, any one who witnessed this tragedy, or anyone who feels impacted by in on any level.

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Why are trucks this size allowed in the city at any time other than off hours?

Want a giant truck delivery? How about 6am?

Carriers have to be held responsible. "its a big vehicle so everything has to get out of my way and don't expect me to bother to look" doesn't cut it.

This isn't just about cyclist safety, either - pedestrians waiting on the SIDEWALK have been dragged through Central Square by these way too fucking long vehicles.

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Also, trucks use this stretch as a loading zone on the regular. Even when they're not moving, they're creating a clusterf* that everyone needs to negotiate. It would be really great if police could enforce high-traffic areas during rush hour as travel lanes, not truck parking lanes.

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I don't know about pedestrians waiting on the sidewalk being dragged through Central Square by these way too fucking long vehicles, but I do know I was almost hit by a bike this morning when it ran a red light and I was in the crosswalk walk with the cross signal. I wanted to say something to the biker but he sped by too fast. Bikers only want to talk about their rights and their safety though...

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Honestly--did you read the story? Do you even know what you're responding to, with your little tale of woe? STFU.

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Yes I read the story "Shortly after 8 a.m., Cambridge Police report. Wicked Local Cambridge reports the crash involved a truck." And I was relating how I was almost involved in a crash with a bike this morning too but I managed to move quick enough to avoid a crash with the bike. There are issues on both sides of this dilemma. Bikers need to own their share before more deaths result. And no, I won't stfu. I honestly can't believe your comment got approved for posting.

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"Both sides"? The two sides in this case are a truck and a bicyclist. Do tell us all about the truck driver's legitimate grievances. Go on, we're waiting.

Oh wait, you weren't talking about the "both sides" under discussion here, you wanted to hijack a thread about a traffic death and make it all about you. Got it.

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Being "almost hit by a bike" is really REALLY JUST THE SAME as being crushed by a truck, afterall.

Go look up the stats on ACTUAL hit by bike accidents (like almost none) and compare them to the number of people killed THIS YEAR by motor vehicles.

Then we can talk about what needs to be done using facts.

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The collision was avoided because of what I did to avoid it, NOT the bike. He blew right through the red light and right at me and others. This was in front of South Station! There was a lot of people. Again, I am saying that bikers need to address their part of the problem too. And if biking is too dangerous to be done on certain roads then maybe bikes should be banned on those roads so people don't get hurt.Bike where it's safe. Your stats just might go down.

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And if biking is too dangerous to be done on certain roads then maybe bikes should be banned on those roads so people don't get hurt. Bike where it's safe.

Isn't this sort of like arguing that if women are getting raped at certain fraternity houses then the best solution is to ban women from those fraternity houses rather than punishing the rapists?

To say nothing of the fact that most traffic fatalities in Boston and Cambridge are actually pedestrians killed by drivers.

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Not even close to being similar. Roads are for cars and trucks first. Some roads might not be able to safely accommodate bikes too. This is Boston. Is that really so hard to swallow? I'm now at the point that installing bike lanes was a huge mistake. They were supposed to be for the good of all mankind but instead they've just given bikers a sense of entitlement and now they just aren't worth it. Bikers complain about drivers not following the rules of the road but examples of bikers doing the same is met with the response to STFU. If bikers can't stop telling people who voice an opinion to STFU, can't be honest about how they, and as admitted on reddit their "ridiculous riding", impacts traffic in our already overly congested city then let's just give the roads back to motor vehicles. Use my tax dollars somewhere else. Have a nice day.

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Roads are for cars and trucks first.

No, they aren't. In the grand scheme of things cars and trucks are relative newcomers. Bikes have been around for longer. And roads were the domain of horses and pedestrians for centuries before that.

And yes, cyclists do have a sense of entitlement - in that we recognize that we are entitled to equal use of public roads. We are entitled to safe facilities. We are entitled to not getting killed by a truck on our way to work.

Finally, cyclists do not "impact traffic" in the sense that you are implying. If anyone can ever show me an example of a cyclist causing a traffic jam, I will eat my helmet.

Let's just give the roads back to cyclists. Use my tax dollars somewhere else.

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The roads in question were built for carts and horses, and paved for use by cyclists.

Grow up and shut up and learn your history.

If you can't deal with it, get off the road and stop driving.

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Yes, a long time ago some roads were designed for horse and buggy. But, OMG it's 2016! Guess what: women and black people now have the right to vote! Just because something is historical, doesn't mean it's morally superior. Do you have a problem with that? Grow up and shut up and learn your history. We have public transportation: TAKE IT LIKE THE REST OF US. DEAL WITH IT. Just because you PREFER to ride your bike everywhere and avoid what you probably consider undesirable working people of all colors and backgrounds who take the train and bus, doesn't mean the rest of us need to cater to your self-entitled me me me whims. The world doesn't revolve around you and your isolated fears. You wan't to cocoon yourself in a bubble? Move to the suburbs, bye!

