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Trucker cleared in fatal Porter Square crash with bicyclist

Cambridge Day reports and takes a look at efforts to increase bicycle infrastructure in Cambridge.

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Parking authority make a better effort to ticket for blocking bike lane, especially in Back Bay.

Cyclists can use the full lane, duh. BUT, if you're gonna make a bike lane, for a number of reasons presumably including the idea that cars will have to stop killing cyclists, then how about ticket those who park in the bike lane overnight?

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Right when cyclists start getting ticketed for running red lights.

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When you present evidence that motorists are stopped for running red lights, and run those lights less often than cyclists do with less impact and mortality.

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I have been a professional driver in this town for over thirty years and treat bicyclists the same as any other vehicle as something that has every right to share the road with me and should be as respected the same as the nitwit who drives a Hummer.

That being said, I have observed an equal amount of bike scofflaws in this town as vehicular ones and often bikes engage in the same careless behavior as those who drive cars, but bikes don't kill people. That's it.

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Or take a walk in the Financial Dist. near summer.

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and maybe you’ll get a clue how it feels to safely navigate this city of two wheels? Trust me—your perspective re who is the real danger will change.

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Sure. Count them.

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Getting in here before the inevitable 'bash the bicyclist' game starts on here to say Rest in Peace Dr. Levins. People do not deserve to die simply for riding a bike or because large trucks have blind spots, regardless who may have been "at fault." Have some compassion, folks.

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However it is also unfair to blame vehicles for any and all tragedies that happen on the road. Sometimes, shh happens. It's sad this man lost his life. It's sad when anyone loses their life. And you're right, no one deserves to die, which is why it's important for all of us to follow the rules of the road.

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People cause collisions. Period.

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You would never guess how many people collide with my person on an average day while looking at their cell phones.

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That's hilarious. Also, I don't victim blame and I haven't victim blamed in this instance either. Thank you.

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Its there for all to see, everyone knows what you're trying to get at and you do it constantly. Just come out and say it, stop being a coward.

EDIT: Also, you understand how google works right? This wasn't too hard to find by just typing "Scauma, Universal Hub, Victim Blaming"

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Did I say the bicyclist was at fault? I don't recall saying that. I'll save everyone the needless back and forth between us and leave it at this, I didn't blame this victim and I haven't blamed any other victims. If you feel different that's fine. I would encourage you to develop your reading comprehension skills though.

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However it is also unfair to blame vehicles for any and all tragedies that happen on the road. Sometimes, shh happens.

it's important for all of us to follow the rules of the road

Emphasis yours. Its the coy and subtle language you use to split hairs and pontificate from up on your moral horse 'oh gee if only everyone followed the rules of the road.' People can follow the rules of the road and still be a victim of car violence, you try to gloss over that with your statement.

You've come on this forum and actively asked why a rape victim would just lie there and not do anything. Plenty of people called you out on it but you just double down and say its a reading comprehension issue, another tired line you use.

I don't expect you to understand because you clearly are a troll and I'm not the only one thats called you out for it.

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you are a text book victim blaming.

In all these posts linked I can paraphrase your comments by saying

"I am not victim blaming but this type of victim is to blame"

for instance

http://www.universalhub.com/2017/wackos-spirit-lives-gay-veterans-once-a...

First and foremost, I support gay rights, marriage, equality, and whatever else they feel they need or want. In general, I support equality for everyone. That said, is it really necessary to be gay about everything all the time?

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I'll wait.
To blame a victim, you must feel like the victim did something to bring whatever happened to them on themselves right? This whole 'victim blaming' thing started when that kid got raped on the cruise ship, and I asked if the story left out some details because it didn't sound complete. That turned out to be true btw. I don't consider that victim blaming, if you do let's agree to disagree and be done with the conversation.

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You said more than "some details were left out".

You proceeding to illustrate all of the aspects of victim blaming in your comments which I matched to definitions and scholarly research on the subject.

