Articles Posted in Bicycle Accident

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CuBJknCWIAEC3Ee-300x225In 2014, 59 cyclists died after being struck by large trucks, according to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One of the most recent truck accidents involving a cyclist occurred in Porter Square, Cambridge on October 5, 2016. 60-year-old, Bernard Lavins was cycling when he was struck and killed by an 18 wheeler truck. In a WBUR article, a cyclist at the scene of the crash stated even though bikers follow the rules of the road they are still not noticed. Truckers not being able to see cyclist, because of their large “blind spots” is a common reason why truckers hit cyclist.

Crashes like this have encouraged the U.S. transportation safety board to urge regulators to make it mandatory that trucks be equipped with side guards. Side guards, which are currently required on all trucks in Canada and Japan, cover the gaps between the wheels of trucks. The initiative to require side guards on trucks was a result of two crashes that killed one cyclist and severely injured the other, in Montreal, occurring in the same week. Both crashes, reported in the Globe, occurred when the cyclist fell under side of the truck.

Crashes, like the ones in Montreal, have led New York City and Boston to implement ordinances hat require trucks to be equipped with side guards. In 2015, Mayor De Blasio of New York signed a bill making side guards mandatory on all trucks by 2024. This bill was signed in hopes that sideguards on trucks in New York will have the same effect they did when they were implemented in the UK. A study, conducted by The National Transportation Systems Center (“NTSC”), showed that in the UK accidents dropped 61% after side guards were installed on trucks. The NTSC study also stated that the cost to install side guards on current trucks could be as low as $600, which is cheaper than the UK price of $847. This cost could also decrease if trucks were built with side guards already installed.

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On April 30, 2017 CBS Boston  reported that a cyclist was clipped by a car at 3:30 am in the Back Bay area of Boston. We now know that that cyclist was Rick Archer, a 29-year-old bike courier. Mr. Archer was riding with his friend down Commonwealth Ave. when he was struck by a car driver who fled the scene. Sadly, Mr. Archer passed away from his injuries two days after the crash. This CBS report, like many news stories, implies that the cyclists were in the wrong because they were not in the bike lane at the time of the crash. However, according to Massachusetts bicycling laws Mr. Archer and his friend had every right to be in a lane of traffic and not in the bike lane.

In Massachusetts, cyclists can ride anywhere, just like a car, with few exceptions. Mass. Gen. Law. Ch. 85 Section 11B states that cyclist have the right to use a full lane anywhere, anytime, and on any street even if there is a bike lane present. Cyclists riding on the road must follow the same rules of the road just like car drivers. Cyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and stop at traffic lights and signs, just like cars. Cyclists may ride side-by-side according to Mass. Gen. Law. Ch. 85 Section 11B, as long as they stay in one lane and do not unnecessarily restrict other vehicles from passing them.

A recent Harvard study found an increase in the number of bike crashes in Boston in the last few years due to the increasing number of cyclists. Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston have started a campaign to improve biking safety and awareness through the “Vision Zero Boston Action Plan” which aims to eliminate all fatal crashes by changing the design of the roads and creating more designated bike areas. Unfortunately, there are still far too many bike crashes and injuries happening. To illustrate this point, one has only to look out for the many “Ghost Bikes” around the Boston area. Ghost bikes are white bikes marking crash sites where cyclists have died. A Ghost Bike ceremony was recently held in May for Rick Archer, who was the fourth cyclist to die in Massachusetts in this year alone.