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The death of Anita Kurmann reexamined

16 seconds: The Killing of Anita Kurmann

MassBike takes another look at the the 2015 crash at Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street that killed Dr. Anita Kurmann. The driver of the truck was not charged; the Globe reports authorities stand by their conclusion he did nothing wrong.

Ed. note: The video includes footage of Kurmann's death.

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Heartbreaking and horrifying.

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It is disgusting that the driver wasn't charged with hit and run. If the excuse is, "someone driving that truck may not be able to tell if they kit and killed someone" then that means vehicles like that should immediately be banned on city streets. That driver is facing zero repercussions. In America a drivers license is essentially a license to kill.

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alternate viewpoint: if your vehicle cannot protect you in a low-speed collision, then that vehicle should be banned from city streets. in America, riding bicycles in traffic is essentially attempted suicide.

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Ban private cars and trucks on city streets for a week, then ban bikes for a week, and we'll count up how many accidents there are each of the two weeks.

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It needs to be at least 6 months of no cars/trucks. That way we can deplete all resources in/out of the city or hire you for pedal power.

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Lets further that study by evaluating the level of hunger faced by the average bostonian before and after the test is implemented.

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You spotted a flaw in the 400 page thesis-level policy statement that I actually submitted as an actual policy proposal; well done

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How do you stock stores without trucks?

Simple question.

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You don't use giant vehicles to make deliveries to a handful of stores. You use vans and smaller box trucks.

You don't bring giant things into the city when they should have escort details.

You do your deliveries before 6am.

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There's literally 3 pallets worth of stuff on that truck. You can't really be saying that there's no other option for delivering it.

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excellent question, lets ask the continent that's full of cities with similar streets to Boston: http://c8.alamy.com/comp/FEEGC0/madrid-spain-europe-spanish-hispanic-cha...

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Gateway to MA and New England for container shipping.

Redesign and pay for said redesigns to Southie and the Seaport.

Rework how Conley does business.

Let us know how you want to make this happen.

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Are you also going to ban pedestrians?

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Does no one mention the other bike in between the two cars at the red light (making his own private third lane) and then swerves into the one car's lane once the light turns green? This is the sort of behavior I see by bikes daily. That and running red lights and swerving around pedestrians in crosswalks.

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I don't see lane splitting as illegal and unsignaled lane merges are routine for motorists as well. At the same speed of traffic, it isn't a big deal.

Passing within the same lane as occupied by another vehicle is what drivers do when passing a bike, yet they aren't "making their own lane".

That behavior was safer and other than an unsignaled lane change, I don't believe it was illegal. In fact it was downright Boston driving, meaning should be anticipated by fellow Boston drivers. Which means driving assertively at best and as a total douchebag at worst.

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1. The risks of sedentary lifestyle diseases that plague Americans because they drive everywhere are far higher than injury risks of cycling.

2. The woman murdered here in this video was a doctor and would know this.

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3. The risk of riding a bicycle alongside cars. If you genuinely care about cyclists' lives, then urge them to stay off the road. It's a dumb way to risk your life.

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If you genuinely care about cyclists' lives, then urge them to stay off the road. It's a dumb way to risk your life.

And how are they to get anywhere, if not by using the roads?

This has to be the stupidest comment in this thread.

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Swirly knows what's best for everyone. Crown her God-King and grovel at her feet!

Or...

Take responsibility for your own damn health and safety by not sneaking around heavy machinery and maintaining a good diet and exercise regimen. Shocking as it might be to a certain, shall we say "triggered" sort, the two are not mutually exclusive.

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Operating a vehicle in a legal fashion, as the cyclist was doing, is not "sneaking".

Shocking as it might be to a certain, shall we say "triggered" sort

Someone's triggered here, but it ain't the people calling an act of irresponsible and careless driving that resulted in vehicular homicide.

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"If it's legal, it MUST be safe!"

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"If it's legal, it MUST be safe!"

This has nothing to do with the post you're responding to, so why post it? Oh, yeah, to be an assshat.

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Maybe you're just pissed that people are calling cyclists out on unsafe behavior using actual video evidence prepared by your own side.

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Agreed.

I narrowly avoided my own right-hook situation on Beacon St. Monday heading toward Kenmore square in the 'new protected bike lane' by a large SUV driver who overtook me to make a right turn - saved myself by biking up onto the sidewalk giving myself a little more braking room/time.

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The truck crosses the white line (illegal). By doing that he injures someone with that turn (reckless/negligent?)

I can can see somewhat how the the bike was along the truck the entire time so the cyclist should have been able to see the right turn signal (and probably wouldn't have had time to avoid it anyway so I don't even know if that matters)

On the other hand, the truck should have seen the cyclist in it's mirror. No doubt in my mind.

I think you might be right. If a truck can't make a turn without crossing that line (which is there for a reason), it should either be banned from that street, or 1000% careful that no one gets hurt when you do an illegal maneuver.

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By "the white line" do you mean the solid white line separating the same-direction traffic lanes in the approach to the intersection? Trucks of that size pretty much *always* need to cross those in that manner; that's why they have those "makes wide right turns" signs on them. It can be counter-intuitive to the people around them, but it's the only way they can make it through an intersection like that. And yeah, that's a huge problem.

Dr. Kurmann almost certainly did not notice the turn signals, but you can see that she did stop short when she noticed the truck *was* turning across her path. She successfully avoids getting hit by the front of the truck. It's a little unclear, but I think I see her start to back up when she realizes that the *back* tires of the truck are coming towards her; there's a good chance she was looking towards the front of the truck (perhaps pissed off at the close right-hook) and did not notice in time. There wasn't time to bail. I've almost been caught by the back end of a truck myself.