It seems to me that you are just playing games with people.

BTW, the quote of yours that I used is actually from a story about the St Patrick's day parade.

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So asking a question is equivalent to victim blaming? Got it. If I said 'there's no way that happened and the teenager must've did something to warrant it' then yes I would be victim blaming. But I asked "I wonder if some details were left out because..." That is just a question, period. Feel free to go look back at it.

You can question the early reporting of a news story without victim blaming.

As for trolling, please. I comment under this same name on a couple other platforms and at no point have I trolled. I like to ask questions, and engage in conversation.

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highly doubt I'd just freeze up and not know what to say if some guy was trying to take my man hood like that. And no I'm not victim blaming, or saying he's lying or anything of the sort. Just saying that's pretty hard to believe. Now if you were so drunk (btw why did a 15 year old have to much to drink?) that you were basically incapacitated, then that would make total sense. Perhaps there's some details being left out of this story.

http://www.universalhub.com/2017/man-charged-raping-teen-cruise-ship-out...

It would be idiotic to believe that you don't understand the definition of victim blaming, you are just saying crazy stuff to stir people up.

like when you "wondered"

is it really necessary to be gay about everything all the time?

http://www.universalhub.com/2017/wackos-spirit-lives-gay-veterans-once-a...

Maybe its my mistake to think someone that says stuff like this could actually mean it.

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I'd ask that you read my responses with no preconceived ideas about who you think I am, and instead just read them for what they are.

On a more personal note, I've known way to many people who are or were victims to ever think that I would just 'victim blame' without any cause or reason. I also feel it is fair to not rush to judgement (innocent until proven guilty) and assume everyone accused, I guilty.

And lastly, you interpreted my comment about the kid not fighting back as victim blaming, but I was actually saying there's probably more to the story than what was being reported, ie, the kid was probably super drunk and couldn't, or maybe did, and it just wasn't reported as such.

Enjoy the rest of your Friday.

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I make this opinion from studying your comments in several threads. Your comments are ridiculous, random and contrary. The only common goals is to provoke responses to questions that you don't care about.

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'In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.'

You're entitled to your opinion but I don't think that defines me in the slightest, but let's agree to disagree.

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It would be comical irony if your posts weren’t designed to kick people when they’re down or dead in this case.

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Nobody cares about this back and forth. Like I said, we can agree to disagree. But I don't think an objective look at my commenting history here would suggest I'm a troll. You think I'm a troll, I think you're misguided, we can leave it at that.

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you are free to let it go at anytime, I'm not following you.

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The lethal potential of motor vehicles will be taken as seriously in this state as the lethal potential of firearms.

No constitutional amendments giving anyone the right to drive, and we still get this nonsense.

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Lots of things can be lethal, we can't ban everything in the world. We can't even ban assault rifles, things made specifically to kill.

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Oh, but if we took the body count seriously, some people might not be allowed to drive.

Please show us the constitutional amendment and body of law that gives drivers a right to drive - even if they kill people?

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Who discussed a ban? That comment did not. Don't jump to straw men immediately. The laws for killing someone with a vehicle in the Commonwealth are weak unless you were drunk and even then they're not strong enough. That reflects a society which treats deaths-by-vehicle as inevitable. It does not have to be that way and is not that way in other nations. That doesn't mean we ban cars, nor would be that rational or possible, but there's a lot more we can and should do.

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I'll say.....63 comments.No, make that 93, there's a truck AND a bike.

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1. Was the truck driver licensed?
2. Is it legal to use an 18 wheeler in Porter square when the load is divisible? This was an egg company. Clearly eggs could be divided up into smaller trucks.

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1. Probably, as we have not heard otherwise.

2. It is more efficient and cost effective to move one, larger load rather than several smaller ones. Because of this fact, trucking companies will usually operate the largest trucks that they can to maximize their income.

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It isn't about maximizing income.

