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Old 04-06-14, 11:17 PM   #1
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Cyclist killed in Charlestown, MA

If you're in MA and you cycle, may want to know another cyclist has been killed, but a driver making an illegal right turn. In MA, it is illegal for vehicles to make a right turn in front a cyclists who is moving in the same direction. I crashed into a taxi a few weeks ago while in a bike lane, had a green light the taxi made a right turn in front of me. I suspect this occurs every day.

You may also be interested that this has happened twice before in the last few years in MA, each time an illegal right turn. In each occurance, the drivers weren't charged. The police in MA through their actions are telling drivers in MA they can kill cyclists without consequences. No jail time, not even fines. They won't even revoke the drivers' license.

Since reading news of this death I've read a few blogs about road safety. My favorite suggestion has been getting more drivers on the road cycling. The best way to improve safety may be to have cyclists experience what it's like when a driver cuts you off with an illegal right turn or passes you within 3 ft. If I could legislate, I would make it a requirement to get a drivers license. Would make it a law that all drivers would have had to taken bicycle safety course that involves riding on the road for a certain amount of time.
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Old 04-07-14, 06:38 AM   #2
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I live 5 miles north of downtown, and if I were to commute, my route would take me through Charlestown. But my wife has basically forbidden me from commuting into work because we know how bad (inattentive) the drivers can be.

I do plan on participating in bike convoys during the summer, one of which goes through my neighborhood and right to my workplace Convoy Routes wish they'd do them more than once a month, something to be said for safety in numbers
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Old 04-07-14, 06:45 AM   #3
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Around here, the "regular road" is safer than the bicycle lanes.
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Old 04-07-14, 07:05 AM   #4
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Looks like the driver has been charged.

Bicyclist killed in Charlestown - News Local Massachusetts - Boston.com
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Old 04-07-14, 07:10 AM   #5
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This is obviously a terrible tragedy, and I don't want to excuse the driver's conduct orblame the victim.

However, there are takeaways from this for the rest of us. First, right turn hooks are almost always avoidable. You have to assume at every intersection, or entrance to a driveway or parking lot, that every car beside you or coming up behind you is going to turn suddenly in front of you, until proven otherwise. If you're prepared for them to do this, you can either stop, or turn sharply right with them.

Second, whenever you're next to a large truck, you have to assume you are in their blindspot, that they don't see you and they will run over you. Thus you need to avoid being in that blindspot, and if you can't avoid being there, have an out when they do in fact move to run over you.

Again, none of this excuses the driver, but simply reminders how to improve our own odds in avoiding a similar incident.
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Old 04-07-14, 07:35 AM   #6
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I will keep this in mind next time I'm uncertain about an intersection crossing.
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Old 04-07-14, 07:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
This is obviously a terrible tragedy, and I don't want to excuse the driver's conduct orblame the victim.

However, there are takeaways from this for the rest of us. First, right turn hooks are almost always avoidable. You have to assume at every intersection, or entrance to a driveway or parking lot, that every car beside you or coming up behind you is going to turn suddenly in front of you, until proven otherwise. If you're prepared for them to do this, you can either stop, or turn sharply right with them.

Second, whenever you're next to a large truck, you have to assume you are in their blindspot, that they don't see you and they will run over you. Thus you need to avoid being in that blindspot, and if you can't avoid being there, have an out when they do in fact move to run over you.

Again, none of this excuses the driver, but simply reminders how to improve our own odds in avoiding a similar incident.
I agree. I learned my lesson when I was speeding through an intersection. The taxi cut me off suddenly. Now I slow down at all intersections and ride on the hood just to be certain I have clearer view of what is happening around me.

Right now, Boston Police are telling cyclists drivers can kill cyclists without consequence. Not even their license revoked... You can have your license revoked for not paying parking tickets. But kill someone, yup, you're good to go. Keep on driving even though you've demonstrated inability to pay attention and be aware of others on the road.
- I believe there will be two outcomes. More likely the driver will be acquitted, for whatever reason no one wants to condemn drivers when cyclists are involved, the cyclist is the enemy. Or he will spend maybe 2 years prison with only $5,000 fine and still retain his drivers license. I have no faith that the Boston Police will do much for the family of the victim. They have already proven their apathy in two previous cases in which they are continuing to "investigate" after two years when the drivers have already been identified as the culprits.