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These city streets were not designed for 53 foot trucks. Cyclists feel entitled to survive. Why does that make you angry?

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Cyclists who feel they are entitled to swerve in front of a bus or car*, slow down traffic for everyone else, God forbid get themselves hurt, and then have the unmitigated gall to claim victimhood.

Yeah, it's not right to go driving around a 53 foot truck without proper training, nor is it right to drive it around without knowing where you're going. It's a mistake that may well have cost a man his life. You see that? Assigning blame where it is due.

Blame is not zero sum. It can be the hypothetical driver's fault for not looking and it can be the hypothetical cyclist's fault for not having lights, weaving in traffic, and not looking too. Just like it's the mugger's fault for mugging and the victim's fault for getting shitfaced out of his or her mind and stumbling home drunk**.

But guess what? Big vehicles will always be in the city. Think 40 ft buses. Think 60 ft articulated buses. All much more useful and much less counter-productive than entitled kids on bikes who think their right to get to wherever half a minute faster trumps everyone else's right to be able to get wherever they're going in a reasonable manner.

*I had a good long time to wait for the 1 bus about an hour ago and see at least a dozen cyclists swerve left into the car lane because the bike lane was blocked by a work crew. If a car lane is blocked by a road crew, then the appropriate procedure is to
1. stop
2. look left over your shoulder and mirror
3. INDICATE
4. change lanes when it is safe to do so
What is the cyclist procedure?
1. Swerve left
2. Blame the car that damn near missed you
3. Blame all cars if that damn car hit you

**See for example Lochte, Ryan. If he were a woman, would the nutter lobby be screaming about victim blaming, or would it still be his fault for getting drunk and making an ass of himself?

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Snore.

Sorry - I was just counting the logical, legal, moral, and ethical failures like sheep.

Strange that you started with entitlement and didn't stop talking about yours.

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Is it the one to get from point A to point B in an orderly fashion or is it the one to expect some semblance of rules to be followed by the other road users?

Seems that it's impossible to not be guilty of "entitlement" if you're driving a car, riding a bus, or even walking on your own two feet in your world.

Sorry about your coworker's coworker, by the way.

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You 're right cyclists should not presume that they are entitled to survive.

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am I still entitled to all my heart's desires?

Seriously. At what point did it become socially acceptable to declare yourself free of responsibility for the outcomes of your own physical actions...like swerving into 20mph+ traffic while pedaling along at 5-10mph?

I suppose the next logical ("scientific" even!) step would be to blame a gun manufacturer for what happens to you if you pick up a gun and shoot yourself with it on purpose.

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As far as we know , this cyclist did not swerve anywhere. That's a dishonest representation of my argument.

Several people have stated that something on the spectrum of if you ride in boston's traffic you accept the risk that will be struck. Or more subtle, if you follow traffic rules and stay away from trucks you will safe.

I am saying that walking and cycling in Boston are entitlements. That is vision zero. Large trucks don't fit into this plan. Safe riding would not have prevented this death. We need to restrict the use of unsafe vehicles.

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The roads in Boston and Cambridge were designed for pedestrians, and horse carts. Bicycles were invented and road these streets long before the automobile.

This collision involved an 18 wheeler. These huge trucks have no business in city. If you removed all the bicycles, pedestrians would still be killed. your egocentric approach to the issue won't save lives.

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Both sides are rife with entitlement, and it's those who share in that entitlement (again, both ways) that seem to argue the most and also miss the most. I've biked in the city for years and follow the vast majority of traffic laws, except for in situations where I feel physically unsafe doing so. I'm courteous to drivers and they are usually courteous to me when they see I'm making an attempt to stay out of their way. HOWEVER there are both drivers and cyclists who will insist that there is no room for compromise, and I would suggest trying to put oneself in the shoes of the alternative for a moment to see how entitled both sides can come off.

Arguing that bikes shouldn't be allowed on the roads is.. well, it's an argument but completely unrealistic so good luck with that. And if thats an argument for maintaining the status quo of distracted driving, give me a break. Alternatively, arguing that every driver needs to pay attention and respect the presence of cyclists is also an argument, but again, completely unrealistic and good luck with that as well.

As a cyclist, I have to say how shocked I am by how seemingly inconsequential many cyclists view riding in the city as; I've seen more near misses than I can count that could have ended similar to this. If you ride a bike in the city and think you can stay safe simply by asserting your rights to the road, well good luck, but it's extremely dangerous. You cannot rely on others to keep you safe. As this tragedy has shown, it is literally life or death.