It is about minimizing labor. Those are two different things.

In many cases, the costs of having one big truck over two small trucks swamp the cost of the extra driver ... but drivers are in short supply and the trucking companies are resisting raising wages to fix that.

TL/DR we have highly inexperienced drivers earning very little driving huge trucks in the city because of union busting and anti-labor policies.

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Minimizing labor also increases profits so the point stands. Unfortunately profits over people is collateral damage of capitalism.

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It externalizes costs.

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Clearly it is a benefit to the profits of the trucking company and to a lesser extent, the customer. But what about the public safety issues they are externalizing by using these big trucks that have issues seeing pedestrians and cyclists, trouble navigating narrow streets, illegally double parking and causing traffic?

What if there was regulatory incentives that pushed trucking companies to use smaller, safer trucks? What if those very companies are already either looking into or implementing that?

‘We’ll put fulfillment centers right in the core of all urban areas to facilitate same-hour delivery, same-day delivery, or next-day delivery, and at an absolute worst-case scenario, two-day delivery. You still had truckload and intermodal quantities—in some cases LTL quantities—coming into these fulfillment centers because they’re typically smaller, given the price of real estate in an urban environment—maybe 100,000 square feet, as opposed to one million. There are a lot of different ways to make the final delivery once you’ve got that inventory-forward position close to end-user demand.

http://www.trailer-bodybuilders.com/trailers/last-mile-delivery-landscape

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what I am hearing you say is that you would rather have more trucks. albeit smaller, but more of 'em on the roads to replace one tractor trailer?

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In a more detailed response that acknowledges the complex logistics of deliveries, I would also like to see more loading zones for deliveries and eliminate double parking in bike infra, along with delivery regulations that work to best manage the hours that these deliveries occur.

Smart companies, like the ones mentioned in the article, are shifting to delivery paradigms like that. Those that aren't are of course doubling down on large tractor trailers that obviously bring them profits because costs are externalized while posing safety hazards to our communities.

Did you think that was a "gotcha question"?

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I just spent a week in Paris and didnt see a single large truck. Not one.

And yet every restaurant I went to was able to receive a supply of eggs.

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Thank you for your humble brag/service.

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You aren't generally going to see them in tourist areas. There are plenty of big trucks, though. Tourist buses, too.

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I've biked all over France. The only place you see them is on the major motorways - like our interstate freeways.

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where to you think those trucks are going to? I am sure some will make it into the city of Paris.

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Vans? Mini-vans? Probably ending in those awesome three-wheeler trucks that you still see navigating city streets in Italy.

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They aren't allowed to drive around the city streets.

They have to offload and transfer in facilities that are just off of every motorway.

You don't see semi trucks on city streets in many European cities, except by special permit and with an escort - an escort like the trucker who murdered the doctor on Mass Ave was supposed to have.

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the cyclist entered the lane of the travel without signaling

I find this a little more relevant than rumors, but everyone's different.

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(2) the bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn; provided, however, that signals need not be made continuously and shall not be made when the use of both hands is necessary for the safe operation of the bicycle,

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

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This isn't about getting a ticket. This is about telling other people on the road what you're about to do. Please don't look at these things as burdensome regulations with loopholes to exploit. If you don't signal, you're unpredictable and more likely to get hit.

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I have to leave the blocked bike lane and need both hands on my handlebars. Do you know what I do? I look and make eye contact with the driver. Its pretty simple, safe and legal.

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Oh, ok, that's cool then. If there's only one driver on the road with you then you've got nothing to worry about.

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drivers supposed to be psychic and just know when a cyclist is going to depart the bike lane and move into the travel lane? Moving from the bike lane into the general travel lane without looking or signaling is dangerous if not fatal.

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Where does it say the victim didn't look?

Also, self-preservation is something that'll usually make a cyclist or other vulnerable road users look before moving.