Either way, the driver is completely negligent in not checking his right side. In a civil case, where blame is apportioned by percentage, I'd probably assign 5-10% of the blame to her (inattention to turn signal) and 90-95% to the driver (not confirming a clear turn path, inattention to passed vehicle on right side.) Once she missed the turn signal, there was actually very little she could do without above-average reflexes and athleticism.

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Could she even make out the turn signal? Is it visible from her vantage point or only from front/side of truck?

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Without a closer look at the actual models of truck & trailer in the setup, I couldn't say how visible the front directional signal would have been from alongside the whole length of the vehicle or if a rear (or side) directional on the tractor unit was visible to her or if there was a side directional on the trailer unit.

She came up from behind, however, and would have seen his rear directional. So far as I've read, nobody has said the rear directional wasn't working.

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This shows how to make the turn correctly:

http://photos.truckingtruth.com/pics/5067/1480261230.9555.jpg

edit:

Christopher Weigl was killed after colliding with a truck pulling the same jug-handle maneuver:

http://www.bu.edu/today/2012/student-cyclist-killed-on-comm-ave/

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Good point. But button hook works only if the oncoming lanes to the right aren't occupied by people waiting for the light. I suspect that that happens so commonly that truckers just get used to doing the jug handle turn. -.-

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as the truck turned from one truck route to another (Mass. Ave. to Vassar Street). Unfortunately, Cambridge and MIT narrowed Vassar Street at the intersection, making trucks have to cross over into the oncoming lane. Stupid change for the intersection of two roads they designated as truck routes, claiming a theoretical reduction in danger from a shorter pedestrian crossing distance.

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How much wider would you make Vassar Street? https://goo.gl/maps/zeka1YQwt1H2

I don't think Vassar was much wider at the Mass Ave intersection before the 2003 reconstruction.

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Except for one thing. Crossing a SINGLE white line is NOT illegal in state law, the Uniform Vehicle Code, or the MUTCD.

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You and your BIKE ALWAYS AT FAULT MAKES ME FEEL BAD BLAH BLAH TEENAGERS

For someone who thinks that he knows the laws, you sure as hell are afraid of actually being responsible for OBEYING them.

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The Mass RMV driving manual seems to frown upon both making lane changes in intersections, and making right turns from any lane but the right one.

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I think the term of art used is "unlawful". Somehow, this is different from "illegal", or prohibited.

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Car drivers think they are special.

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Which does not imply "illegal" to do so.

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Like one way violations are?

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The truck crosses the white line (illegal).

According to the first paragraph of page 10 of this document, it is something "you should avoid". Doesn't say anything about it being illegal.
https://www.massrmv.com/Portals/30/docs/dmanual/chapter_4.pdf

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MGL CH. 89 s.4A is your standard "marked lanes violation".

I'm having trouble looking up the case law on google, (comm vs Obrien 2013), (comm v Ferrell 2011) and (comm vs Ortolani 2011) basically all say that the police can pull you over for crossing these lines. One of them says that just "touching" the line isn't enough for the stop.

If you look at the statute it doesn't really say this but like most MA laws and statutes, courts tell us what they think the law means.

Section 4A. When any way has been divided into lanes, the driver of a vehicle shall so drive that the vehicle shall be entirely within a single lane, and he shall not move from the lane in which he is driving until he has first ascertained if such movement can be made with safety. The operators of motorcycles shall not ride abreast of more than one other motorcycle, shall ride single file when passing, and shall not pass any other motor vehicle within the same lane, except another motorcycle.

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Solid White Line
A solid white line marks the right edge of the roadway or separates lanes of traffic going the same direction, including bicycle lanes. You can go in the same direction on both sides of this line (except the shoulder), but you should not cross it unless you need to avoid danger

Source, top of page labeled 88, 10th page of PDF: https://www.massrmv.com/Portals/30/docs/dmanual/chapter_4.pdf

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just thinking from a legal standpoint.

"should not"

Not a great clear legal term

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Sorry, but the bicyclist was clearly at fault. The truck passes her on the bridge then stopped at a red light. The bike then attempts to pass the truck on it's right hand side and out of the bike lane. His directional was on for 8 seconds. The bike should have been behind the truck, not next to it.
The real question is why do we think bikes and 18 wheelers can share the same space.

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Watch it again, honey.

Nice try.

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It's a bike lane. The bicyclist has every legal right to pass on the right.

As a defensive biking issue, I would never pass a truck like that unless I was sure I could clearly beat the truck well before he would even consider start making his turn. For the safety of my fellow cyclists, I strongly recommend this guide: https://bicyclesafe.com/

That being said, the onus is on the operator of the heavy vehicle to ensure they aren't endangering other road users. The trucker saw and passed bicycles. It's on the trucker to safely turn only when the path is clear. They have a CDL for a reason. Larger vehicle, greater responsibility.

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at the time of this terrible accident. The dedicated bike lane came later.

"Using footage from traffic cameras, police investigators concluded Kurmann was at fault, adding that at the time she was riding in a bus lane, and not in the marked lane that cyclists can share with motor vehicle traffic."

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/01/23/bicycle-group-says-tractor-...

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Yes, but can't fault her for that. Cyclists get screamed at, honked at, and even swerved at for riding in anything but the farthest right lane, even when it's not the legal place for them to be.

Sure, I'll take the damn lane as is my right, but that's my decision, and I won't force it on others.

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My car makes me a special somebody too!