As a driver, I have to say that I'm absolutely appalled by how prevalent distracted driving is. It is shameful, and again I think the people who engage in this have zero understanding of the potential consequences of their actions. If you don't recognize the sense of entitlement that driving affords, as well as the very real and dangerous consequences to others inherent to driving distractedly, you need to think a little harder on the issue. Maybe get on a bike and see how it feels outside of that metal cocoon.

I don't know what specifically happened to cause this terrible incident, but both cyclists and drivers need to take more responsibility for their behavior to ensure safety for themselves and everyone else on the road.

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And again, for the record, s.t.F.u. A 60-year-old man, a doctor, got ripped in half, literally, by a truck in front of many onlookers, and you find that an appropriate time to whine about how you "almost" got hit by a bicyclist. I've said it here before--if I posted here every time I "almost" got hit by a car, either on my bike or while walking, I'd be here every f'ing day.

Seriously. Get a grip.

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With the utmost of empathy for those harmed or killed by either car or bike...

Drivers kill on average 100 people every day in the USA, ever since 1960.

Bicyclists kill about 6 people PER YEAR in the USA.

So bad cyclists are bad. They can injure and even kill, and need to reform. But if you really want safer streets, focus on car drivers. That's where the safe money is.

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If anyone's curious, that works out to you being 6,083 times more likely to be killed by a driver than a cyclist in an average year.

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You got your numerator in your denominator there.

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Nope, just accidentally switched words when typing. Corrected.

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Dear Candy,

Sorry to hear that you were almost hit by a bicyclist. That must have been hard for you.

Since you bring this up in the context of a man who was brutally killed by a truck while he was riding a bicycle, perhaps you could remind us of the number of people killed by bicyclists in such a manner, and how this compares to the total number of people killed by motor vehicles?

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I was almost hit by a bike this morning when it ran a red light and I was in the crosswalk walk with the cross signal.

Good for you for having the strength to talk about it. That must have been truly traumatizing.

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Cambridge and other urban cities should seriously consider the use of these very long trailers on city streets. Are 53 foot long trailers needed in our city? Such a needless tragedy! I offer my prayers for the victim.

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On the cab it says Metlitsky Eggs. How many cartons of eggs can you fit into a 53 foot trailer? Agreed that we should limit the length of trucks on these urban streets.

Also note that the truck as no side guards. Side guards provide significant protection for cyclists to help prevent falling under the truck.

https://www.volpe.dot.gov/our-work/truck-side-guards-resource-page

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it wasn't a 53 foot trailer it was a 45 foot trailer and last I check the driver was cleared.funny thing about a dash camera tells a good story.

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please link to some verification.

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That's all I can say right now. I already ride routinely by far too many white ghost-bike sites.

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I try to avoid being on the right of any truck while on my bike. I always just assume that the truck will turn into me with no warning and I will be dead. Sometimes avoiding trucks in this way slows me down or makes me have to go onto the sidewalk. This is one of those cases where it doesn't matter who is right, if the truck moves into "my" space, I will be dead, so I simply don't go there.

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1. you were not there

2. you do not know what happened

3. you don't know shit about this intersection

4. you should shut up right now

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and what Gary C describes is very possible and potentially deadly, even if it turns out not to be the cause of this particular fatality.

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1) Trucks have blind spots - especially on the right
2) Cyclists have a documented habit of approaching intersections by passing stopped traffic, including traffic about to make a right turn, on the right
3) In the majority of collisions between trucks and other vehicles (yes, a bicycle IS legally a VEHICLE), the actions of the other vehicle caused the crash.
4) You obviously don't have any clue what it's like to drive a large truck in city traffic. Hint, it's far more difficult than riding a bike or walking on foot.

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Banning trucks of a certain size would save lives. It is not the most important thing to decide who is to blame. These trucks are dangerous and they shouldn't be on streets designed for horse drawn carriages (London, Paris, Boston, NYC).

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1). OK?
2). This truck was turning left
3). In the majority of cyclists being killed by trucks, being killed by a truck is what killed the cyclist.
4). So maybe if it is that difficult they shouldn't even be there

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Allegedly, the driver of the truck doesn't either.

the driver of the 18 wheeler was unlicensed. Not only did he not have a CDL which is required for 18 wheelers, he didn't have a drivers license period.

https://www.reddit.com/r/boston/comments/55z9fz/cyclist_killed_in_porter...

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But gives us no indication who is at fault in this accident.

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It gives a strong indication of who is at fault. It does not prove it, but it does prove this truck was driven by someone that does not follow the law.

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And then promptly gloss over the lack of a professional license and training as a factor in causing a crash.

