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Cyclist hit and killed in Cambridge, MA

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Cyclist hit and killed in Cambridge, MA

Old 12-28-11, 07:30 AM
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Cyclist hit and killed in Cambridge, MA

Not many details in the story. I've found, through personal experience, that Cambridge is generally a very cycling-friendly city. You usually see tons of commuters all day long, with plenty of signage to alert motorists to the cyclists and the bike lanes. Apparently, none of this helped in this particular case.

http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/l...-in-cambridge/
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Old 12-28-11, 08:51 AM
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So sad, makes you wonder if signs even matter.
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Old 12-28-11, 09:36 AM
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I think I know what MAY have happened going by what the reporter is saying in the vid.

The driver of the truck turned right, swinging into the oncoming traffic lane, due to the length of the trailer. I have a feeling that the the driver didn't see the cyclist due to the large blind spots created by the hood of the truck. I also noticed that the bike didn't appear to have lights which MAY have been a contributing factor.
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Old 12-28-11, 09:37 AM
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I couldn't watch the video with sound on, but it looks like the truck was making a right turn and had to swing wide, into the oncoming lane. Judging from where the bike is pinned on the pavement, it looks like there are at least two lanes there, so maybe the cyclist was trying to take the lane for a left turn, possibly looking behind him to see if the lane was clear, and just didn't have time to react? It's probably legal for trucks to take wide turns like that when they have to, but I assume they also bear 100% responsibility to make sure the intersection is clear when they do.

P.S. It was also rainy last night. I can't think of too many things I hate more than riding/driving at night in the rain, in traffic with reflections everywhere.

Last edited by Metaluna; 12-28-11 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 12-28-11, 02:33 PM
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Rainy day, the bikes brakes may not have been able to stop him. Bad situation for the trucker with weather, he probably was seeing glares looking for traffic, and trying not to hit a pole on the corner. I hope an update is posted, I would like to know who had the green, was the trucker turning right on red. Did the biker have lights, I didn't see any on but the might have broke or been turned off.
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Old 12-28-11, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by zirger726 View Post
Rainy day, ....
It was a rainy night, in town, with lots of lighting clutter. It's pretty safe to say the truck driver didn't run him over intentionally so he either didn't see the cyclist or misjudged the speeds and clearance. Having decided to ride in such poor visibility conditions, did the cyclist do everything reasonable and prudent to ensure his conspicuity?
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Old 12-28-11, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
It was a rainy night, in town, with lots of lighting clutter. It's pretty safe to say the truck driver didn't run him over intentionally so he either didn't see the cyclist or misjudged the speeds and clearance. Having decided to ride in such poor visibility conditions, did the cyclist do everything reasonable and prudent to ensure his conspicuity?
That's treading awfully close to blaming the victim. The truck driver had the legal obligation to ensure that the oncoming lane he/she was taking was clear of traffic. Even with the rain, at the speed the truck should have been making that turn any competent truck driver should have been able to see a cyclist even if the cyclist was unlit. I suspect the truck driver was preoccupied with his/her right rear wheel track and wasn't looking where he/she needed to be looking.
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Old 12-29-11, 02:24 AM
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There are some more updates on this story over at BostonBiker
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Old 12-29-11, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Fargo Wolf View Post
I think I know what MAY have happened going by what the reporter is saying in the vid.

The driver of the truck turned right, swinging into the oncoming traffic lane, due to the length of the trailer. I have a feeling that the the driver didn't see the cyclist due to the large blind spots created by the hood of the truck. I also noticed that the bike didn't appear to have lights which MAY have been a contributing factor.
From the description by the OP, the picture that was posted at the linked website. Along with having dreamed as kid of becoming a long-haul trucker, I see this particular situation as both the cyclist's and truck driver's fault. The cyclist may not have made an effort to stand out, in the dark. At the same time, while it is common knowledge that big rigs(and sometimes even the 10-wheel trucks) have to make wide right turns, had the cyclist been driving a motorized vehicle instead of riding a bike, the truck driver may not have seen a vehicle any better. Which calls into question, whether the truck driver should have been driving in the first place, due to their eyesight.

