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Bicyclist killed when truck driver tries to make turn at same time as her in Harvard Square, police say

A Florida woman on a bicycle turning from Mt. Auburn Street onto DeWolfe Street in Harvard Square around 4:30 p.m. died when hit by a box truck whose driver was going in the same direction but then decided to make a turn, Cambridge Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's office say.

The woman, 55, was taken to Cambridge Hospital after the 4:30 p.m. crash, where she was pronounced dead, officials say, adding the truck driver remained on scene.

Authorities say local and State Police are continuing to investigate the crash.

More details and background by Cambridge Day.

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Comments

Looks like a human mistake. The infrastructure is not to blame. It is a well designed and marked intersection where cars can turn right only on green arrow.

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Voting closed 27

I bike and drive this intersection, was last through it last night (Thurs evening) on a BlueBike.

I will be interested to hear more about what the truck did, where the biker was, etc. Hopefully, there is video.

Regardless of the specifics on this crash -- There absolutely is an infrastructure problem here. The bike lane goes straight, with cars getting a right turn lane that crosses over the bike lane. There's a bike signal, but the signaling is pretty confusing to me. And I bike it regularly, and am a comfortable/reasonably confident biker. And yes, I drive a car too - and think this intersection is dangerous when I drive it.

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Voting closed 30

This is a classic “right hook” collision that has killed many cyclists before. Did the driver turn right on red when they weren’t supposed to? Did the cyclist ignore the green arrow and proceed forward? (I’m a cyclist who admittedly runs reds when it’s safe to do so.) Instead of writing it off as a “mistake” let’s find out what happened and make sure it never happens again.

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Voting closed 76

The truck should have yielded to the cyclist before turning right. its negligence.

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1) It's possible the bicycle saw the truck in the straight through lane, no cars in the right lane, and figured "the truck is going straight, so am I, I can keep going." You can do this legally if you shift over to the left lane; I've done this when there are cars turning right. Basically you "turn into a car" and use the car signal. The logical next step is "well there are no right turning cars, why should I bother swinging left to then swing right to comply with the letter of the law" and the answer is "what if the truck turns right?"

2) That said, a right-turning truck should not be traveling in the left lane. There's no way to make a wide right turn there without going at least somewhat to the left given how narrow the street is they are turning onto. Taking a right from the left lane would be a marked lane violation, and the layout of the street should make it possible to take a right from the right turn lane. If the truck was in the right turn lane and the bike passed it, well, I don't know what to say about that.

3) I'd also be interested in the destination of that truck. DeWolfe Street goes down into Harvard's River Dorms and then Memorial Drive. It's not marked no trucks, but probably should be. But unless the truck was making a local delivery, what was it doing going down there?

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Voting closed 34

The two bike lanes (straight and left turn) are like a whole car lane there so no need for a truck to swing left in order take a right turn from a right turn lane.

Someone went against their red light here.

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Voting closed 27

Does not mean that it didn't happen.

Yes, likely someone ran a red there. And we've done the right thing by signal separating this (as we've done where there was a similar right-hook coming off the Harvard Bridge on the Boston side). Signals have this flaw, though, which is that they don't keep people from running them.

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Voting closed 25

The bike light here is off to the side, in line with the crosswalk. The light directly over the bike lane is probably meant for cars, but how does one know that? Why not have the bike lights over the bike lane, and the car lights over the car lane, and the pedestrian lights in line with teh crosswalk?

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Voting closed 17

Yes, agreed. This infrastructure is not intuitive for the bike lane at the intersection. I bike it (and drive it too).

The other thing that stands out is that as a biker, there are just a small handful of signalized intersections that have a bike signal. Until these are much more common (universal), it can be very challenging for novices or even routine cyclists to parse which signal to look at -- and especially so when it is not lined up directly with the bike lane.

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And actually *gasp* go into the city on a bike and learn some shit before running their keyboard from their suburban bunker.

