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Moped rider dies from injuries in Forest Hills crash; friends raise money for funeral


Updated with info from State Police.

Friends are reporting the death of Joseph Lee Alan Pielmeier from injuries suffered in a crash on the Arborway in front of the Forest Hills T stop on Friday night.

Gabriel Mendez has organized a GoFundMe page to help pay for his friend's funeral:

Our beloved co-worker and messenger from the city of Boston Joseph Lee Alan Pielmeier, unfortunately had an accident on his motorcycle and lost his life. The messenger community wants to pay tribute and at the same time have the opportunity to help his family with the expenses that they may require during this difficult time.

State Police reported Monday:

Investigation by the Massachusetts State Police indicates that at approximately 6:45 p.m. the victim was operating a Tomos moped northbound on South Street and drove through a red light at the intersection with the Arborway. The moped then struck the side of a 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan that was traveling eastbound and had entered the intersection heading toward New Washington Street. The Sienna’s operator, a 30-year-old Milton man, had the green light.

The moped struck the passenger-side sliding door of the minivan. Pielmeier, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown from the bike and struck the pavement. Boston Fire and EMS responded and transported the victim to Brigham & Women’s Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He was pronounced deceased yesterday. ...

Multiple witnesses interviewed by Troopers stated that the moped drove through the red light and that the Sienna had the green light. Evidence suggests the moped was travelling between 30-40 mph at the time of the crash.

A toddler in car seat in the minivan was taken to Children's hospital with shoulder bruises, State Police say.

Free tagging: 



... ghost bike for this crash. Even though he wasn’t riding a bike in the strictest since of the word at the time of the crash, he was an avid cyclist and involved with the cycling community. A moped is more similar to a bike than anything else.

Seems appropriate to me.

Voting closed 23

The point of ghost bikes isn't supposed to be commemoration of an avid cyclist. They're supposed to be vision/awareness icons to indicate that a cyclist died BECAUSE a driver wasn't paying attention.

He drove through a red light and struck someone else's car. This was a death of his own making. I don't feel a ghost bike is appropriate here. It misses the point of them and feels like it cheapens the others where bicyclists doing everything right were killed by others.

EDIT:...and there's circumstantial evidence (empty White Claws in his bag) that he had a few drinks before driving that night.

Voting closed 61

And what were the circumstances if true?
What was behind him or alongside him at the time?
Are you calling him a suicide?

This is a dangerous intersection for anyone. Even those protected by air bags and armor.
A reminder is a good thing for all. For me his death calls for one.

If you don’t approve, let the BCU know.
I don’t approve of their quasi religious ceremony and have told them so but I do support the ghost bikes.

Edit : Blood tests can determine if he was drunk. An empty can doesn’t.

Edit: I must have missed the last bit of the report above. Still doesn’t answer all my questions.

Voting closed 14

No helmet on a ~30 mph moped running red lights at night/twilight through recognized dangerous intersections? Regardless of any other traffic conditions or his level of intoxication (or none at all), that's negligence. No car around him or behind him is going to have forced him to start out without a helmet or run a red light. Suicide ascribes motivation that I'm not implying at all.

Voting closed 18

... by a vehicle behind you or one attempting to sideswipe you, you’ve never ridden a bike in Boston traffic. Or haven’t for very long. Or have incredible good luck.

The reasons people die from gun violence, highway crashes don’t matter for their roadside memorials. Why do you want it to matter for this guy?

I do agree with you that a bike would not be accurate for this ghost memorial. A moped would be better. It may depend on what the city allows for memorials.

Voting closed 15

Are helmets required or even useful for mopeds?

Voting closed 13

Yes - it's one aspect to operating a scooter.

It's not hard to find the info without digging through the MGL website:

Helmets are useful for anyone going at speed, why do you think they're highly encouraged for even skateboarders and skiiers?

Voting closed 18

... the speed at which this guy was allegedly traveling.

Brain buckets. Also useless to football players.

They are helpful to people with balance problems. Also possibly to anyone going up or down stairs or taking a shower as this is where most falls resulting in head injury occur.

Voting closed 12

Take it up with the motorcyclist friend of mine who was hit by a drunk driver on 128. He was wearing all the gear. Helmet was important.

Take it up with my bicycling brother who was hit by a left turner as he was traveling straight through an intersection (from a down hill). He was sent up an over the vehicle windshield, breaking it and his tailbone. The helmet was in 2 pieces, but his head was fine. Fine enough to tell the driver "I had the right of way" after the exclamation "I didn't see you."

Just because you think they're useless, doesn't mean you're right. You are absolutely wrong on this one.

Voting closed 32

... helmet use for public health policy.

I can give you anecdotal evidence where helmet use would have or did cause or increase injury. But everyone has a story.

Speed, infrastructure and operator incompetence are factors that matter.

Voting closed 8


"Recommendation 1: Bicycle helmets should be worn by all persons (i.e., bicycle operators and passengers) at any age when bicycling."
"Recommendation 2: Bicycle riders should wear helmets whenever and wherever they ride a bicycle."

The helmet isn't necessarily going to save your life if you drive into the side of a minivan at 30 mph. But there were other opportunities during his drive where had something gone wrong, the helmet could have prevented increased injury or death. AND we'll never know if a helmet would have prevented his death in this case...because he chose not to wear one. He didn't give it the chance to help him survive.

Voting closed 21

... for cyclists. It does not oppose them for motorcyclists or drivers.

If you want to increase your odds of being hit by a driver a helmet can help with that. Because depending on the study, drivers on average drive 4 to 6 feet closer to cyclists.

The helmet debate has pretty much worn itself out with helmet nazis giving up the campaign to victim blame anyone who doesn’t conform to their understanding of scientific research. It’s really old and not productive to public health.

Voting closed 9

The CDC is also opposed to helmet laws...

Assertion without citation.

Do better.

Voting closed 21

It's like arguing with an anti-vaxxer.

Voting closed 14

What "the scientists" are you talking about? Gonna make repeated claims and not provide a single cite?

I can give you anecdotal evidence

Anecdotes aren't evidence.

Voting closed 14

They are a movin'.

Voting closed 12