I have ridden in a rig before, and if a trucker is not paying attention, they will hit someone without realizing it. How that is actually possible, I don't know. But it has happened. Especially since they have to constantly look at the road from a steeper angle.
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Old 12-29-11, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
That's treading awfully close to blaming the victim....
It was an accident and I wouldn't single out any of the participants as being the victim. It is possible that the truck driver was doing everything right and the cyclist simply rode under his wheels. Granted that's not likely, but IMO that might make the truck driver the "victim."
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Old 12-29-11, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
From the description by the OP, the picture that was posted at the linked website. Along with having dreamed as kid of becoming a long-haul trucker, I see this particular situation as both the cyclist's and truck driver's fault. The cyclist may not have made an effort to stand out, in the dark.
I get real tired of blame the victim cyclist BS. If the truck driver cannot see a bright red light then he should not be driving any motor vehicle.

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Old 12-29-11, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
It was an accident and I wouldn't single out any of the participants as being the victim. It is possible that the truck driver was doing everything right and the cyclist simply rode under his wheels. Granted that's not likely, but IMO that might make the truck driver the "victim."
Yeah, lets just go with the least likely cause of right hooks. BS

PS - who was it that died here?
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Old 12-29-11, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
I get real tired of blame the victim cyclist BS. If the truck driver cannot see a bright red light then he should not be driving any motor vehicle.

Here's a comment I read on the news article:

"The Tanker was traveling across the double solid lines in the legal path of travel of the bicylist when the rider of the bike was struck from the position ahead - frontended against the rule of the road....."

Looks like the truck driver wouldn't have seen the rear taillight at all, since it sounds like the truck driver crossed the double yellow line and hit the cyclist head on.
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Old 12-29-11, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
I get real tired of blame the victim cyclist BS. If the truck driver cannot see a bright red light then he should not be driving any motor vehicle.

I am not blaming the cyclist, outright. I am also not absolving the truck driver of any responsibility in the accident.

Initially, I was just thinking the truck driver was at fault.

The reason I partially blamed the cyclist while also blaming the truck driver, was because of the road condition of how dark it was. The rain slicked road just upped the ante on the severity of the road conditions.
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Old 12-29-11, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
Here's a comment I read on the news article:

"The Tanker was traveling across the double solid lines in the legal path of travel of the bicylist when the rider of the bike was struck from the position ahead - frontended against the rule of the road....."

Looks like the truck driver wouldn't have seen the rear taillight at all, since it sounds like the truck driver crossed the double yellow line and hit the cyclist head on.
Since the truck driver obviously couldn't see the tail light of the cyclist, I wonder how bright the cyclist's headlight was. I say that because, while my headlight has a halogen bulb in it, the problem is the size of the headlight. Unless someone looks at it directly, I don't think it is very good.
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Old 12-29-11, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
Here's a comment I read on the news article:

"The Tanker was traveling across the double solid lines in the legal path of travel of the bicylist when the rider of the bike was struck from the position ahead - frontended against the rule of the road....."

Looks like the truck driver wouldn't have seen the rear taillight at all, since it sounds like the truck driver crossed the double yellow line and hit the cyclist head on.
Most cyclist willing to put a tail light on for night riding also use a headlight.

By the photos of the scene it really is likely not a right hook at all. The cyclist was likely making a left turn from Vassar to Mass. Ave. Vassar has a right lane off of Mass. Ave., a center left turn lane and a through/right turn combination lane. The truck is in ALL THREE Vassar lanes. Either stopped or riding in the left turn lane, the cyclist does not appear to have a chance to get out of the way of a tanker truck taking up the entire roadway, especially the cyclist left turn lane.

Of note, the tanker truck company does not have a good reputation:
From my experience as a driver, if it was going to be a tanker truck I'm not surprised it was a J P Noonan one. I've had a couple of experiences of being tailgated or otherwise subjected to aggressive tactics by their trucks.
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Old 12-29-11, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
Since the truck driver obviously couldn't see the tail light of the cyclist, I wonder how bright the cyclist's headlight was. I say that because, while my headlight has a halogen bulb in it, the problem is the size of the headlight. Unless someone looks at it directly, I don't think it is very good.
That's true, and I've had and seen some lights that in order to make them bright enough to see the road with, the light manufacturer made them with too focused of a beam making them practically useless to be seen by other road users if the light is angled downward.