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Bike lane. Marked with a bike and bus stop signs.

Can't believe they let people like you drive with that sort of entitled ignorance.

Note the dashed lines across, note the bike markings in the lane, dear. Every bit of pavement isn't about your special car.

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Note how the bike lane immediately shifts out of the shared lane to a bikes only lane after the crosswalk. There is no angled transition, it simply appears directly in front of the bus lane. So think about this from the standpoint of the cyclist. They are approaching the intersection, there is a bus lane to the right. At the intersection, they must cross over to the right at the same point that the bus must cross over to the left. That's an extremely unsafe tactical situation. Any sane cyclist will merge in to the bus lane before the intersection so as to align with the upcoming bike only lane and to avoid the counter merging bus traffic.

But that is a distraction from the issue. Suppose Dr. Kerman is in the middle lane rather than the bus lane. The truck is still making a dangerous turn that crosses in front of the path of on-coming vehicular traffic.

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She was in a marked bus lane. The middle lane was the bike lane back then. Are you people blind or ignorant?

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...speaking of ignorance...

Dave put up a google view from the layout at that time.

That's not a bike lane in that area.

The bike symbol with two chevrons is what is called a sharrow. It's a reminder to all road users that the lane is a shared-use lane.

It was probably there because bicycles would need to get around the buses at the bus stop. There is another sharrow in that view, towards the middle-right of the intersection, probably because of buses pulling out from the bus stop and having to get out to the travel lane on the other side of Beacon (because the curbside along Mass Av south of Beacon was parking). An actual bike lane marking is visible starting south of Beacon. Actually, the bike lane resumed after Beacon - there was a bike lane on the bridge, which leads into the shared-use markings passing Back Street, the bus stop, and Beacon Street.

The truck was in the lane with the sharrow,

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Yes, at the time, that was a bus stop. But it is normal for bikes to use available space on the street to the right of faster moving traffic. And I don't believe it's illegal for them to do so either, and is expected by other road users.

If there is no one parked on the right, and that area is striped for parking, I will ride there as it is generally safer to be out of motor traffic; and as a courtesy to the faster traffic. I think drivers would be pretty upset if I didn't do that when I could, and insisted on taking the lane as the sharrow permits me, if there were other options.

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You can see it in the video. The posts came later, but the bike lane was always there.

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No.

See the Google view Dave linked above.

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First thank you Dave for reminding me about street view history.

1. Notice in the crash video that inside the intersection the lane (that we are disputing) becomes parallel dashed lines. in the lower left corner is a upside down bike symbol marking it as a bike lane.

2. The so-called bus lane is not marked as a bus lane. The bus stop exists and the lines exist but there is nothing that identifies it as a buslane. In Boston bus lanes are marked diamonds symbols, maroon color and/or the words BUS ONLY. I am referring to the section of road between back street and beacon street. the section of mass ave running over the bridge is marked as a bike lane. Massachusetts Driver's Manual states that such restricted lanes are marked with a diamond.

3. In 2012 this same block of mass ave between back and beacon was marked as a bike lane & right hand turning lane. https://goo.gl/byhx7g
The bus stop is still present. Inside the intersection the lane becomes bike only painted green with dashed white lines
https://goo.gl/vWXzV9 In 2015 the sharrows are painted in. https://goo.gl/Zj4qnD

I am making a very technical argument, but not less so that the theory that finds the bicyclist at fault. It seems to me that if a person assumes the bicyclist was in the wrong lane, then that person is saying that sharrows require bicyclists to be in the the travel lane when road is marked with sharrows. The law does not seem to mention sharrows but it does say "It shall not be a defense for a motorist causing an accident with a bicycle that the bicycle was to the right of vehicular traffic." https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Sect...

So what I am saying is that the cyclist was in an unmarked lane to the right of traffic and visible to the truck driver if he chose to look. The truck driver had passed her on the bridge. If you argue that the cyclist passed the truck while he was stopped for the light, then it is not possible for the truck to hit the bicycle without passing her again between that stop and the turn. " No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper. " General Laws Part I Title XIV Chapter 90 section 14.

I believe this shows that by law he was responsible for the accident. I don't know if he is criminally negligent. The intersection markings are very misleading if you look at the history of the markings.

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1 & 3: In the video as in the three google views you linked, there is never a "bike lane" or "bike only" marking.

The bicycle stencil with the two chevrons is a sharrow. That does not mark a bike lane. It is a reminder marking that a lane or area is shared space.

A bike lane is marked with two circles and the (presumably helmeted) rider figure.

2. Others called it a bus lane. I did not. There was a bus stop there

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Inside of an intersection a bike only lane is Marked with dotted lines to reflect the fact that vehicle traffic will be crossing it. So inside the intersection it is a bike only lane. In 2012 it was a bike only lane until you get close to the intersection and then it was a shared right laying with cars that are turning right and bicycles (between back and beacon). In 2012 you can see that after the bike lane enters the intersection going south it is painted green which is bike only. Obviously that is dangerous too. Again nothing about Sharrows in the law. To presume that Sharrows imean a bicycle cannot travel to the right of traffic is your assumption not the laws.

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Again - the symbol in the intersection is NOT a bike lane marking. It is a sharrow - a reminder of shared use.

It was not a bike only lane in the intersection. Buses coming out of the bus stop and continuing south on Massachusetts Avenue were headed for the right-hand travel lane south of Beacon Street, where the bike only lane did start between the right-hand travel lane and the parked vehicles.

Green pavement does not = "bike only lane". Green highlights areas of potential road sharing conflict.

Yes, sharrows are in the law.

