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Another 50 something killed by tractor trailer

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Another 50 something killed by tractor trailer

Old 08-19-20, 12:07 PM
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Another 50 something killed by tractor trailer

https://www.boston.com/news/local-ne...harvard-square

Really sad to see this story. Hit in broad daylight at 9:45am.

I lost a close friend of mine several years ago when she was hit on her bike by a trash truck. She was only 52. The drivers of these trucks are rarely charged simply saying "I didn't see him/her".

To all of the Engineers and Entrepreneurs on this forum, can we not develop a technology to make drivers passing cyclists AWARE that we are there? Seems if every vehicle on the road had the technology and every bike on the road had the technology, the market size would be big enough?

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Old 08-19-20, 12:54 PM
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few years back on US 101 father and adult son pair..
wind shear bow shock waves off trucks and apartment on wheels motor homes are a problem of physics..


years ago living in a small town with a big land yacht sales I offered to provide a cautionary flyer. the sales guys just laughed
at the fact old folks that had sold their house to afford those things were who bought them.


Your turn you write one , now you can send PDF and see if the dealers will print them....






....
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Old 08-19-20, 01:40 PM
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We all know flyers won't do a thing. This has to be a technology that is developed into the vehicle RADAR and LiDAR systems.
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Old 08-19-20, 02:07 PM
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Recently had a loaner Mazda CX-5 crossover/SUV from a dealer while my other car got worked on, and noticed the early-warning notices in the systems are getting better and better. Had it warn far in advance of a stopped vehicle (when it thought I was approaching too quickly). Had it even warn of a cyclist, on one occasion, though I don't know how effective that aspect really is as compared to the car-approaching warning. And this isn't even a car with so-called "auto-pilot" type stuff. Altered the settings, to evaluate how responsive the system seems to be. Not bad, for a current system. Hardly sufficient, however.

It's all improving. As you say, something integral to the RADAR/LiDAR systems is going to be necessary to catch more of these situations. With a big-rig truck, though, they're so heavily-laden I wonder how much can be done in a scenario involving a much slower vehicle about to be struck.

Though, as the A.I. involved with decision-making in these technologies continues to improve, I'm hopeful that in a handful of years we'll have much more capable systems trickling down into a lot of cars.

As a cyclist, as well, I know that'll be a really nice day, knowing it's vastly less likely I'm about to get struck from behind. Someday.
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Old 08-19-20, 02:56 PM
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Met the engineers as they were inspecting a new crossing light they installed. "It's broken," I observed. They objected that they had just tested the on street unit. Pointing to the cars careening by, I said, "No, the part behind the wheel...."

Until they start making these passive-aggressive homicidal maniacs criminally responsible, it will continue to happen....
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Old 08-19-20, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Digger Goreman View Post
Met the engineers as they were inspecting a new crossing light they installed. "It's broken," I observed. They objected that they had just tested the on street unit. Pointing to the cars careening by, I said, "No, the part behind the wheel...."

Until they start making these passive-aggressive homicidal maniacs criminally responsible, it will continue to happen....
That's the main problem, people just don't take driving safety seriously.
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Old 08-19-20, 04:07 PM
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Sorry to read....interesting the article claims killed in a crash with a tractor trailer. What kind of crash is involved between a cyclist and a tractor trailer?
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Old 08-19-20, 05:48 PM
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Unless I didn’t click on some additional links, I didn’t read any significant details concerning how this occurred. Does anyone know the specifics ?
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Old 08-19-20, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CoyDawg View Post
Sorry to read....interesting the article claims killed in a crash with a tractor trailer. What kind of crash is involved between a cyclist and a tractor trailer?
One in which the tractor trailer is turning right, cyclist in their blind spot, and cyclist gets squished under a set of tires and/or gets thrown so hard he fractures his pelvis and sacrum. Heads to the hospital in pain, but talking, only to die in the next 48 hours.

I don't know if that's what happened here, but that's what happened to my friend.