I believe drivers if proven they are at fault for violating road laws, when hitting or causing an accident with a cyclist or a pedestrian or another driver, their license must be revoked. First time offense, included, no exceptions. And then have to go before court to prove they are fit to drive and have undergone more comprehensive driving classes. Fines won't do much. But take away their license, drivers will care. NH has been very successful for drunk driving for that reason. Caught drunk driving? Sayonara to your license, and you do have to go to court to get it back and in many circumstances, will be denied if you have proven record of reckless driving. First time offense, take it away. It only takes one mistake to fatally kill someone. There should be no excuse for killing anyone if you violate road laws and pay attention. Same goes for cell phone use. Drivers should have their license revoked if they are incapable of leaving their phone alone when driving. Road safety is more important than any phone call or text. Road laws need to assume bad drivers are unfit to drive. Road laws need to be more proactive to remove bad drivers off the road before the injure or kill someone.

The only way to deter drivers from being bad drivers is to inconvenience their lives. Their cars and cell phones are all about convenience. Take it away and they will care more about violating road rules. There should be no tolerance for bad driving. Violating road rules and using cell phones should be treated with the same seriousness that NH treats drunk driving.

Last edited by zymphad; 04-07-14 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 04-07-14, 07:42 AM   #8
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This is obviously a terrible tragedy, and I don't want to excuse the driver's conduct orblame the victim.

However, there are takeaways from this for the rest of us. First, right turn hooks are almost always avoidable. You have to assume at every intersection, or entrance to a driveway or parking lot, that every car beside you or coming up behind you is going to turn suddenly in front of you, until proven otherwise. If you're prepared for them to do this, you can either stop, or turn sharply right with them.

Second, whenever you're next to a large truck, you have to assume you are in their blindspot, that they don't see you and they will run over you. Thus you need to avoid being in that blindspot, and if you can't avoid being there, have an out when they do in fact move to run over you.

Again, none of this excuses the driver, but simply reminders how to improve our own odds in avoiding a similar incident.
Well said. There is the letter of the law and then there is survival. What is taught in motorcycle class...a class I suggest all take for just the fun of it plus what you learn about survival on the road on a bicycle is....never put yourself in a position where a cager can take you out. Of course this is impossible but you can sway the odds much in your favor. For example many motorcyclists that crash with cars are legally correct but they are poor riders in that they don't compensate for other driver mistakes which are inevitable. Same with riding a bicycle. The slogan 'dead right' always sticks in my mind when on the road. Many that get taken out by cagers riding a bicycle or motorcycle do not compensate for other's mistakes and some sadly pay the ultimate price.
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Old 04-07-14, 07:57 AM   #9
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I agree. I learned my lesson when I was speeding through an intersection. The taxi cut me off suddenly. Now I slow down at all intersections and ride on the hood just to be certain I have clearer view of what is happening around me.

Considering how many cycle in Boston, I'm disappointed that only Mass Ave has bike lanes, that I've seen so far. And it's disappointing no initiative to build barrier bike lanes. Montreal for example nearly a decade ago put barrier bike lanes all over downtown. Montreal took the thinking and carelessness and accidental mistakes from drivers, unless the driver enjoys destroying the bottom of their cars on curbs.

The prosecutor claims the bike hit the truck. The prosecutor is a moron. The law is very clear, you can't cut off a cyclists when he's moving in the same direction. Plain and simple. and that's what the truck driver did. The truck hit the cyclist, cyclist had the right of way. If this bonehead defense actually works and considered a legitimate defense, I really hope there will be further action by Mass citizens to prevent such arguments to even be considered.
I think the next big push is to build protected two way bike lanes around the Common/Public Garden. Since bikes are "technically" forbidden from cutting through those parks (in practice, I see people riding all the time). Seems like more is done to build the bike trail network in the region than is done to work to integrate bikes into automobile traffic.
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Old 04-07-14, 08:09 AM   #10
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Well said. There is the letter of the law and then there is survival. What is taught in motorcycle class...a class I suggest all take for just the fun of it plus what you learn about survival on the road on a bicycle is....never put yourself in a position where a cager can take you out. Of course this is impossible but you can sway the odds much in your favor. For example many motorcyclists that crash with cars are legally correct but they are poor riders in that they don't compensate for other driver mistakes which are inevitable. Same with riding a bicycle. The slogan 'dead right' always sticks in my mind when on the road. Many that get taken out by cagers riding a bicycle or motorcycle do not compensate for other's mistakes and some sadly pay the ultimate price.
Maybe it should be mandatory to register a bike and a pre-requisite would be to take a bicycle road safety course.

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I think the next big push is to build protected two way bike lanes around the Common/Public Garden. Since bikes are "technically" forbidden from cutting through those parks (in practice, I see people riding all the time). Seems like more is done to build the bike trail network in the region than is done to work to integrate bikes into automobile traffic.
It's disappointing how disrespectful cyclists are in Boston. 9/10 cyclists I see run red lights and ride on sidewalks with total disregard to pedestrians and to drivers. I was in the commons yesterday and can confirm there were far too many cyclists riding paths through commons. I thought they were dicks for doing so considering how fast a bicycle is, there is no reason to cut through the park.
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Old 04-07-14, 08:18 AM   #11
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Maybe it should be mandatory to register a bike and a pre-requisite would be to take a bicycle road safety course.