So, there are four misstatements of facts you made in one paragraph.

You compound that by projecting views on me that I don't have and never said - for the second time in as many posts, as a matter of fact, so STOP. You're having enough trouble with photographs and printed words, so maybe you should clear that up before you move to mind-reading or clairvoyance.

No, I did not presume that sharrows mean a bicycle cannot travel to the right of traffic. The responsibilities of both parties in the "passing on the right"/"passing to turn" situation are described in the law.

If you want to review some of the background facts, Chapter 4 of the driver's manual is a pretty good place to start, especially pages 89 and 106-110.

https://www.massrmv.com/Portals/30/docs/dmanual/chapter_4.pdf

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But if I must then when you search sharrows in the law you get this result

https://malegislature.gov/Search?SearchTerms=sharrows

So when this accident happened bicycle symbol was visible within the dotted lines in the intersection, but the chevron's were not visible. Those dotted lines lead from the supposed "bus only" lane. The boston globe article does state
"...police investigators concluded Kurmann was at fault, adding that at the time she was riding in a bus lane, and not in the marked lane that cyclists can share with motor vehicle traffic." I am disputing that it ever was bus only lane. In the future I will direct my comments firmly in your direction by using your name "Rob", when I am criticizing you, "Rob". For instance "Rob", sharrows are mentioned in the Manual not Massachusetts law.

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Okay...

The acts of the Legislature do not lay out each dot and jot of law on a topic. They specify some things, and then adopt or commission assembled standards for the bulk of it. Sometimes, they adopt most of a national or regional standard, like the highway standards for signs and road markings that others have mentioned here. Other times, Massachusetts has its own standard, like the plumbing code. So, the legislative search tool doesn't find sharrows, but they are indeed part of the law - because the law adopted/commissioned the standard that includes them. The driver's manual is produced by the agency/department that, under law, is responsible for (among other things) getting this information to the public.

About sharrows... They are a reminder that an area is shared use. That's about it (There's an item in the driver's manual which, interestingly, talks about them being suggested positioning for bikes, but certainly not required positioning). Their absence does not mean and cannot be interpreted as meaning that an area is "motor vehicles only" (i.e. "not shared use") - only specific types of road can be so restricted. Their presence does not ever mean a "bike only" lane and cannot be interpreted as meaning "bike only" because they are two entirely different symbols.

You say that the chevrons were not visible in the intersection at the time of the crash. So far as I know, the chevrons were part of the symbol in the intersection at the time of the crash. They are visible in the google view you linked which was closest in time to the crash. They are not visible in the video clips because they are outside the frame of the video.

Also, that marking had nothing to do with the crash.

I agree that the space between the travel lane (where the truck was) and the curb should not have been called bus-only lane. I never called it such.

I'd hardly call it a lane at all, as it was set up. Most of it was bus stop, with a little room at the end for cars and bikes turning right onto Beacon. Nobody should be going through a bus stop, but there certainly appeared to be enough width between the bus stop and the lane the truck was in for cyclists to safely pass on the right (as is legal) if they didn't want to be in the same lane. Ultimately, that didn't have anything to do with the crash.

The problem is the distance/speed/time in overtaking. Work with the distances, positions, and times as given in the video. He didn't cut her off. He passed her way back on the bridge. She was still well behind him (he in the full lane, she in the bike lane) when he started moving after the light turned green and he had his directional on, so she should have seen it. I don't know if she somehow missed the turn signal or miscalculated the distance & her ability to safely pass in time. She came up close as he was turning (and yes, probably in a blind spot at some point) and stopped in a bad place when she realized she couldn't pass him in time (namely, a spot where she got hit by the back end of his trailer).

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All that you (Rob) have explained about the nature of the driving manual and the law is that you are not an attorney. me, neither. I suggest that it is manual about how to drive in compliance with the law.

All bike lanes are sharrows within intersections. The dotted lines lead directly from the "bus lane" to the bike lane next to the parked cars.

It seems that police would argue that Anita should have seen the blinker as she came up the right side of the truck. And then the truck moves to the left, to make the right turn. The police seem to expect cyclists to understand truck driving like a licensed truck driver. Many cyclists do understand this but to blame Anita for this crash is wrong.

However as I look at all the problems with the markings, it seems to increase the problem with holding the negligent truck driver criminally responsible.

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Also see: Street Smarts
Even without a clearly marked bicycle lane, the cyclist is legally allowed to pass on the right, the truck driver should have remembered he'd JUST passed her, she should have taken the lane to go straight through, but behind the truck.
But as far as legal behavior, I agree the onus is clearly on the driver. She may have been a poor cyclist but was not illegally operating, AND that driver should have known she was being cut off by the truck's right turn, AND I'm not sure but she may not have even been in the driver's blind spot.

His speed was not needed for cornering. A slower turn may have allowed her time to make a sharp right off the roadway or stop and hop left or roll back enough to clear. The turn indicator and the counter-steer were warning signs she missed, I cannot tell if she would have been able to see the truck's right rear indicator when it was first turned on.

Passing on the right of any vehicle at an intersection with a right turn requires extra vigilance and often a change of lateral roadway position.

Considering the amount of bicyclist and motorist education and training, especially on the bicycling side, it doesn't surprise me that cyclist behavior and motorist awareness is substandard.

It is a shame we lost such a promising life to a crash which could have been so easily prevented.

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When did the truck stop at a red light?

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Stopped in line for the red light, in line in that lane behind three cars, a box truck, and another car.