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Old 08-19-20, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CoyDawg View Post
Sorry to read....interesting the article claims killed in a crash with a tractor trailer. What kind of crash is involved between a cyclist and a tractor trailer?
A woman at the scene, Joanna Drafahl, said the man was her uncle and that he was homeless and went by the nickname Pikachu. She declined to give his legal name.“My uncle was in the bike lane; he was trying to cross over to see us and the truck hit him,” Drafahl said.

Looking at some of the photos of the scene, it appears as if the truck was in the middle of a long sweeping right hand curve.




For some reason the police were inspecting the truck engine.

The tent is set up just before a crosswalk. Another photo of the scene also shows the bike before the crosswalk.

The corner can be dangerous, and could potentially reduce visibility for both the cyclist and the truck driver. However, I wonder if the cyclist was jay walking/riding.
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Old 08-19-20, 07:20 PM
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They get a complete inspection, drug test and they look at the drivers log...no stone unturned.
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Old 08-19-20, 07:45 PM
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Seems like a narrow street for a vehicle that large but it’s probably typical for larger cities???

As a side, there are a few non commercial streets that I ride on that seem to be used as short cuts by tractor trailers. There are clearly better roads for them to travel on but I guess it adds some distance.
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Old 08-20-20, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by CerveloS5 View Post
We all know flyers won't do a thing. This has to be a technology that is developed into the vehicle RADAR and LiDAR systems.
They installing that as compulsory retrofits on old Winnebago's ., & Freightliners?
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Old 08-20-20, 01:15 PM
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The rear wheels of the truck possibly cut the corner - this is unfortunately a characteristic of any four-wheeled vehicle - the front wheels follow the curve, the rear wheels follow on by the shortest route - but it's exacerbated by vehicle length and articulation. The most obvious example is when a truck is making a 90-degree right turn - the front wheels make the turn, and the rear wheels cut the corners, often mounting the sidewalk in the process. Being on the inside of a turn when a larger vehicle is turning is the "death zone" for cyclists. Of course, getting drivers to stay in lane is also an uphill battle - one of the most annoying things to me as a cyclist is the seeming unwillingness or inability of drivers to stay in lane - they drift over into the bike lane on sweeping right bends, and into the outside lane on left curves. Where I was raised and learned to drive, improper "lane positioning" (ie, not being in the centre of the lane any time you weren't actively turning) cost you a driving test and sometimes a ticket.

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Old 08-20-20, 07:56 PM
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Considering the life span of large trucks, even the full panoply of detectors now on most (but not all) cars would
take 20+ yrs to ripple out across the nations truck fleet. Would need detectors on the trailers as well to take
care of turn scenarios. And that assumes the political will to mandate such, so not in our lifespan. Maybe when
full battery electric trucks take over, say 2050 or so.
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Old 08-21-20, 09:05 AM
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All large or oversized vehicles are a problem for cyclists. Even with the "Share the Road" laws now in effect here in California larger vehicles rarely give a three foot clearance for cyclists . The worst offenders in my experience are city buses. Several weeks ago while on my way home I was brushed by a bus on my left arm, it scared the crap out of me. The bus was traveling at about 25 mph and I was going about 10 as I approached an intersection. After just clearing in front of me the bus swerved to make a right turn in front of me as we both got closer to the intersectection. I grabbed my brake levers with all I could muster and avoided hitting the back of the bus. I was going straight so I went around the left side of him and proceeded to the red light. When I got home I sent an email off to the city manager with my cel phone # and included time of day with a description of what had happened and that I had rarely had a bus stick to the three foot clearance . I got a call about 3-4 days later from a supervisor that told me they were having a safety meeting about the three foot rule and that buses must adhere. I have noticed a difference as I ride a lot and have more than once had a bus wait for me rather than cut in front for a bus stop or turn . I can only hope this is a trend, time will tell.
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Old 08-21-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
All large or oversized vehicles are a problem for cyclists. Even with the "Share the Road" laws now in effect here in California larger vehicles rarely give a three foot clearance for cyclists . The worst offenders in my experience are city buses. Several weeks ago while on my way home I was brushed by a bus on my left arm, it scared the crap out of me. The bus was traveling at about 25 mph and I was going about 10 as I approached an intersection. After just clearing in front of me the bus swerved to make a right turn in front of me as we both got closer to the intersectection. I grabbed my brake levers with all I could muster and avoided hitting the back of the bus. I was going straight so I went around the left side of him and proceeded to the red light. When I got home I sent an email off to the city manager with my cel phone # and included time of day with a description of what had happened and that I had rarely had a bus stick to the three foot clearance . I got a call about 3-4 days later from a supervisor that told me they were having a safety meeting about the three foot rule and that buses must adhere. I have noticed a difference as I ride a lot and have more than once had a bus wait for me rather than cut in front for a bus stop or turn . I can only hope this is a trend, time will tell.
Good for you for reporting it. If I ever have a similar issue I’m hoping my camera footage will be helpful.
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Old 08-21-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by sch View Post
Considering the life span of large trucks, even the full panoply of detectors now on most (but not all) cars would
take 20+ yrs to ripple out across the nations truck fleet. Would need detectors on the trailers as well to take
care of turn scenarios. And that assumes the political will to mandate such, so not in our lifespan. Maybe when
full battery electric trucks take over, say 2050 or so.
There is a big push on emissions controls in California right now. Perhaps a bit late to jump on that wave, but trucks do change out.

