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.
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