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Sorry the truck driver was at least negligent if not at fault. Her had to see the bike before and should have looked for it before making the hard turn. He was in a hurry and didn’t check. That and sorry he knew he hit something and never stopped. No way he felt nothing. As someone who drove and made deliveries for 10 plus years downtown you know you need to double check, not just for bikes but pedestrians. At the speed he turned if someone was near the curb or off it he would have smashed them as well. Yes there are bike riders who ride out of control but just like there are drivers doing the same..

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Why has the driver and company not been named? Every other fatal collision in Boston & Cambridge for the past decade has named all parties involved. What is so special about this incident that this information has been withheld?

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Driver is named in the video as a Mr. Matthew Levari.

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A quick google search brings up these links.

Interestingly the company is listed with zero fatalities, although the record is only for 2 years.

https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/query.asp?query_type=queryCarrierSnapshot&qu...

Two websites of the case, the websites offer different ways of looking, so I list both.
https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/12263461/Kurmann_v_Matthew_Leva...
https://dockets.justia.com/docket/massachusetts/madce/1:2016cv11280/181520

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What else can be done to make the NorthWest corner of Massachusetts Avenue at Beacon Street safer?... in addition to the current Markings.

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Following this terrible tragedy, a painted bike lane with protected bollards was added

People shouldn't have to die for safe bike infrastructure to be the norm

Trucks like this have no business being on city streets

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Hey, avid cyclist here -- and I sort of have to disagree. Trucks like this keep the stores stocked. Otherwise you'd have a parade of slightly smaller trucks.

*Maybe* you could make do with panel trucks instead of tractor-trailers. But there are other mitigations:

- Some trailers have panels going down to the ground as guards to push pedestrians and cyclists out of the way of the wheels in a collision rather than running them over
- Automatic braking systems (on semi-autonomous vehicles) using LIDAR could stop the truck or prevent a turn when the truck would run over someone
- Different light patterns and protective bollards can protect cyclists and pedestrians in high-traffic areas

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going down to the ground are actually for aerodynamics to increase gas mileage. It's cute that you think transit companies give a shit about pedestrians and bikers tho! :)

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Oh, interesting! That kind of makes more sense, yeah. :-/

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But truck sideguards for bike/pedestrian safety are a requirement in some places. Some garbage trucks around here have them, and I believe they're required in Europe.

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Some trucks have sort-of frame rails that extend down from the deck to typical car bumper height. Someone crashes into the side of one of those still has a bad crash but it can work to keep them from sliding under the wheels or getting decapitated. I'm not sure if it works as well for bicyclists - I imagine they might easily tumble over them in a crash and still end up under the truck.

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And in the case of lidar and the like will cause more problems with false alarms than it will solve if people payed attention to their surroundings instead of having their faces buried in their phones while riding across the Mass Ave bridge.

You know who's responsible for your safety first and foremost: you are. Demanding everyone else spend zillions to put foam padding on every corner isn't practical and it isn't moral in the sense that you're demanding other people pick up the slack for your own irresponsible behavior.

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to preach individual responsibility when they added seatbelts and airbags and crumpling front ends and all the other things that prevent idiot drivers from personally facing the consequences of their idiotic driving. I bet a new car would be like $8000 if they didn't have to have all that safety! Instead only those pedestrians and cyclists will be on the hook for driver stupidity and carelessness.

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The difference between having safety equipment in your own vehicle to protect yourself in case of accidents and other people's negligence and forcing other people to purchase additional equipment to make up for your negligence is not hard to recognize if you understand what the word "responsible" actually means instead of throwing it around as a cudgel against anyone you don't like at the moment.

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Who said anything about phones? Anita wasn't using a phone. She was riding legally.

Put the strawman away.

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But a good quarter of the whackjobs I see on that bridge at rush hour are. My comment was directed at the apologists making excuses for them.

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Nobody's doing that here. Try to keep your derision on topic.

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When are you going to start paying attention to obeying laws and signals and markings when you drive?

Because you keep telling us all about attention and responsibility, but never mean that DRIVERS in DEATH MACHINES need to do any of that.

Sorry, dear - your "logic" is (as usual) intensely flawed.

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beating your wife yet?

I've lived up here for over a decade and have been involved in exactly zero accidents.

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Stop with the wife beating comments. Are you making a credible allegation against the person who commented above or just being 'funny?' Adam's post is about a woman who DIED in a tragic and painful manner. The misogynistic tough guy crap is crass and disrespectful.

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How many times have you...
- speeded?
- changed lanes without signaling?
- failed to yield right of way?
- blown past a pedestrian in a crosswalk?
- rolled through a stopsign?
- snuck through on a red light?

I'm sure the answer will be NEVER because you are such a perfect saint.

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The answer for red lights and school zones is zero. Those are sacred. I have never in my life stopped at a red light and then decided to go through it, nor have I ever blown through a red light that was red before I entered the intersection.

The answer to the rest of them is a very small number. Believe it or not, I do actually use my turn signals, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and check my passenger side mirror for cyclists when making a turn. I make a conscious effort to keep it at a very very low number by keeping my phone off and my attention on the road in front of me when I'm going forward and in my mirrors when I'm making a turn.

That's more than I can say for half the cyclists I see on the road and with regard to phones in particular it's more than I can say for at least a quarter of the people cycling on the Mass Ave bridge at rush hour.

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Right.

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I'm not going to argue with you over shit I do vs I don't do.

But then again, what the hell?

YOU personally have been every single cyclist that swerved in front of my car and YOU personally have been every single cyclist who nearly ran me down when I was on foot.