It's disappointing how disrespectful cyclists are in Boston. 9/10 cyclists I see run red lights and ride on sidewalks with total disregard to pedestrians and to drivers. I was in the commons yesterday and can confirm there were far too many cyclists riding paths through commons. I thought they were dicks for doing so considering how fast a bicycle is, there is no reason to cut through the park.
Definite fault on both sides. Two very different vehicles trying to co-exist in the same space isn't going to be a very good nexus and it isn't. Lots of bicyclists die due to crashes with cars so bicyclists with all their indiscretion draw the short straw when it comes to survival on the road. But like clockwork, 43,000 Americans lose their life on highways every year. Plenty of blame to go around. I have decided not to ride a motorcycle in the town I live for the simple reason, I believe it to be unsafe. I like my chances at lower speed on my bicycle for example which isn't safe either. I love motorcycles and it isn't easy for me not to own one but I have seen just one too many maimed or killed.
If I felt odds were better, I would own one but my town is too busy and loaded with poor drivers.

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Old 04-07-14, 08:18 AM   #12
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Maybe it should be mandatory to register a bike and a pre-requisite would be to take a bicycle road safety course.
I'm sure imposing more laws and rules on disrespectful people who already ignore laws and rules will work just fine.

And I'm also sure you've NEVER seen a car roll a stop sign? Or pass illegally? Or exceed a speed limit?



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It's disappointing how disrespectful cyclists are in Boston. 9/10 cyclists I see run red lights and ride on sidewalks with total disregard to pedestrians and to drivers. I was in the commons yesterday and can confirm there were far too many cyclists riding paths through commons. I thought they were dicks for doing so considering how fast a bicycle is, there is no reason to cut through the park.
Why do you expect cyclists in Boston to be different than the drivers in Boston? The number of lunatics per mile that you'll see driving on the Mass pike is inversely proportional to the distance from Boston.
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Old 04-07-14, 08:24 AM   #13
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I'm not denying there are bad drivers, if you read my other posts, I don't feel safe from bad drivers either. I'm just pointing out that it usually takes two to cause an accident. In the case of Charlestown, it's clear the trucker was at fault, no doubt about it. If the police can't find the evidence to prove it and the prosecutor fails, then the judicial system failed for all cyclists.

But you can't condone cyclists for not obeying the road. If we expect drivers to follow the road rules, then we have to expect cyclists to do the same.

And contrary your experience, I see far more cyclists violating road rules than drivers. Maybe 1/1000 drivers will violate road rules. But 9/10 cyclists will be dicks and believe they are exempt from road laws. In Boston, cyclists are constantly putting themselves, pedestrians and drivers all at risk.
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Old 04-07-14, 08:40 AM   #14
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Moved from Road to A&S.
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Old 04-07-14, 08:42 AM   #15
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IBTL/move to A&S (^^^^ Damnit! I almost beat it!)

People die in accidents all the time both on and off the road. The fact that cyclist deaths are reported in the news is a testament to how rare they are. If they occurred regularly they wouldn't be newsworthy. When was the last time you saw a car accident hit the national news? I think it was that Fast and Furious actor. So, if you want to be a national headline for a death in a traffic accident you either have to be a famous actor or Bob the cycle commuter from the local co-op.
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Old 04-07-14, 08:50 AM   #16
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The fact that cyclist deaths are reported in the news is a testament to how rare they are.
True. Bike Forums will definitely distort your perception of this. Virtually every bike fatality in the U.S. involving cyclists similar to ourselves eventually gets posted on BF.

Obviously any fatality is one too many, and there's lots of room for improvement in safety for cyclists, but riding on the road is not the huge risk one would think it to be just from the number of these threads on BF.
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Old 04-07-14, 10:58 AM   #17
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And contrary your experience, I see far more cyclists violating road rules than drivers. Maybe 1/1000 drivers will violate road rules. But 9/10 cyclists will be dicks and believe they are exempt from road laws. In Boston, cyclists are constantly putting themselves, pedestrians and drivers all at risk.
In Boston? B.S. Failure to yield, failure to signal, blocking intersections, double parking in both bike lanes and motor vehicle lanes - these are not things I see weekly in Boston, they are not things I see daily in Boston, they are things I see multiple times on every commute and ride I take in the city. And they're a hell of a lot more dangerous than a misbehaving cyclist.

The data, by the way, also says you're full of B.S. The majority of injuries to bicyclists and pedestrians, including fatal injuries, are caused by the motorist failing to yield as required by law.