The law is written in a way that acknowledges and allows for cyclists to change lanes without signalling because it recognize the safety issues surrounding that.

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The point is not that the law allows you to make an unsignaled lane change without getting a ticket. The point is not where you look before you do it.

The point is that signaling is what helps other people on the road predict where you're going to be in a few seconds. Without them, you are unpredictable. If you are unpredictable then you are more likely to get hit. Do you seriously not get that?

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This was never about getting a ticket, not sure why you think that is such.

No one is carelessly riding around looking to get killed. You think we ride our bikes with the sole intention of doing the most dangerous things we can so we get run over?

You're like the people that cry about cyclist endangering pedestrians by running red lights. Do you think I have any interest in hitting you and putting my body/life at risk?

You act like us cyclists have a death wise. Far from it, I'm just trying to get to home/work alive.

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Lays out the rules for operating bicycles, the penalties for violating those rules, and exceptions like the one you quoted. It's not a survival guide. I could be wrong, but you seem to interpret sometimes not being required by law to signal with a reason to just not do it, even though it's the thing that everyone around you depends on when predicting your actions.

I don't believe at all you want to get hurt. I'm just saying that looking somewhere is much less effective than using the standard and agreed-upon hand signals.

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The original post I responded to was a hot take on the cyclist being at fault because he allegedly merged into the lane without signaling. Was he hit right away? Was it moments or several seconds after? Did it contribute to him getting hit? Did he make eye contact with the driver behind him?

All these things are not detailed in the article, so me pointing out that its not illegal to merge on a bike without signaling is pushback against the hot take. Doesn't mean the cyclist didn't look, doesn't mean he did but getting back to self-preservation, who in their right mind would merge into traffic on a bike without looking?

EDIT: And here is an article from a friend of the deceased, saying that the victim was all about saftey. This the point I'm trying to make, he didn't die because he failed to signal, he died while legally operating his bike.

I would submit that Joe was not killed by a blind spot and the lack of a hand signal. Joe was killed by a truck whose driver had at least 50 feet to notice the bicyclist in front of him and by the fact that the truck was not equipped with hood-mounted mirrors. Nor was Joe killed by the lack of a hand signal, which did not factor into this crash. Joe was killed by a poorly designed intersection that requires bicyclists to cross at least one travel lane while competing with car and truck traffic.

http://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/news/20180405/column-joe-was-all-about-...

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a driver will pick up a glance from a cyclist and know what they are about to do is unrealistic.

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Especially when I merge in front a driver that looks up from their phone to see me. But I understand your point, not everyone is paying attention to things on the road, thats no fault of mine.

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Problem solved..

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AHAHAHAHAH

You clearly do not live in this city.

Try taking the T at 1am ... 0r 5am.

Try getting from Arlington to the Longwood Medical Area in less than 2 hours.

Try getting anywhere that goes through the center of Boston at anytime other than midnight.

FIX THE T and make it 24 Hours to everywhere and maybe it could be done.

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Nobody was ever going to be charged. We all knew that.

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If we were truly a violent lot, there would be vigilante action.

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It's amazing to me that the report doesn't find that the infrastructure contributed to the crash at all. Because based on my understanding of what happened and the way the intersection is designed, it seems very likely that it did.

This is my understanding/interpretation of what happened: Mr. Lavins left the bike lane prior to the intersection to merge over into the middle lane, preparing to turn left. He placed himself in front of the truck that was first in line at the red light. The driver did not see him in front of the truck. Traffic in the middle lane can go left or straight but the signal to turn left lags: first the green to go straight comes up, and the arrows to turn left come up also a few seconds later. So if there is a vehicle in the middle lane waiting to turn left, they end up "blocking" the traffic going straight in that lane temporarily, even though the straight traffic has a green. If the truck behind Mr. Lavins was going straight, the driver would have wanted to go as soon as signal to go straight turned green, while Mr. Lavins would have still be waiting for the left arrow. In that case, if the driver didn't see Mr. Lavins, he would have run him over, which is exactly what happened. The signal timing here is very confusing and results in much honking every day, as drivers wanting to go straight honk at drivers who are wanting to go left but are correctly not turning yet, as they are waiting for their green arrow. It's really a terrible design.