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I'm not sure that those are bollards that are there now. I think they might only reflectors (look sturdier than some others, but still only that)

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It is a little safer with a lot more markings on the road, and some flexible bollards (last I checked). I believe this helps, but nothing replaces proper driving.

The goal is never again, and what is the gov doing to train for prevention? from what I see - zero.

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It has already been reconfigured at least once since.

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Very touching video. Thanks for the heads up about seeing the impact, AG. FYI for those that don't want to see the impact, pause around 1:24. My heart goes out to all involved. (I had a family member die in this same way)

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They didn't just conclude that the driver did nothing wrong, but that the victim did:

“The primary cause of this crash is the action of the victim, Ms. Kurmann, when she failed to recognize the turning truck and was outside of the truck driver’s field of view,’’ police investigators concluded.

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Anything that keeps motor vehicle operators from learning the rules and not killing people.

I wonder if he had one of those special "friend of a cop" cards?

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"I'm going to punch the air. If you get in front of me, and get punched, not my fault."

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"Don't jump out into traffic from behind parked cars"

"Don't stick your hand in the garbage disposal"

"Don't dive under the lawnmower"

"Don't stick your finger in the electrical outlet"

"Don't stare at the sun"

"Don't put antifreeze on top of your icecream sundae"

"Umbrellas are not parachutes"

"Point barrel away from face"

and the like.

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Then you are responsible for dodging the bullets.

Right?

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and see what happens.

Probably the same thing that would happen if you shot yourself in the face and sued the gun manufacturer or stuck your finger in the outlet and sued the power company.

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...if Roman does it, it's right. If a cyclist does it, it's wrong.

You are SO eternally full of shit.

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If a driver does it, it's wrong.

If a cyclist does it, it doesn't matter because he got the short end of it and he's the victim.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Safety is a shared responsibility.

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You are just a bully looking for excuses.

If I randomly fire a gun in your neighborhood, and your kid doesn't get out of my way ...

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More like Secret Service leaping in front of a bullet.
But accidentally.

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How easy it is to get killed out there. The driver of the truck definitely missed her presence and the truck was so huge, destroyed her without notice. Re-examining this is like pulling back a scab. Leave it be but learn from it.
As a biker you need to predict of all sorts of wacky situations such as this one and err on the side of caution.

On a side note, I want to bike commute to the Longwood hospital area from Cambridge but feel like even with due diligence, it is way too risky. Which feels safer, BU bridge or Mass Ave? I wish the T bus commute was more reliable and the BU bridge wasn't such a cluster**** area. How about another bridge over the river or a wider one with the MA pike project?

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I felt moderately safe doing sort of the opposite commute on the BU bridge, but I know that Mass Ave has much more bicycle traffic. If you utilize the sidewalks by the BU Bridge traffic cycle, it'll take longer, but you might feel safer. And once you get into Boston, there's a contraflow lane that brings you to Riverway/Brookline Ave. From there, expect many fellow cyclists. I think BU Bridge is a shorter trip and you don't have to contend with Kenmore/Mass Ave/Beacon/Commonwealth, which is always a plus in my book.

City of Boston / MASCO / MassDOT are looking into a reconfiguration and improvement of bike lane access from Mass Ave to Fenway/Longwood. At some point in the future, that might actually be a nice ride.

I also suggest you check out this FB group for cyclists in LMA: https://www.facebook.com/groups/680967372038507/

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Great post baepp!

You can safely bike to the LMA from Cambridge. Maybe wait until the spring and then try it on a Saturday/Sunday to get used to the landscape. There are plenty of low-traffic ways to get around and the BU bridge isn't terribly scary.

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then bike on the local streets through Brookline.

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Push your car across the BU bridge.

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he actually has a valid point on this one. If a person is blocked from biking Cambridge to LMA due to fear of the bridge traffic, why not address that single point obstacle by choosing a mechanism that feels safe? Ride to the bridge, walk across it, ride to LMA. I would just ride the whole way, but I have a comfort level with urban cycling not shared by all. I'd far rather somebody be able to ride 95% of the way with a brief stint of walking than that they not ride at all.

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I don't understand why the driver was not charged. I watched the video and feel just sick about it. I don't bike in Boston, I walk. And as someone who lives and walks in the city of Boston I witness aggressive drivers every day: drivers with Mass. and out of state plates, cab and uber drivers, men, women, young, old, texting, talking on the phone, honking their horns at those of us on foot and on bike. Sadly, I have yet to see an increased police presence anywhere in the Back Bay to ticket
bad drivers despite motorists killing a number of cyclists and pedestrians over the past several years.

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The number of times I've almost been hit (and once actually hit) in this city as a pedestrian when I had a walk signal/right of way is very high. I know someone who was hit and lost their dog this way. I don't trust drivers to pay attention at all and always try to get eye contact.

To the idiot up above suggesting vehicles that can't take a low speed collision should be banned from the streets - what do you suggest we do with pedestrians? While everyone needs to consider perspectives for modes of transportation other than their own, drivers especially need to recognize their potential to easily take someones life.

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So for my armchair analysis, it looks to me like the truck went across two lanes of traffic to make that turn and AT SPEED. Had there been a car traveling straight there instead of Anita and the truck ran into it, wouldn't it be 100% of the truck's fault because it was changing lanes (performing an unsafe maneuver)?

Also, can someone explain why MGL c.85 § 11B seems to have been ignored by the investigation?

"(1) the bicycle operator may keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle which is moving in the travel lane of the way"

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Human behavior's not going to change. Technology is the only realistic solution. A lot of new cars have blind spot monitors. All new cars have backup cameras. Those need to be retrofitted into existing trucks.