"1/1000 drivers violate road rules" is laughable - I have no idea what the stats actually are, but illegal and dangerous behavior is woven deeply into the driving culture of Boston, and you would have to be willfully stupid to believe that traffic violations are rare in this town.
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Old 04-07-14, 11:24 AM   #18
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I'm not denying there are bad drivers, if you read my other posts, I don't feel safe from bad drivers either. I'm just pointing out that it usually takes two to cause an accident. In the case of Charlestown, it's clear the trucker was at fault, no doubt about it. If the police can't find the evidence to prove it and the prosecutor fails, then the judicial system failed for all cyclists.
Glad you actually witnessed it - from multiple angles, to boot. And have perfect recall.

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But you can't condone cyclists for not obeying the road. If we expect drivers to follow the road rules, then we have to expect cyclists to do the same.
Straw man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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And contrary your experience, I see far more cyclists violating road rules than drivers. Maybe 1/1000 drivers will violate road rules. But 9/10 cyclists will be dicks and believe they are exempt from road laws. In Boston, cyclists are constantly putting themselves, pedestrians and drivers all at risk.
Wut?!?!?!

Let me get this straight:

1. You KNOW that the driver was at fault: "no doubt about it".
2. You make up arguments that no one has made so you can refute them, to what purpose?
3. You really think 9/10ths of cyclists are "dicks", while "[m]aybe 1/1000 drivers will violate road rules", when they're both selected from the same human population?
4. You think cyclists actually put drivers at risk. Somehow.

I have no idea what to make of your posts.
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Old 04-07-14, 12:09 PM   #19
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In Boston? B.S. Failure to yield, failure to signal, blocking intersections, double parking in both bike lanes and motor vehicle lanes - these are not things I see weekly in Boston, they are not things I see daily in Boston, they are things I see multiple times on every commute and ride I take in the city. And they're a hell of a lot more dangerous than a misbehaving cyclist..
If these are daily then they should be very predictable and much easier to avoid and/or mitigate. Generally I find that is the case with most motorist transgressions of traffic law.
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Old 04-07-14, 01:35 PM   #20
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Boston is a city with most roads having widths designed for the days of horses.
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Old 04-07-14, 03:28 PM   #21
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Wut?!?!?!

Let me get this straight:

1. You [zymphad] KNOW that the driver was at fault: "no doubt about it".
2. You make up arguments that no one has made so you can refute them, to what purpose?
3. You really think 9/10ths of cyclists are "dicks", while "[m]aybe 1/1000 drivers will violate road rules", when they're both selected from the same human population?
4. You think cyclists actually put drivers at risk. Somehow.

I have no idea what to make of your posts.
You forgot this doozy:
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Maybe it should be mandatory to register a bike and a pre-requisite would be to take a bicycle road safety course.
I know exactly what to make of such posts.
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Old 04-07-14, 03:33 PM   #22
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True. Bike Forums will definitely distort your perception of this. Virtually every bike fatality in the U.S. involving cyclists similar to ourselves eventually gets posted on BF.
I would like to see the math on this conclusion of yours.

For instance, I know of a teenage fixed gear rider who was killed, was he a "cyclists similar to ourselves" enough to count or not?
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Old 04-07-14, 04:57 PM   #23
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And contrary your experience, I see far more cyclists violating road rules than drivers. Maybe 1/1000 drivers will violate road rules. But 9/10 cyclists will be dicks and believe they are exempt from road laws. In Boston, cyclists are constantly putting themselves, pedestrians and drivers all at risk.
I'm on the road 10 hours a day,
I probably see 1 in 50 road users do something less than desirable, 1 in 1000 road users do something seriously dangerous, and 1 in 10000 do something intentionally malicious, or criminally negligent.
I say "road users" as it seems to be equal among all groups, and the guilty parties would likely do the same regardless of their mode of transportation.
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Old 04-08-14, 11:09 AM   #24
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One cyclist being (apparently) right hooked in Charlestown has nothing to do with whether or not a cyclist in Allston, Cambridge or Downtown has been a "dick". One of the arguments that always comes up amongst these tragedies is that cyclists are somehow a carnage-inducing menace to all, yet, there is no data to back this speculation. People who have never walked more than a block are all of the sudden concern-trolling in favor of the humble pedestrian (who is MUCH more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle, and even more likely to die if hit by a car as opposed to a bicycle). We know very few facts of this case, yet, we somehow know that it wouldn't have happened if cyclists were just more obsequious to motorists...
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Old 04-08-14, 06:53 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiggle View Post
Boston is a city with most roads having widths designed for the days of horses.
I am inclined to agree with you. I remember having to go to Boston for surgery in the 1960's n' 1970's. The roads were terrible then. The 'Big Dig' made things worse.
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