Is there any reason to believe this isn't what happened? Am I missing something?

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The desire of the city to not be sued, and the desire of the trucking company and trucker to not be sued are more important than life itself.

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From the article:

Bicyclist Dr. Bernard “Joe” Lavins died by entering the blind spot of a tractor-trailer ... Lavins was fatally struck by the tractor-trailer truck in the center of the middle lane of Massachusetts Avenue, with the impact occurring in the center of the truck, and then by a sedan in the same lane, investigators said.

That seems to rule out cden4's suggested scenario. Although I'm not sure I understand what happened either. It sounds like maybe both vehicles were in motion, and Lavins merged left right into the side of the truck that was on his left... which doesn't make sense either.

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That description doesn't conflict with cden4's scenario. There would be a blind spot in front of a truck.

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I don't understand what "the impact occurring in the center of the truck" is supposed to mean.

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It might mean that he was hit by the center of the front bumper of the truck...

...though I would agree it's an odd way to say it.

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So I have since learned that the truck was also turning left. So that means that driver was going faster than the bicyclist and ran him over while they were both moving, and that the confusing signal configuration likely wasn't an issue in this case. I guess that means that Mr. Lavins merged left into the middle lane directly into the blind spot in front of the truck? I have a very hard time believing that.

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It used to be that back in the day it was a good bet the average big rig driver would be a lot more astute and considerate than the average straight truck driver, but it seems that is no longer the case. Sadly, instead of straight truck drivers being held to a higher standard than previously like you might think, now parity is achieved by allowing the semi drivers to be held to a lower standard. The reputation of truckers was sterling. People used to say to me as a kid you could always count on a trucker if you needed help, the way people said it of cops, teachers, etcetera. I remember discussing with friends that among a hierarchy of motor vehicles you could depend on semi trucks to be the most predictably safe to drive near. I'd have to eat those words now because lately it seems that a failure to assume the driver of any semi truck will take the absolute worst possible course of action at any given time is likely to get you killed.

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if I had to take a poll, the highest number of vehicles that stop for me at crosswalk near my home are tractor trailer drivers.

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The highest number of vehicles that don't stop for at the crosswalk near my home are motor vehicles. And that includes the vehicle that rolled through the stop sign, hitting me and sending me to the hospital.

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The Cambridge DA's statement says that driver's are not responsible for hitting anything in their blindspot. It is everyone's but the truck's responsibility. For some reason, I have been surveying the road and my mirrors carefully and making careful calculations to determine whether there was anything in my blindspot, but if I get a truck license then I don't have to. It is bizarre how little municipalities care about pedestrians and cyclists.

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All it takes is a single driver's inattention to destroy a cyclist and their family's life. It could be argued that the truck driver in this case had a momentary lapse in attention. However, having ridden for several years (much like so many others here) I can with assess with high confidence that there are drivers who drive with complete disregard, if not with outright malice, towards cyclists. These drivers unfortunately are not an insignificant fraction of the driving population. This much is obvious to everyone.

As a cyclist the only hope I have of surviving is to treat every driver as a roving sociopath who will gladly bump me off the road for causing even the slightest inconvenience. My two cents here is to keep an ear out for what's behind you, and if it sounds beastly - do not ever ever attempt to veer into it even if it means having to ride through pot holes the size of a trash can.

The fact remains there are too many supersized SUVs and heavy duty trucks (with huge trailers, improperly tethered, overhanging equipment, etc.) on the streets that there is simply no way for a cyclist to guarantee their safety. At the end of the day it is the cyclist who pays the price and the driver will probably only carry remorse (sometimes not even that).

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