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Truck driver has his turn signal on and is paying attention to the rest of the road in order to make the turn. The video's assertion that he saw her is conjecture. She looks like she was riding right next to his passenger side door for a good while, and he certainly didn't see her when he was looking to his left to pull into the center lane.

Repeat after me: she was not paying attention to her surroundings and it got her killed.

She is not alone. Just about every time a cyclist buys it, it's because he or she is not paying attention. Every time a cyclist jumps in front of my car at an intersection, it's because he's running a red light or weaving around cars.

And if God forbid it ends badly for him (almost always a him and without lights or a helmet to boot), it will be 100% his fault. I go slowly and check my mirrors when I'm in the city, and they still sneak up on me from all directions.

BikeSIS is real.

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BikeSIS is real.

You are a completely contemptible piece of work, Roman. I'd say that this attitude will bite you on the ass one day, but I suspect that you don't care about a single soul on the planet, so you won't ever care when someone dies, no matter who it is.

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Truck driver...is paying attention to the rest of the road in order to make the turn.

What the fuck does that mean? No need to pay attention to the cyclist you just passed?

He HAD to have seen her when he passed her on the bridge. Did you miss the part about not making a right turn across the path of a cyclist? It is illegal for good reason. This reason.

Repeat after me: The driver was not paying attention to his surroundings, and it got an innocent cyclist killed.

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Kindly see my post on a truck's blind spots. You are a danger to other cyclists as well as putting your own cycling life in danger if you do not understand the concept.

So stand down.

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I'm fully aware of blind spots and I hope I wouldn't have put myself in that situation. And I'm not telling people to ride next to tractor-trailers or other large vehicles. However, let me ask you a question: Is one of the blind spots through the front windshield? He passed Anita while they were on the bridge. He had to have seen her and knew she was traveling in the same direction.

Regarding the videos you linked: at least in the first one, the mirrors do not appear to be adjusted correctly. They are not there to look at the side of your own vehicle. The first video clearly shows them aimed at the trailer, not the next lane over.

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You get out.

Stop making lame excuses for bad drivers. This truckhead would have killed special better than you never do anything wrong pedestrians, too.

But you're special and never do anything wrong so it can't happen to you.

I have a drunk uncle who is looking for a wife - you'd make a great enabler.

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If a truck this size can't see pedestrians and bicyclists, then they should be restricted to highways.

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Blind spots do not absolve you of culpability. They are simply places you can not see easily and need to check twice.

Meaning: if you're driving down the Pike and change lanes and there's a car in your blind spot and you hit them, you don't say "not my fault, blind spot!" You check your blind spot.

In the case of this truck, the driver needed to check his blind spots and proceed at a reasonable speed. He did neither. He didn't check his blind spots, he was not situationally aware ("I passed a cyclist on the bridge, they may pass me") and he did not make the turn at a speed which would allow him to safely make the turn.

To repeat: a blind spot is a place you can't easily see. It's never, ever an excuse.

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You are ignoring your own blind spots concerning trucker’s responsibilities to drive safely on city streets.

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that the truck driver was paying attention to one side during the second or two that it took her to sneak into his blind spot on the other side.

Narcissist cyclists seem to think everyone should be paying attention to them all the time. Guess what: other parts of the road require drivers' attention too, and they can't direct their vision everywhere at once, mirrors, cameras or whatever. It's biology. It takes time to scan an area. Cars traveling in straight lines don't maneuver fast enough to sneak through. Cyclists make a sport of it.

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I will comment about how you were a narcissist who snuck into a situation and caused your own death, whatever it was, however it happened, however wrong I am as you are wrong now. I will do so publicly and forever. Of course, you won't care, being dead, and no one else will care because you're an asshole.

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I promise not to haunt your dreams.

Yeah, she's not here to defend herself, but that's not a reason to assume she's blameless and put all the responsibility on the other guy.

It looks like she was where she shouldn't be. I give trucks a wide berth when on foot and when behind the wheel. I am that guy who slows down three car lengths behind the semi truck on the highway until I have enough room to pass him. I am the guy who waits for the bus to pull out of the stop and holds up traffic behind me. I am the guy who doesn't start crossing on foot until the car comes to a stop and I make eye contact with the driver.

You should be that guy too. It takes constant mental effort to not lapse into inattention. She let her attention lapse and assumed others would pick up the slack. Most of the time that works. For her it didn't.

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It looks like she was where she shouldn't be.

You're wrong. It does not matter how many times you repeat this; you will still be wrong.

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You can call me stupid and evil all you like but it doesn't make it true.

She was where the driver did not see her AND where the truck's tire was going. That's the wrong place to be, and she was in a position to avoid it by giving the truck its space.

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You mean to tell me you guys put bikes and big trucks on the same road and someone was HIT?
Shocking.

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Are you saying that we should ban trucks?

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Watch the video. No - I mean WATCH IT. The truck driver had his rt signal on WAAAY before the intersection. The video says the biker was also turning right. Once again - watch the video. The bike is going straight until they realize too late the truck is turning and tries to turn away. Biker apparently did not see or understand that a semi with a right turn signal on is going to have to swing wide to make the turn. Not to mention the fact that he probably couldn't see the bike while making the turn - and sure as hell didn't expect anything to be there since he signaled and was making the turn. Typical case of a snobby bicyclist thinking they own the road, and can ride anywhere and do whatever they please with no consequences. It's a city street with large vehicles and fast traffic. Not a playground for your bicycle..

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"No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper."

The trucker's turn signal is immaterial. He passed her on the bridge, and then crushed her while making an illegal maneuver.