If I was unlicensed and crashed a Coca-Cola truck into a cafe storefront and killed someone, would you wonder aloud about how much fault the building had for being there? Or how much blame to put on the person killed?

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If you're driving without a license and you're involved in a fatal accident, burden of proof is (or should be--can't find the relevant MGL) on you to convince the jury it wasn't manslaughter. Heck, since the act of driving without a license is premeditated, why not push for murder 2? This is apparently the only way we're going to dissuade large chunks of the population from using their cars as multi-thousand-pound bludgeoning weapons.

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In America, if you're charged with a crime, the burden of proof is supposed to be on the prosecution to prove the charges against the defendant, and not on the defendant to disprove the charges they are facing. The current problem with our system is not this basic premise, but that decisions are often made - and appealed - for reasons that have nothing to do with actual evidence relating to the crime.

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The population of truck drivers lacking any license whatsoever and the population of people who cannot get a license because they are undocumented aliens are likely to overlap by a huge margin.

This guy is probably going to be deported. The company that hired him should be criminally investigated and absolutely sued into oblivion.

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Were you a witness? If not, then you don't know what the cause of the accident was. You don't know that it was "being on the right" of a truck, and if it was, you wouldn't know if it wasn't perfectly reasonable for the cyclist to be there. You assume the cyclist inserted him/herself into that position and ignore the possibility that the truck moved next to the cyclist. I understand the point that you are trying to make, i.e., that situations exist where a cyclist can make a decision that would lead to increased safety. But that's an irrelevant and inappropriate observation to make at this point.

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Even if what Gary describes wasn't the cause of *this specific crash*, he is still alerting us to a dangerous situation that we should avoid as cyclists.

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This is heartbreaking news, and I think the comment falls more on the side of education than victim blaming. Are there biking safety classes in the area? (just did a quick google and pulled up some helpful safety info, but didn't see any classes right off). Because people can have the best of intentions and be following traffic rules to the best of their knowledge, and still not know about certain hazards. I actually didn't fully understand the right-hook risk until the fatality on Mass Ave a couple years back. Now I take this very seriously (and realize that while I may have the legal right to be next to a truck at an intersection, it's still a place I want to avoid ending up).

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...none of that knowledge would have saved you here. Useful knowledge? Yes. Germane to this incident? Absolutely not. Start a new thread.

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You don't mean to say you rode a bicycle around here prior to that fatality you mentioned ? You couldn't have. Anybody who rides learns the right hook danger on day 1 unless they are a member of DENSA because I can almost guarantee it will happen to or be observed by the average cyclist on that first day.

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Somerville
http://www.bicycleridingschool.org

Mass Bike in Boston
http://www.massbike.org/education

City of Boston has a clinic for women
https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-bikes/women-bike

Looks like most of the classes are done for the season. Saw a lot of other educational offerings on Google.

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Although it's well-intentioned, it is also irrelevant (not the cause of this accident) and tasteless and too soon. It would not have helped here, it would not have helped if the cyclist had been to the truck's right, it should be the discussion of another day.

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about 4 times. Give it a rest.

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it might help another cyclist or cyclists avoid death since this accident seems to be a relatively common occurrence between cyclists and trucks.

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Banning trucks from the city unless they were below a certain size (or with a flag car) and the driver had passed a rigorous urban conditions qualification.

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Everyone needs to bike with this in mind. Go a reasonable speed, stop at traffic signals, assume that every bus/box truck/moving van/semi CANNOT see you. Because they probably can't! Stay out of their blind spots and be careful. Just because you may be in the right ("they should respect the bike lane") doesn't mean they will.

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You know when the right time to instruct vulnerable populations on how to be safer in situations where other parties shouldn't cause harm but sometimes do?

Hint: you don't instruct women on when to avoid wearing sexy clothing immediately following a reported rape, either.

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Actually there's never a right time to tell a woman that.

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Yes, people tell women everyday and every minute what they should or should not be doing with their clothing, bodies and everything else. Still has zero to do with this thread.

He was just making an observation - he wasn't saying this is what the victim should have done. Just what he does.

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But we DO instruct people in defensive driving, which cyclists should also follow since they are obligated to follow the rules of the road.

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter85/Sect...

Every person operating a bicycle upon a way, as defined in section one of chapter ninety... shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the special regulations contained in this section...

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Everyone needs to drive with this in mind. Go a reasonable speed, stop at traffic signals, assume that every bus/box truck/moving van/semi CANNOT see you. Because they probably are looking at a cell phone! Stay out of their blind spots and be careful. Just because you may be in the right ("they should respect the laws of the road") doesn't mean they will.

