Articles Tagged with Boston bicycle accident

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2018 National Bike Summit., with Senator Markey’s office. From left to right, Galen Mook, Vivian Ortiz, Tom Francis, Senator Markey, Massbike Exec. Dir. Richard Fries, Bikeattorney Andrew Fischer and Jon Terbush

The annual National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. this month presented a key opportunity for bicycle safety advocates to press Congressional leaders on the importance of investing in bicycle infrastructure and continued efforts to unify local, regional and national forces in furthering bike-related projects and programs.

Boston bike attorney Andrew Fischer was present and actively involved with a group of MASSBIKE representatives. The three-day conference concluded with a full day of lobbying. In addition to meeting with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), Fischer and the team met with the staffers of Elizabeth Warren and Reps. Joe Kennedy III, Seth Moulton, Michael Capuano and James McGovern. Primary goals included outlining critical concerns of the cycling community and advocating for peak priority in larger urban planning actions.

The two main takeaways from the Summit:

  • A proliferation of dockless bike share businesses springing up in urban areas like Boston but also in gateway cities like Worcester, Springfield, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford and Fall River. There is a push toward extending greater accessibility and connectivity of cycling networks, particularly in law income areas, which are vastly underserved. (Fischer was struck by the data revealed on this front, allaying previous concerns these business models might undercut further expansion of traditional municipal dock-based bike share services.)
  • At the time of the conference, the first week in March, federal funding for bike infrastructure appeared threatened, as part of the budget cuts for mass transit and transportation funding for big cities, particularly in the northeast and on the costs. We though we would need to work with our allies in the Massachusetts delegation to protect this funding, which remains essential in the fight to continue our campaign for  safer streets in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth. However, bicycle infrastructure funding was included in the budget that passed two weeks after our return from Washington. This allows us to continue to advocate for improved bicycle infrastructure.

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Watching the agonizing frame-by-frame the moments before, during and after the 2015 deadly bicycle crash that killed Dr. Anita Kurmann as she cycled along Massachusetts Avenue is gut-wrenching. What’s especially horrendous, though, is that the driver of the tractor-trailer that brazenly mowed her down has not been criminally charged, despite obvious violation of the law. Boston police instead shockingly concluded Kurmann herself was to blame for failure to recognize the truck was preparing to turn.bicycle attorney

Any good bike injury lawyer knows this conclusion is wrong. It ignores the fact that the truck driver had a legal obligation to stay alert to his surroundings – including the presence of vulnerable road users – and turn safely.

Lead bike attorney Andrew Fischer of BikeAttorney.com was part of a team of dedicated advocates that recently drafted an in-depth analysis of the Kurmann case, submitted to the district attorney’s office with an urgent request for further review. This report scrutinized point-by-point, second-by-second how this crash unfolded, establishing the trucker’s overt failure to adhere to MGL Chapter 90 Section 14, which barred him overtaking a bicyclist to make a right turn, “unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper.”

The driver’s conduct went beyond simply a breach of duty to use reasonable care (the standard for negligence). It was criminal. As the analysis clearly showed, the trucker’s violation of the law regarding right turns when bicyclists are on the right lays ample foundation for a charge of negligent homicide. The evidence further supports a probable cause finding for charges of involuntary manslaughter, pursuant to MGL c. 265 s. 13, operating to endanger, and reckless driving – all based on his glaring violation of MGL Chapter 90 Section 14. Continue reading

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A much-loved scientist was killed in a bicycle accident recently when she crossed into the path of a light rail train in Houston.rail

The Houston Chronicle reported the Rice University professor, who had been on staff since 1980, was a nationally-renowned leader in the scientific field of particle physics. In her line of work, she sought answers to questions like, “Why is there so much less anti-matter in the universe than matter?” She was interested in delving into discovery of what makes our universe. The 66-year-old was killed on her bicycle when she crossed over the southbound tracks of a a Metro light rail train around 8:15 one Friday morning, right near the Houston Zoo. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was the second time a person on a bicycle collided with the Metro light rail in Houston that week – a scenario that has occurred here in the Boston area as well. In the second Houston crash, a bicyclist reportedly collided with a moving METRORail train just before the start of the Super Bowl. He was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery, but ultimately died of his injuries.

Although authorities in both cases have said initial investigation indicates the victims did not have the right-of-way, a local biking advocacy group has released a statement calling on city officials to launch an investigation into these deaths and determine whether the designs of the roads and intersections may have in any way contributed, and whether improvements can be made or alternative routes provided.  Continue reading

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It’s one of those cases where simply no amount of money is going to alter the circumstances or make it right. Still, it’s an action that matters for one Illinois man and his five children, who lost the woman who had been the center of their family. It’s particularly important for the two youngest children, who both have special needs and had relied on their mother to ensure their daily nbicycleeeds were met.

Now, local media reports, decedent’s widower has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the sport utility vehicle driver who struck his wife, who was on a bicycle in a crosswalk, last summer. Plaintiff and his children gave emotional testimony in October when a county judge issued a $150 fine to the driver of that SUV in connection with the crash for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. The penalty was pittance compared to the magnitude of the losses suffered by the family, and their attorney noted it was important for the driver to hear from them about what her carelessness had caused.