The video says nothing about the biker making a right turn. She was proceeding straight through the intersection. You're the one who needs to watch the video (again).

Anita was commuting to work by bicycle, legally, when she was killed by an inattentive driver, and you're a piece of shit for victim blaming.

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In their report, Boston police said the truck driver had his right turn signal on for eight seconds before making the turn...

A turn signal does not grant right of way and strip others of their right of way. It's clear that many drivers don't understand this. The cyclist had the right of way; the driver did not.

Another misunderstanding in comments is that the cyclist was in the bus lane. It was a bus and bike only lane. One can even see the bike lane marking in the bottom left of the video, showing a continuation of the lane through the intersection. The sharrows in the middle lane do not compel cyclists to travel in the middle lane.

I encourage everyone to read the full video narrative here: http://www.massbike.org/anita_kurmann_video_narrative.

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The truck passed her somewhere on the bridge hundreds of feet earlier, even passed the alleyway after the bridge, which the truck did not turn on.

How many hundreds, thousand etc. feet after a motor vehicle passes a cyclist and then the cyclist goes to pass them will the law hold?

If I pass a cyclist on a road, stop for lunch miles later, return to the road, and try to turn right at the next traffic light once it turns green, hitting a cyclist trying to pass me on the right, does your law still apply?

The ridiculous land imprecise law was crafted by MassBike and it shows. We should not allow lobbies to write laws.

The trucker's turn signal is vital. Ignore it at your peril. The cyclist was the inattentive one.

The cyclist was in the bus lane/bus stop. The cycling lane did not start until after the intersection, but does now.

MassBike seemed to also ignore the cyclist running the red light on Beacon street, still crossing as Mass Ave. got a green light.

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Before turning right, check your mirrors and blind spots.

Especially in a city, where you should expect bicycles.

Extra-especially if you're turning right from the left lane because you're driving a large truck.

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How many hundreds, thousand etc. feet after a motor vehicle passes a cyclist and then the cyclist goes to pass them will the law hold?

Seems to me that if the cyclist is keeping pace enough that you have to cut him/her off in order to make a right at the next light, then the law still applies, as that is exactly the behavior it is intended to prevent.

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blind spot regarding the concept of a truck's blind spot, I have attached various YouTube videos for all those who:

1. Say blind spots do not exist;
2. May exist but the driver is always at fault even if someone is in his/her
blind spot (in this case);
3. And tend to repeat 1 and 2 over and over

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV-rhiGRFTE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWmb4ox3Zkg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djzC4yeMOiU

Oh, heck, there is a slew of them on You Tube. If you really want to save cyclists' lives, please share.

Thank you.

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Your youtube videos are nothing.

Quit making excuses for bad drivers.

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Just curious.

Those youtube things explain some stuff, but there are some very off things about them that others have noted, above.

(FTR: I have held a CDL when my job involved transporting mobile laboratory equipment)

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Not one even mentions that this particular truck was not legal to be on the roads in Massachusetts because of excessive length - not without a flag truck, multiple banners, and (depending on the city) a police escort.

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... then it could well be the reason the truck driver didn’t stop and kept on driving till he was back home in PA before he called the BPD.

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I don't even know why Gaffin puts up crime reports of people getting shot in the hood anymore, seeing how he seems to know that dead white ladies on bikes really bring the clicks in.

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Adam, Are you okay with the 'dead white lady' comment? I'm personally disgusted by it. Victim bashing based on gender and ethnicity I think should be off limits. She was a human being with friends, family and colleagues who admired and loved her. What hateful comments, Brian Riccio: shame on you!

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dead white ladies on bikes

It seems pretty obvious that you hold "white ladies on bikes", alive or dead, in contempt. Yes?

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In case you hadn't noticed, I tend to be very blunt in my statements. if I had contempt for this poor woman, I would have said so.

My issue, one I always seem to find here, is that the editor of this site seems to place a lot more value in the posting of crimes in neighborhoods of color that receive no comments from the white privilege Reddit type denizens of this site and that he knows what brings the clicks in here. Especially considering it's the same old arguments over and over again about bikes and cars.

As I've stated before, I do not fault Gaffin, if anything, I applaud his willingness to report on neighborhoods that no here argues about the bike readiness of and reporting the deaths of people of color that no here even bothers to comment on.

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My issue, one I always seem to find here, is that the editor of this site seems to place a lot more value in the posting of crimes in neighborhoods of color that receive no comments from the white privilege Reddit type denizens of this site and that he knows what brings the clicks in here

We actually don't have enough large trucks mashing cyclists and driving away with no attempt to stop for you to be making any kind of valid generalization here. If you want to start a thread taking Adam to task with the crimes he chooses to report, then start that thread and provide your evidence there. Here, you're just being a jerk.

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I'm pretty much a jerk every where. Seen the show I'm on?

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Stories of young black boys on bike being killed by trucks also get a lot of clicks.

http://www.universalhub.com/2017/fund-set-family-man-killed-truck-collision

http://www.universalhub.com/2017/bicyclist-struck-and-killed-tractor-tra...

I would say that readers of Universal Hub in general are very interested in a city that is safer for bicycling. I think that's because it's something many of them do themselves and is something where they feel like they can have a really big impact in changing the situation.

You're right that more people need to care about the personal violence happening to non-white people in many neighborhoods of the City. I don't know how you engage people who don't live in those neighborhoods to feel empowered to do something about it, though.

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That is an important point. But I didn't see anything about the truck being illegally large in any of the articles. Do you have a cite?

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