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I tell people this all the time. It's not placing blame. It's called defensive bicycling, and I follow similar principles when walking or driving as well. Just as we tell people to be careful when walking late at night, there are things we can all do to reduce our risk of something bad happening when on the road. If something bad still does happen, we should of course not blame the victim. But I sure as heck am going to do what I can to reasonably avoid becoming a victim.

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Defensive bicycling creates an illusion that you will survive if you are just more careful. The real truth is more difficult. All deaths created by vehicle collisions are preventable. We need improved (inconvenient) road infrastructure that prevents vehicle collisions.

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Defensive bicycling creates an illusion that you will survive if you are just more careful.

I disagree. I say it gives the rider more skills in their repertoire. And said skills must be practiced for the rider to remain comfortable with them.

I say this as a motorcyclist who rides with the belief that cars do not see us and do not know how to read depth perception very well. A motorcyclist who learned such skills in training classes and who has friends that get together on the occasional weekend to find a clear parking lot to work on the skills together in a safe location. And then of course we go for a ride to a restaurant: ride to eat, eat to ride.

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unless you stay home. The whole use of the word "defensive" is an illusion. You can't defend yourself from a ton of steel. Defensive driving applies someone in a steel cage trying to lower their insurance premiums. The infrastructure changes would make motorcyclists safer too.

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Avoiding riding along the right side of a semi truck would be an example of defensive biking that is likely to save your life.

Personally I would rather the city expend its precious dollars and political capital building the road infrastructure that would make this sort of behavior change unnecessary, but that doesn't mean that defensive biking wouldn't help.

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It is a dishonest term and quite unfeeling in this context. You can't avoid being on the right side of a truck that passes you on the left. If all the bicyclist ride perfectly and pull over when a truck comes near, the trucks will continue to kill pedestrians and motorcyclists.

There really is some bizarre quirk of human nature that causes us to despise and attack all victims. Lets resist it today and evolve.

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No one is blaming the victim here. But what people are saying is that when riding a bike, one should recognize that trucks have HUGE blind spots and that it is very easy for a truck driver to not see you on a bike. They also often have to make wide turns.

Of course, it's not possible to avoid every interaction with a truck, but as a general rule, it makes sense to not pass a truck on the right and to not stop directly to the side or in front of a truck, where the driver is likely to not see you. It also makes sense to anticipate that a truck's position at an intersection can be misleading, because of the need to make wide turns.

I feel very fortunate to have never had a crash with a motor vehicle in the 10+ years I've been bicycling in Boston. I've had many close calls and near misses, though, and only avoided tragedy because I didn't put myself in a risky position. Cars and trucks turn or change lanes all the time without signaling, and I keep that in mind. I keep my distance from trucks when I can, and I don't pass cars or trucks when going through an intersection.

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A cyclist is dead after being struck by a 53 foot truck operated by an unlicensed driver. Your response is to advise people to avoid putting themselves in a risky position. You are also factually wrong. There is no proof that changing the behavior of cyclists will improve outcomes while 18 wheeler continue to drive on urban streets.

You are making assumptions based on your own history. That's voodoo. Do you believe that if you keep behaving in a "respectable manner", you will never be raped? Or are you just part of half the population that is so much bigger and stronger than the other half, it never occurs to you to worry about it?

It is the same kind of logic.

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You're creating a false dichotomy here. Yes, the truck driver is probably 100% at fault, and banning 18 wheelers from city streets would absolutely be a good idea, as well as redesigning the roads so that bikes and trucks do not have to share a space, but so too is it a good idea for bicyclists to do things like avoid the "door zone" while using the bike lane and avoid passing trucks at intersections. Similarly, advising young women to avoid getting pass-out drunk at frat parties is a good idea and does nothing to diminish the guilt of the young men that rape them.

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As long as the street is designed with the bike lane in the "door zone", then you can't avoid the door zone

No human purposely gets "pass-out drunk at frat parties". How do you avoid something that you never intended to do?

In both of these cases you are assuming that the victim can prevent the problem. That is blaming the victim, whether are not you continue to blame the other party.

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I wear a helmet. I check my mirror. I use lights at night. I slow down at intersections, especially where traffic might turn right, and I try to remain aware of my surroundings all the time. I consider these to be part of "defensive biking," I find that they do help, and I don't think that recommending them is dishonest or unfeeling.

These steps won't make you invulnerable to everything all the time, but is that really a reason not to take them?

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Not even your life.

There is no entitlement for cyclists to disregard the law. But the effects of trucks and other motor vehicles cause 99% of traffic deaths. It is dishonest to make any equivocation here.

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I've gone over the bars and landed head first on concrete. No concussion, no TBI. Because I was wearing a helmet.

I've been in the travel lane at night and seen cars change lanes to pass me. Because I had a light on my bike.