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Voting closed 25

There is a light phase that is straight and right turn for drivers heading east on Mt. Auburn, with the rightmost bike lane having a red bike signal, this is a little frustrating intuitively. Its the same issue at the BU bridge heading westbound, there is a time, idk 10 seconds or more, where straight movement could continue and I could go straight if I were not in the bike lane. This person was from Florida, on a bluebike, I am not sure they even have bike signals in Florida tbh. Drivers of large vehicles need to be more more defensive drivers than they are, expect people to do crazy stuff at any time (I mean we should all expect that...). That said, we need to beef up sideguard regulations asap, We could do something at the statewide level that would cover more trucks, I know we need federal regulations due to interstate commerce, but state level would be something...

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Voting closed 13

Why anyone assumes anything when navigating the streets of Boston using any means of transportation is mind blowing. When I cross a street on foot I always make sure I’m not going to get hit by a bike or a car. I trust no one, but myself. Same is true when I’ve rode my bike. Always assume the worse and be prepared to act. Sure, maybe the bike or vehicle is at fault, but I’m dead and I just lost.

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Voting closed 24

Pretty sure a truck can turn left on Memorial and then right onto Western Ave at the bridge - to proceed to Mass Pike, Lower Allston, or (hopefully not) Storrow Drive.

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Voting closed 12

Could journalists please stop describing drivers hitting cyclists as “truck hits cyclist”? They don’t do this in other types of deaths (it’s not woman killed by bullet, it’s woman killed by shooter, it’s not knife kills man, it’s person kills man with knife). In America it’s always described by journalists passively to keep drivers responsible free of anything they do.

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Voting closed 32

I don't see why anybody tries to ride a bike around here. IMO it's just too dangerous! Especially for someone from Florida who is probably not used to the congested roads.

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Bicyclist killed BY truck driver making a turn in Harvard Square, police say

fixed it

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Voting closed 19

C'mon, give some more credit to Roving UHub offspring Kidlet.

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Voting closed 32

I asked a police officer at the scene if the cyclist had been hurt and he told me no. It's not surprising he was wrong given the state of the bike, but particularly sad to find out she died.

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Voting closed 12

when somebody gets killed on Summer Street or Seaport boulevard. The bike lanes here are dangerous because bicyclist do not obey traffic signals.

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Voting closed 19

They are dangerous because of drivers of powered vehicles weighing thousands of pounds who won't be hurt in a collision with pedestrians or cyclists think they are too special to not speed, ignore the signals, block the box, or stop staring at their fucking phones.

FTFW.

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Voting closed 32

Let's not pretend that drivers in Boston are any better at obeying traffic signals. In my experience, they are not. And there are a lot more of them than there are cyclists.

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Voting closed 11

Know the dangers.

Driving a large vehicle: truck, bus, construction equipment in an urban area can be very difficult. There are multiple blind spots, primarily on the right but actually all around the vehicle. If people realized how vulnerable they are they would never get near the right side of any truck or bus on a cycle, on a motorcycle, or in a car. I don't think the issue can be adequately addressed without complete separation.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers a course that focuses on risk, not just the law. Unfortunately, you can be very right and very dead at the same time. Something along those lines should be offered to.cyclist and motorists. Even if it only saves a few lives.

Also, side guards on trucks should be mandatory.

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Voting closed 23

The third paragraph of linked article says the cyclist was going straight. Not the same as the headline and text of post.

https://www.cambridgeday.com/2024/06/07/bicyclist-dies-after-being-hit-b...

The woman was on a rented Bluebike near St. Paul’s Parish when a truck with no side guards turned right across a cyclist going straight across the intersection, according to the Cambridge Bicycle Group.

DA statement doesn't saying bicyclist turning either.

https://www.middlesexda.com/press-releases/news/fatal-bike-crash-under-i...

The preliminary investigation suggests that both the truck and the bicycle were traveling in the same direction on Mt Auburn Street and the truck was turning onto DeWolf Street at the time of the crash. The bicyclist, a 55-year-old Florida woman, was transported to CHA Cambridge where she was pronounced dead. The truck operator remained on scene.

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Voting closed 24

I walked by the scene. The bicycle was about 5 feet away from the crosswalk on DeWolfe St and the truck was further down DeWolfe.

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Voting closed 12