Bicyclist Struck And Killed By Truck In Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – A bicyclist was hit and killed on the corner of Mass Ave. and Vassar in Cambridge Tuesday night.

The eighteen wheeler was making a right hand turn when it happened. The bicycle was stuck under the wheel of the truck after the accident.

The male victim was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are not releasing his name.

  • jthandle

    Looks like the tanker is on the wrong side of the road. Looking @ the intersection of Massachusetts Ave & Vassar St, Cambridge, MA 02139 with Google maps street view, it appears that there are many traffic cameras overhead, which should have recorded the incident. This is an awful tragedy and my thoughts and best wishes go out to the cyclists family. Seems pretty clear from the photo of the tanker on the worng side of the road in this article that it is the motorist that is at fault in this collision and killed a human. Unfortunately, with the lax roadway laws in Massachusetts, this driver will most likely receive merely a paltry fine and a bump on his insurance premiums. It is time to pass a vulnerable road users law:

    • Thomas Hood

      I looked at the picture again and withdraw my comment about the bike being at fault. Clearly, the bike is in the opposing traffic lane not to the right of the truck. I still think the whole make the penalties harsher thing is a waste of time though.

    • Mark Kaepplein

      The City of Cambridge enabled this crash. Cambridge lists both Mass Ave and Vassar Street as trucking routes, so why in 2003 would they narrow Vassar Street by about 12 feet so 18 wheelers have to always cross lanes to turn right? Why would they also allow Bank of America to have such blinding lighting at night from their ATM kiosk on the corner? Bad engineering right on the MIT campus, how ironic.

      The vulnerable users law is crazy and would not have prevented this accident. It puts yet higher penalties on motorists when virtually no enforcement is yet done for cyclists who rampantly break laws, injure pedestrians, and damage property. It doesn’t protect pedestrians from cyclists who are vulnerable to fast moving cyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks illegally. First there needs to be an OUI law for cyclists like other states, and hit and run by a cyclist needs to be a criminal offense like it is for motorists instead of a $20 fine, if ever caught with no license plate to help.

    • Thomas Hood

      The truck was negotiating a right turn. There is a sign on the back of the trailer that says the vehicle makes wide right turns. Hardly surprising. The bicyclist is responsible for illegally passing the truck on the right while the truck is trying to turn. This is not the trucker’s fault.

      Your bill, BTW, tries to make the case for increasing penalties on motorists involved in accidents with unprotected road users. What good would that do? Accidents are accidents. If someone were being negligent, there are separate charges that can be levied against either party, which carry harsher penalties already. The fact that there is a greater chance of injury for one party than the other already weights the penalty in favor of the unprotected party since an injury accident carries stiffer penalties than an non-injury accident, and the chance of an accident between a motorist and biker/pedestrian having injuries is greater. You also state the statistic that disproportionately more pedestrians and bikes are involved in accidents than should be expected, given their relatively light use of the roadways, in support of your argument. There are two conclusions that can be drawn from the statistic. Either motorists are hitting more bikers and pedestrians because the motorists are careless, or motorists are hitting more bikers and pedestrians because the bikers and pedestrians are careless. I don’t think the data supports your argument.

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  • Bob

    The truck crossed over the double-yellow line. It doesn’t matter how big the truck is – if it can’t negotiate that turn, then the company shouldn’t be trying to drive an 18 wheeler through the streets of Cambridge!

    It also isn’t the fault of a cyclist if the driver didn’t see them; the law says the cyclist has to have a front light, not that they need to dress like a day-glo psychedelic clown. The driver of the truck was in the oncoming lane over a double-yellow line!

    Also, the sign on the door of the truck clearly says Leone and Sons Trucking, Tewksbury.

  • jthandle

    BTW, not that it matters in this case, bicycles are legally entitled to pass on the right in Massachusetts. Not only that, but they have the right of way, as they are going straight, and any vehicle making a right or left hand turn must yeild to the vehicle, bicycle, that is travelling in a straight line.

  • fred

    It was raining so visibility may have been an issue for the truck driver. I know I hate driving when it’s raining at night. Also it is very easy for a bike to go down on a wet surface – perhaps the bike tried to stop but the brakes were wet so he couldn’t stop quickly enough. i drove a truck when i was younger so i know it is sometimes difficult to negotiate turns in the city – often there are cars parked too close to the corner, which is illegal, so you have to make a wide swing which often involves going into the other lane. There is not enough information from one picture to determine fault either way at this point.

  • Bob

    If rain was limiting visibility than the driver should have been driving more carefully and slowly, ESPECIALLY IF HE WAS ENTERING AN ONCOMING LANE.

    “Also it is very easy for a bike to go down on a wet surface ”

    STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM. It’s not the victim’s fault if they can’t stop in time to avoid a semi truck that has illegally crossed a double-yellow line head-on at them.

  • simone

    Tragedy on both sides. How would you feel if you were the truck driver? There are two sides and somewhere in between, there lies the truth. I travel by car in this area of Cambridge every work day. It is a nightmare trying to maneuver a vehicle around bike riders who are extremely aggressive and excessive risk takers. I’ve encountered more than a few by car and also as a pedestrian. Many do not stop at red lights. They ride bikes in parking lots, on pedestrian cross walks, on side walks and between lanes of traffic. There needs to be more police presence on the heavily traveling areas to warn everyone who is breaking the laws of the road. By providing bicyclists extra privileges on the roadways is inviting more tragedies. This accident could have possibly been avoided. I have driven both bike and car on these roads for over two decades. These roads are excessively populated and antiquated. They cannot handle the number of travelers, due to the number of people who have recently moved here over the past 7 years. Narrow-mindedness and GREED of developers and company have created too much density with their push for gentrification and condos. These cities cannot support the growth without proper traffic modifications and a modern, efficient Mass Transit System. The one we have should be shut down. Some of the trains date as far back as 1969. Transportation in this state has always been a huge problem and it is only getting worse. If we didn’t have so much corruption, maybe more people would be alive.

  • mplo

    First of all, my thoughts are with the family and friends of the cyclist who was killed in an accident with the 18-wheeled truck in Cambridge.

    Secondly, however, trucks do have to make wide right turns.

    Thirdly, when it’s raining or snowing, or the roads are slick and/or wet, it’s best for a cyclist to take it much slower. Yet, I recognize the pecking order that exists; bicyclists and pedestrians need to be protected from their own mistakes.

    I agree with the idea that more police need to be present in order to exert more control over scofflaws on the road, whether they be drivers of automobiles, pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. A bicycle is considered a vehicle too, and the bicycle rider is also subject to the rules of the road, as well. Not to blame the poor guy for his death, but as a bicyclist myself, I, too have seen many a cyclist run a red light, bicycle on the wrong side of the road, go the wrong way down one-way streets, and weave in and out of traffic. These kinds of tactics on the part of many (though certainly not all) bicyclists put themselves in great peril, and they’re better off exercising more caution, because throwing caution to the wind often has serious consequences, if one gets the drift.

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