I think the typical lifespan for long haul trucks is probably close to 10 years. Perhaps some get pushed to 20 years. But, the number over 20 years old and still on the road is quite minimal.

Perhaps local delivery trucks would be different.

Nonetheless, If the technology was out there, it could be incorporated relatively quickly.

Regulations and insurance might push drivers to retrofit older trucks.
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Old 08-21-20, 10:04 AM
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More and more trucking companies are retrofitting front-facing cameras for liability reasons. Perhaps a technology could be invented to work with said camera or with the ubiquitous smart phone that we all carry?

Anyone open to brainstorm some ideas on what could work? We all know a million reasons why nothing will work (won't retrofit old trucks, political will, etc.)
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Old 08-21-20, 10:58 AM
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One of the things that would help would be lots of turn signals visible along the entire length of the truck.

Of course, in the situation above, the truck was rounding a slow curve in the road (no signals necessary), and it isn't clear where the cyclist was, in the bike lane, crossing the road, etc.

There have been proposals of people-proof side-shields on trucks and trailers, but it hasn't been implemented. Some trailers have wind shields, but I don't think those are designed to push a person out of the way. Nonetheless, one might be able to get both aero improvements and safety improvements.

To be effective, the shields would have to be very low to the ground, perhaps within 6", and able to actively move for things like entering parking lots without dragging.



I've mentioned earlier that Log Truck Trailers are designed with a very simple mechanism to keep the trailer following the truck better, called "Stinger Steering".

https://www.vannattabros.com/truck57.html




It looks like there have been efforts to apply the same technology to chip trucks in the forests.



Yet, other than the impact of log trucks on cities, there has been no effort to bring a similar design to freight in cities. Of course, one might be able to achieve a similar self-steering trailer electronically.

As we see more safety sensors show up in cars, we'll also see them in trucks.

Details for the above accident are a bit sketchy including no mention where the impact on the truck was. The crossing may have been on a moderately blind corner. And, if the person stepped out in front of the truck, then there may not have been time to react, even with the best computer control. Or, perhaps the truck would have locked the brakes if a sensor detected the cyclist/pedestrian.

Last edited by CliffordK; 08-21-20 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 08-21-20, 12:33 PM
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I ride and walk through that very location all the time.

So, to dispense with some of the conjecture. Havard Square is a 20 mph "safety zone." It is also state road 2A, so it is a truck route.

It is *NOT* a blind corner.

However, the Kenworth W900 is a blind truck. It's a 30 year old design. Popular with owner-operators, marketed as a trucker's truck. (The tiny front mirrors installed after market on this particular tractor are woefully insufficient mitigation.)

There are several eye witness accounts, all uncomfirmed, and conflicting. The bicyclist was passing the truck, the CDL operator was passing the bicyclist, the bicyclist was in the bike line, the bicyclist hit the curb with a pedal, the CDL operator was on a cell phone, the.... ALL of the "eye witness" accounts should be considered unreliable, as they usually after witnessing such a traumatic event.