I've been in the bike lane and seen a car stopped in front of me. I slowed down, changed lanes, and passed it without getting rear-ended. Because I checked my mirror to see the car I would have pulled in front of.

If you're afraid that a truck or other vehicle might kill you, why are you so reluctant to acknowledge that there are ways to minimize that risk? From several of your posts, I think it's because you believe it would be tantamount to relieving drivers of their responsibility not to hit you. That's not the case. If a car hits you because of inattentiveness or whatever, it's the driver's fault. No one really disputes that, and if they do then they're not worth listening to. But you can reduce the likelihood of it happening by "biking defensively."

Another way of thinking about this is putting yourself in another person's position: "Would I see me? Would I anticipate my action? Would I react in time?" Unfortunately, this kind of thinking, which involves considering things from a point of view different from one's own, is getting very rare.

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You seem to believe that, but it is not based on fact. I am not anti - helmet. Helmets improve your chances in large amount of lesser collisions. Helmets are required for fact based reasons. I am not against safe lane changes. I am not saying that cyclists don't have to follow road rules. But none of those things are relevant to this case. None of those behaviors would have saved this person's life.

When a Truck collides with a cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist, it kills them. If a truck is too large to stay in their legal lane while they navigate the street, then they are too large for that street. It is inconvenient and will cost tax dollars, but it is a fact. You can't just put a sign on the back that says this vehicle that says this vehicle makes wide turns and believe that is fair warning for the destruction it causes.

I am sure that you are a good caring cyclist but your belief that you would be protected from this kind of crash by riding safely is based on your own rituals not facts. As I have said several times, safe riding won't prevent death by truck, and so you are blaming the victim by recommending that we cyclists ride safer. It is a normal human reaction, but it is hurtful and untrue.

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All we really know about this crash is that a truck and a cyclist were involved and the cyclist was killed. We don't know if the driver suddenly changed lanes or if the cyclist was dodging a pothole or literally anything else. There could be half a dozen contributing factors. I don't know why you seem so sure that there was only one (the existence of a truck). If I'm missing something then I'm ready to be corrected.

As I have said several times, safe riding won't prevent death by truck

The fact that you say something many times doesn't mean that it's true. But it is 100% verifiably true that you can't be hit by a truck if you slow down and follow it rather than try to pass it. Moreover, you are less likely to be hit by any vehicle if you know it's there (from a mirror) or its driver knows you're there (through lights).

This does not absolve a driver of his/her obligation to use caution and check for cyclists! They have the legal and moral duty not to hit me. But if there's a way I can minimize the risk of being hit, I'm going to take it and I'm going to recommend others take it, too. It just seems incredibly irresponsible to surrender my safety entirely to a stranger, and incredibly selfish to recommend that others do so.

and so you are blaming the victim by recommending that we cyclists ride safer

"Blaming the victim" is an easy phrase to reach for and you seem to be making the most of it even though I haven't even come close to suggesting that he got what was coming to him. What I have said is that riding safely can reduce your chance of being hurt or killed, and I've given specific examples of how and why. You're just saying they don't work, or blame the victim, or trucks are too big, and that doesn't really help anyone.

Think about what you say when you object like this to riding safely. You're saying that you have a right to do anything you want but bear no responsibility for what happens as a result. As a cyclist, I have to wonder whether you're actually trying to make people think that we're intentionally unreasonable.

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According to research, the collision is most likely to be the fault of the motor vehicle operator when cyclist is older than 25. The rumor is the victim was male and 60, and the truck driver was unlicensed. The chances that the cyclist is to blame for this are so low that it is horrifying that people keep talking about "both sides".

The last time the population of Boston was this dense was 1910. The highest point was 1950. In the 50's there was approximate one vehicle for every 2 households. Today, it is about 1 vehicle per household. These streets were not designed for that burden and pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclist are unsafe because the streets are overcrowded.

I refuse to be a reasonable victim. This is a story about a fatal accident. My point is not that cyclists are perfect and never at fault for anything. My point is that if you cannot honestly believe that there is a any reasonable chance that this person is responsible for their own death. Since you are probably a decent person, you just don't want to know.

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"None of those behaviors would have saved this person's life."

How can you possibly say that? We have zero facts about what actually happened here.

I can tell you personally that I have avoided injury and possibly death by not coming up along the right side of a truck. There has been more than one occasion where the truck turned right without signaling, and if I had been next to it, I would have been toast. (Note that I have no idea what happened in this particular crash. We will hopefully soon find out. This comment was in response to your general criticism that colliding with a truck when on a bike is unavoidable.)

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We know that this cyclist is male and older than 25. The research shows that it will probably be the driver's fault. And that doesn't even factor in the fact that the truck driver was unlicensed.