Last edited by dynodonn; 12-29-11 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 12-29-11, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Most cyclist willing to put a tail light on for night riding also use a headlight......
Hopefully that was the case in this incident.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
That's true, and I've had and seen some lights that in order to make them bright enough to see the road with, the light manufacturer made them with too focused of a beam making them practically useless to be seen by other road users if the light is angled downward.
I bought one of these lights: http://compare.ebay.com/like/1707000..._lwgsi=y&cbt=y; from a local bike shop several years ago. But, It is a piece of junk!!!!! It is even bigger than the headlight I presently have on my bike yet, only half as bright!!!!
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Old 12-30-11, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Most cyclist willing to put a tail light on for night riding also use a headlight.

By the photos of the scene it really is likely not a right hook at all. The cyclist was likely making a left turn from Vassar to Mass. Ave. Vassar has a right lane off of Mass. Ave., a center left turn lane and a through/right turn combination lane. The truck is in ALL THREE Vassar lanes. Either stopped or riding in the left turn lane, the cyclist does not appear to have a chance to get out of the way of a tanker truck taking up the entire roadway, especially the cyclist left turn lane.

Of note, the tanker truck company does not have a good reputation:
From my experience as a driver, if it was going to be a tanker truck I'm not surprised it was a J P Noonan one. I've had a couple of experiences of being tailgated or otherwise subjected to aggressive tactics by their trucks.
I have driven trucks in regions where there is a single dangerous trucking company that stands out. These outlaw outfits seem to encourage dangerous behavior. We had a tongue-in-cheek derisive motto for one, "If you've got 4-ways, you're good to go." One moonless night I actually saw one of their trucks rolling down a two lane highway with nothing but 4-ways on the tractor. No headlights, no tail lights, no lights of any sort on either the semi- or pull-trailer. These are also the kind of companies that encourage/require their drivers to drive beyond the legal time limits and maintain multiple logs. Safe drivers won't drive for those outfits.
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Old 12-30-11, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Yeah, lets just go with the least likely cause of right hooks. BS
I'm not sure what your point is but this accident wasn't a right hook. Arguing who is or is not a "victim" is more semantics than anything else. You can be victim of your own stupidity or negligence. Not saying that's the case here, but I haven't seen enough information to rule it out either.
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Old 12-30-11, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Most cyclist willing to put a tail light on for night riding also use a headlight.
Not necessarily, there are many (on an order of 20-30% of all cyclists in state college) who only run a taillight to protect them from traffic approaching from the rear, but don't see a need for one in front.
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Old 12-30-11, 04:21 PM
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I had to talk my daughter out of just riding with a taillight. Of course, she was only riding on campus, so oncoming traffic wasn't much of a concern, but it's still a really bad idea.

My guess is that the trucker didn't see car headlights and so took the turn at an unsafe speed. If I had been turning left like the cyclist seems to have been doing, the trucker would have been staring right into my helmet light.
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Old 12-30-11, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Arguing who is or is not a "victim" is more semantics than anything else. You can be victim of your own stupidity or negligence. Not saying that's the case here, but I haven't seen enough information to rule it out either.
Agreed. There clearly isn't anything like enough information available to us to assign blame (or victimhood status) with any confidence. There are many possible scenarios we can't distinguish that implicate the trucker mostly, the cyclist mostly, or both. Having said that the legal responsibility likely defaults to the trucker (I'm not a lawyer tho' ....). If I were a trucker I'd make darned sure I wasn't going to run over anyone or anything on the street by going slowly enough and checking often enough as I made the wide turn. I'm sure many truckers will tell you this can be very difficult the way some people (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, motorists) behave and the way visibility from the high cab can be restricted. If someone is so foolhardy as to be almost suicidal there is probably little that a trucker can do in some circumstances - but this seems rather unlikely.

I've seen many cyclists riding with tail lights but no front light. Not saying that was the case here, only that it's an all too common occurence.

Cambridge is a "cyclist friendly" town but there are a ton of bikes around and something like this can happen anywhere. RIP.

Last edited by ChasH; 12-31-11 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 12-30-11, 10:32 PM
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Truck in 2 oncoming lanes, and some do not see a problem here. So let us just speculate about suicidal cyclist.

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