From sad experience, it will take the Middlesex DA's office months (likely more than a year) to complete the study of the crash and release a report.


Now, my experience riding and walking through here. People driving SMART CARS encroach on that bike lane, let alone people driving Mini Coopers, people driving Chevy Equinoxes, people driving Ford F350 dualies pulling a landscaping trailer, and CDL operators of box trucks or tractor trailers.

Recent history. Sharon Hamer was killed crossing the street on the other side of the Mass Ave split by a boom truck operator just 11 months ago.

There were PLANS for a complete redo of Harvard Square WHICH DID NOT ORIGINALLY ADRESS complete streets, just a better plaza. Late changes to those PLANS after her death have the square undergoing a major road diet. They were also adapted to ACCELERATED SHORT TERM PLANS of "just paint" to reduce the number of lanes going through this particular stretch from two general traffic lanes outbound merging with one general traffic lane outbound to one general traffic lane outbound (on both sides of the merge, essentially eliminating the merge) and one buffered bike lane.

Words, words, words.

Plans, plans, plans.


Safety delayed is safety denied.

"I understand that COVID-19 has delayed planned safety improvements to the area around the Harvard Square Kiosk. Had those improvements been in place, perhaps yesterday’s collision might not have happened.

I feel strongly that the Cambridge City Council must make itself accountable to prevent senseless tragedies like these from happening, and must do something as soon as possible to make Harvard Square a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists.

Please let me know how I can help make those desperately needed improvements happen. I feel I owe it to my wife’s memory to do what I can to make Cambridge a safer place to live."

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 08-21-20 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 08-21-20, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
There are several eye witness accounts, all uncomfirmed, and conflicting..... ALL of the "eye witness" accounts should be considered unreliable, as they usually after witnessing such a traumatic event.
There was one witness that was apparently a family member of the deceased, and may well have been watching the rider before the accident.

Of course, family members can also have their own agenda.

Accident reconstruction should help identify what part of the truck initially struck the cyclist, and how the multiple wheels on the truck impacted the accident.
Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
"I understand that COVID-19 has delayed planned safety improvements to the area around the Harvard Square Kiosk. Had those improvements been in place, perhaps yesterday’s collision might not have happened.
Around here, as traffic dropped this spring, road construction projects got very busy.
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Old 08-21-20, 01:15 PM
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Inspecting the engine possibly means collecting data from the engine ECU. It may have logged truck behavior at the time of accident. Accelerator pedal position, engine speed, road speed, torque, faults, brake pedal position. Commercial vehicles collect data.

I volunteer on a citizen advisory panel for local bike/ped infrastructure. We have lots of plans, prioritized by impact, considering safety and cost. Our current funding levels and mechanisms will get the critical safety items done in, I don't know, maybe 100 years. Priority goes to projects that increase motor vehicle throughout, by orders of magnitude.
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Old 08-21-20, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
I ride and walk through that very location all the time.

Please let me know how I can help make those desperately needed improvements happen. I feel I owe it to my wife’s memory to do what I can to make Cambridge a safer place to live."

-mr. bill
Sorry for your loss; how did it happen?
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Old 08-21-20, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
There was one witness that was apparently a family member of the deceased, and may well have been watching the rider before the accident.
ALL of the witnesses should be considered unreliable. Including his niece. Just leave it at that.

Originally Posted by dicktill View Post
Sorry for your loss; how did it happen?
Making it clear, that's a pull quote from Richard Curran, Sharon Hamer's husband.

Emphasizing, it will be a LONG time before we know what happened. Even for Sharon Hamer.


(Full disclosure. IMO, Marion Ryan, Middlesex County DA, has a blame the victim history when it comes to road crimes. For example, and I'm quoting Richard Curran here, "At that time I challenged the members of the City Council to identify Harvard Square’s crosswalks using Google Earth. It’s virtually impossible to pick out the crosswalks." 1000 times yes.)

-mr. bill
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