The problem is that the person driving the truck doesn't see the pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist. And my point is that cyclist doesn't have any control over whether the truck driver sees them. Several people seem to believe that this is a shared responsibility but it is not.

Watch a truck go around the city on a normal day with an attentive responsible driver. It is not possible for a truck to stay in its lane when it makes a right or left turn. Count all the curbs it goes over. Large trucks don't belong in the city.

I think it is dishonest to say that this argument has 2 sides. It is also unfeeling to persist in unfounded speculation when it is a fatal accident.

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"And my point is that cyclist doesn't have any control over whether the truck driver sees them."

Actually, a bicyclist has a lot of control over this, by staying out of a truck's blind spots as much as possible.

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Means the truth you can't control this. It unacceptable and dangerous. Removing them from urban streets will take a united effort in zone changes and infrastructure. But it would be nice for you to realize that it cruel to keep defending a two sided argument when a person is dead and their is not a single reason to blame that person.

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I'm not blaming the bicyclist who was killed. We don't even know what happened.

All I'm saying is that in general, bicyclists can minimize their risk of being hit by a truck by avoiding the truck's large blind spots as much as possible. Of course there is still some risk which is out of the bicyclists' control, but you seem to think that bicyclists must be victims with no control over the situation. That is simply not true.

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Since most drivers stay in their lanes, then safe cycling can be effective. It is not possible for large tucks to stay in their lanes on urban streets. Even a experienced licensed truck driver goes into oncoming traffic and over curbs. Once per week. I have to back up my car for 18 wheeler making a 90 degree turn in the city. When it comes to trucks there is very little a cyclist can do.

You might change your mind if you read some research. Most collisions involve hitting the cyclist from behind.

Your argument is dishonest, not based on fact and hurtful.

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I'm not saying that as a bicyclist, you can stay out of trucks' blind spots 100% of the time. I realize that is not possible. What I am saying is that you do have some control. If you're coming up to a truck that is in front of you, you should stay out of its blind spots. If a truck is going to hit you from behind, there's not much you can do about that other than positioning yourself where you are most likely to be seen. If a truck is passing you, you don't have a lot of control over that either, although you can slow down a bit to make sure that the truck gets past you and you don't end up next to it for more than a few seconds. I'm not sure why this advice is hurtful. It's simply defensive bicycling.

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It is hurtful because a person died in a collision with a truck and you insist that cyclists can have some responsibility for these crashes without any facts to support your assertion. Your point of view is based on your own experience. My special behavior protects me= ritual= voodoo There are studies of bicycle collisions and this particular incident involves an unlicensed truck driver. The word defensive does not apply, you can't defend yourself from a motor vehicle, you can only run away, which you seem to think is the moral choice.

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You're conflating responsibility with the wisdom or skill to avoid injury. Just like knowing self-defense might prevent you from being hurt by an attacker without absolving the attacker of "responsibility" for trying to hurt you. There are a TON of things cyclists can do to minimize their chances of being hit by a truck. For all we know, this cyclist was already doing these things--not every crash can be prevented by the actions of the cyclist alone--but that doesn't make them useless, nor does it mean we should continue to allow trucks on the streets of Cambridge.

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Exactly.

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Roads are unsafe? Bicycles are unsafe. With accidents like this happening, where a motor vehicle shreds apart a human body like it was nothing, then you're either a fool to ride a bicycle on city streets, or you place a low value on your life and health.

And proclaiming that you you have a right to pedal down the street doesn't change the fact that it's not a good idea.

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Roads belong to road users, which include cyclists and pedestrians.

If motor vehicles don't fit, they shouldn't be there.

If drivers can't control their vehicles, they shouldn't be there.

VEHICLES DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS - people do.

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More pedestrians are killed each year by cars than bicyclists. Should we stop walking too?

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If you live someplace without sidewalks and have to walk on the street, sure, avoid walking.

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Should be closed to motor vehicles unless it is a highway.

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Pedestrians are most often killed crossing the street, though. Kind of unavoidable, even if there are sidewalks, right?

And in Boston there have been multiple deaths where a car jumped up onto the sidewalk and killed pedestrians there.

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I get scared and sad when I hear about these kind of accidents. I am not blaming the victim and instead have only sorrow and grief in my heart. I personally learn from these terrible events and use their memory to remind me that taking an extra 30 seconds to get to work is worth being safer and more conservative in how I ride. The point of my original post was to reinforce to other bikers that safety must come first.

I'm sorry if I came across as being crass or assigning blame. That was the furthest thing from my mind.