An attorney for the driver explained her client was deeply shaken by the crash, and has been unable to return to work. Remorse can be healing, but it doesn’t ease the burden now borne by the family, particularly with regard to the care of the two youngest children with special needs.  Continue reading

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Advocates for Boston bicycle safety are applauding the new statewide measure that bans drivers from “standing” or parking in established bike lanes. As our Boston bicycle injury lawyers know, this practice puts cyclists in grave risk because it forces them into moving traffic in order to avoid the stationary vehicle in their path. bikelane

The measure was initially part of a larger bill that had numerous other bicycle safety components. Unfortunately, this larger bill didn’t pass, but bike advocates know this is a start. Safe biking can’t be achieved simply by creating bike lanes. Those lanes have to be policed and the laws enforced so that it’s safe for cyclists to use them.

Boston Attorney Andrew Fischer Bikeattorney.com was part of that team of advocates who helped to draft the bike land protection law, as well as other proposed legislation.  Continue reading

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It’s been more than a century since massive crowds gathered in Madison Square Garden to witness, “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World.” He was perhaps better known as, “the Worcester Whirlwind.” His defiance of Jim Crow segregation in the sport drummed up headlines and publicity, but his performance that year made history. Marshall “Major” Taylor became a world champion bicycle racer.bicycle race

He was the first African American world champion – and this was years before Jack Johnson, also a black man, became the heavyweight champion of the world in 1908 and nearly a half a century before Jackie Robinson was integrated into baseball.

To honor his history, strife and contributions to the sport of cycling and society at-large, a number of Major Taylor birthday rides are being hosted throughout the country. Taylor was born on Nov. 26, 1878. This year, rides are being held on that day in:

  • Los Angeles;
  • San Diego
  • Chicago
  • Pittsburgh
  • Worcester County (Massachusetts)
  • Oakland, CA
  • Indianapolis

All this has been part of an ongoing, concerted effort not to allow Major Taylor’s memory to be lost in light of such remarkable accomplishments. Continue reading

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Boston cycling advocates are pressing city planners to do more to protect cyclists from motorists – and commercial truck drivers in particular – from veering into the bicycle lanes. This concern has grown especially sharp as students recently returned to classes, and many opt to bike to and from classes and part-time jobs. Not only that, but students returning to classes in droves, moving trucks in tow, have created a hazard for cyclists when those trucks park in bike lanes.bikepath

As The Boston Globe reporters observed recently on Beacon Street as a commuting cyclist was forced into regular traffic lanes in order to avoid a sizable white moving truck that was full of boxes that blocked her way. Said the cyclist, “It’s really dangerous.”

Boston is known as a community with narrow streets and tons of double parking. Those on bicycle say it’s not uncommon to have to veer in and out of regular traffic to try to get around the motor vehicles parked in bike lanes. It creates a perilous situation for them.  Continue reading

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The Lexington Department of Public Works has announced it will be paving a section of the popular Minuteman Bikeway that runs between Hancock Street and Bedford Street.biketrail2

Beginning today, this section of the bike path will be closed on weekdays from 7 a.m. to dusk. However, it will still be open for bike traffic in the evenings and on weekends until further notice. Officials with the agency, who offered this map of the paving work, speculate it will be completed before the end of the month.

Riders who would otherwise use the path aren’t going to be completely without options. Those traveling north will exit the trail on the left onto Harrington Road and then swing out onto Bedford Street. They can remain on that path, past Lois Lane, Carol Lane and Larchmont Lane, to hook a left back onto the trail just past Sunny-Knoll Avenue. This initiative should make the bike trail a safer place for riders. Continue reading

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Bicycle accidents in Boston that involve children tend to be perceived as “part of growing up.” They aren’t viewed as seriously or as a major problem. bicycling

Unfortunately, many child bicycle accidents result in injuries that far exceed scrapes-and-bruises. In some cases, children may suffer fractured bones, severe scarring, internal organ damage and possibly even traumatic brain injury.

Child-related bicycle accidents tend to be far more severe in the summertime. That’s when more children are out-and-about and parents actually encourage their kids to take on bike riding. Nine out of every 10 bicycle accidents involving children happen during daylight hours and most occur during the spring and summer months.  Continue reading

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A bicyclist in Cambridge was struck and killed in Inman Square recently, prompting a vigil and a lasting memorial we’ve come to see with increasing commonality in Boston: The ghost bike. bikememorial

The 27-year-old cyclist, Amanda Phillips, was allegedly hit by a landscaping truck at the intersection of Cambridge and Hampshire Streets around 12:15 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon. She was in critical condition following the crash and was transported to Mass. General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Witnesses told investigators Phillips either swerved to avoid an opening door of a sport utility vehicle or was actually struck by the door and thrown into the path of the truck. One nearby resident told reporters the Cambridge intersection has been a huge problem for decades, and it’s gotten even worse as the number of bicyclists has ballooned in recent years.  Continue reading