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Come on, though. Even if you pretend you weren't commenting on this tragedy you obviously commented on, you have to admit simply not passing a large truck on the right isn't always enough. They also do the passing sometimes. Sometimes they shoot over unexpectedly from the far left lane, like how that guy on Comm Ave was killed. They should be banned from the city except for special loads that can't be broken up and definitely banned from peak travel times.

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This is yet another unfortunate example of the potential dangers of "sharing the road."
As someone who is very familiar with this intersection in all modes of travel, I urge my fellow cyclo-commuters to find the elusive bicycle turning lane when travelling from Mass. Ave. to Somerville Ave in Porter. Yes, you have to wait at a light, but it's there just for us! Take a minute to catch your breath and let the cars and trucks move on up to their next red light so you can make it home safe.

To the city of Cambridge: please, please, please fix the signage for this bicycle turning lane. I rode, drove, and walked past it for years before noticing it.

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Years ago, I used this daily to commute by bike.

I avoid it like the plague now.

One of the best safety measures a cyclist can take is to find routes that may be less direct, but are far less complicated by idiots who can't drive and vehicles that shouldn't be there.

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The collision happened at 8am and I rode by at 8:30am. It is a horrifying sight which will stay with me for a long time.

I agree it's best to find ways to avoid bad intersections, although at the peak of rush hour every road in Cambridge is swamped. Sometimes I feel safer on Mass Ave then on more narrow roads during peak times like this.

It wasn't clear to me what the driver or cyclist was attempting to do when the collision occurred and speculation is meaningless. As painful as it will be for witnesses, hopefully enough people saw the collision occur as to provide meaningful details as to what exactly happened.

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Condolences on what you saw. Secondary trauma is very real - please, if it continues to haunt you, reach out to a trusted loved one or professional.

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My son was due to be in the area, as he attends classes nearby. Fortunately, he takes a different route to stay well away from the area at that time. All the same,his grandmother was panicked and I texted him as soon as I heard. By the time his dad found out, his first reaction was "it wasn't me".

I used to commute through there on a bike in the mid-1990s, and it wasn't nearly as congested. If anyone wants some suggestions on how to avoid it (in a bike or a car), I'm happy to help. There are back ways through the area that are much less insane.

That said, I do know people who work with the man who was killed, and this is both horrible and inexplicable. This was a rather experienced cyclist - 60 years old, long history of cycle commuting into and out of Cambridge.

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The left-turn cycle path is very subtly indicated. It works just fine if you know about it and use it. The only sign is on the right-hand side all the way at the light in question. Many inbound cyclists going toward Somerville Ave. begin moving to the left lane as far back as Beech St. By the time they might see the sign, they're already in the left lane. At that point it'd be more dangerous to sweep across 2-3 lanes. I think adding one or more signs starting soon after Beech St. is necessary. Make them simple and assertive - "Cyclists KEEP RIGHT for Somerville Ave. access"

I actually heard the immediate aftermath this morning. As I was getting on the bus I heard some commotion and yelling from the direction of the crash. At the time I thought it was some regular members of the Porter Square Think-Tank having a meeting. I saw police & emts going the other way while on the bus and read about this soon after. So disheartening and sad.

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This guy was not inexperienced, unsafe, or unfamiliar with the intersection.

It may have led to the driver "not seeing him" in his hurry to take the left from the wrong lane.

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I never use it. Whenever I have tried, it is completely inaccessible due to pedestrians wandering over it and blocking access to it.

Not like there is anything to tell them that they shouldn't walk there, or that they would care.

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The southbound side of Mass Ave here is one of the worst in the city for trucks parking and blocking the bike lane- I'm not sure it's even a designated loading zone but they do it every single day. The string of restaurants there (Christopher's etc.) often have delivery trucks stopped in front in the morning. There was also some construction just north of Christopher's for a year where there were trucks parked blocking the bike lane every day. It makes cyclists have to cut in to the vehicle lanes. The city has never done anything about it.

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Not just the delivery trucks. All kinds of cars, Ubers, etc. are constantly parking in the bike lane on the block of Christopher's, Toad, Wok N Roll, etc. So dangerous for bikes when they do this! Wish the CPD would enforce the lane here. (Also wish the law was that driver loses license for a year for pulling shit like this.)

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You mean like this?

skintighSomerville 7 points 9 hours ago
"Pedestrians at the station constantly stand IN THE BIKE LANE while they wait for the walk signal.
I do my part by getting my shoulder as close to their face as possible when I bike by."

7 people liked this post btw...

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Yeah, we know a bike scared you once. And that's WAY worse than Bernie being KILLED AND DISMEMBERED>

Go to hell now, please. Just GO TO HELL ON THE BACK OF A SCARY CLOWN!

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Don't stand IN the f'ing bike lane and then be shocked when cyclists.bike.by.you.

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