WBUR

BU Student On Bike Killed In Crash With Tractor Trailer

A sheet covers the body of a 23-year-old bicyclist killed at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and St. Paul Street Thursday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A sheet covers the body of a 23-year-old bicyclist killed at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and St. Paul Street Thursday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Update at 4:25 p.m.: Boston University has identified the bicyclist killed in the accident as Christopher Weigl, a 23-year-old graduate student who was pursuing a master’s in photojournalism. (See his photo website.) It’s Boston’s fifth cyclist death of the year.

“He was one of the best graduate students I’ve had here; he took responsibility for all of his work and met every deadline,” senior lecturer Peter Smith told BU Today. “He was the kind of student you hope for.”

Weigl grew up in Southborough and earned his bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College. BU Today has more on his academic pursuits and a video student profile.

Christopher Weigl (Student profile screenshot)

Christopher Weigl (Student profile screenshot)

Earlier post with updates:

Boston Police are investigating after a Boston University student on a bicycle was struck and killed by a tractor trailer at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and St. Paul Street just after 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

The victim, described by police as a 23-year-old male, was pronounced deceased at the scene. Police have not yet identified him, pending family notification.

BU President Robert Brown confirmed that the victim was a student in a letter to the school community.

Witnesses said the cyclist was in the bike lane when he collided with the truck as it turned right from Commonwealth onto St. Paul.

“He was going pretty fast down the street, and the truck was taking a left-lane right turn down to St. Paul Street,” said CVS employee Stanley Brown, who witnessed the collision. “And I just hear a smack and then I see the guy getting run over by the wheels.”

Police said the operator of the truck remained on the scene as officers responded. “No citations have been issued at this time,” police added.

A Boston University student riding his bicycle was killed in Allston last month after he was hit by an MBTA bus.

BU’s Brown addressed the two student bicyclist fatalities in his letter:

As most of you know, this is the second fatal bicycle accident in our community this fall. We are very concerned about the dangers faced by members of our community who must navigate the streets on and near our campus, especially bicyclists and pedestrians. As we identify ways in which education and changes in practice can reduce risks, we will take all necessary and possible steps to do so.

He added that counseling for those affected by Thursday’s accident and its aftermath will be made available by the university.

Boston city councilors had previously scheduled a hearing on bike safety for Thursday afternoon. Councilor Felix Arroyo, who rode his bike from his home in Jamaica Plain to City Hall Thursday morning to raise awareness for bike safety, said the accident emphasizes the need for greater awareness.

“This person’s not the first person to lose their life in the city of Boston while cycling,” Arroyo said. “Which is why we need to make sure our roads are safe for everyone who uses them.”

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  • Chris

    They need to redesign the bike lanes. Make cars park on the outside and put the lane between sidewalk and parked cars. At the moment Boston is not safe for bikes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/remy.morrison Jeremy Remy Morrison

      They do this on N. Harvard and it’s really nice. I think this would be a great idea on main streets like Comm too.

    • Katie

      They definitely do need to do this. NYC has this in some areas, and it’s much safer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bgast1 Brandon Gast

      Or better yet, cycle lanes completely separate from cars. http://www.portlandonline.com/mayor/index.cfm?c=52503

    • knorrig2

      It appears that this accident occured in the intersection. Presumably the biker was crossing and the truck turned into the biker. Having cars between the biker and the cars making right turns might make this situation much worse.

      • jlowe

        Definitely would make it worse. Putting the parked cars between the cyclist and the cars driving would just make more blind spots.

        • Dan

          You solve that by running bikes against the direction of traffic, so say on com ave, on the outbound side, the separated bike line would be running inbound, so cyclists can see cars coming at them. the same would be done on the opposite side. thats whats currently done in NYC and in other places around the world with that set up. Makes it much safer for everybody, with LESS blindspots.

          • Ribs07

            I’ll try to be respectful but you obviously do not understand what it is like riding in the city. Putting the bike traffic running against vehicle traffic would be much worse. One: speeds would increase as you have a car going 40, bike going 15 in the opposite direction you are talking about coming together at 55mph, that would drastically cut any reaction time either operator would have. As a car passes a bike on their right they should easily see the bike if they are paying attention and should never be making a right turn without their indicator (which is the absolutely worst driver offense in this city (and I suspect the cause of this accident). How can you have fewer blind spots when you can’t even see the opposite operator until they are right on top of you? If your solution was in fact the case you would never have bikes hit by cars making left turns now, which is certainly not the case. Please drivers use your indicator, its the law and so so very simple to do.

          • Dan

            For the record I do know what it is like riding a bike in this city. I ride my bike to school everyday, through the same intersection which was host to this morning’s tragedy. I also have lived in New York, Germany (multiple cities), and Washington, DC. All of these cities have different solutions to sharing the road between bikes and cars. I’m also an engineer and design these solutions for a living. The current design on com ave is not the safest design for either motorists or cyclists. It was implemeneted because of space constraints and ease of installation as the scheme I outlined above’s only drawback is that drivers aren’t used to it. Awareness is key.

            The bikes would be separated from moving traffic by the parked cars. I’m sorry I didn’t explain that correctly. The blindspots would be eliminated because bikes would not be moving in the blindspots of cars. Both would be able to see the other approaching them versus having to turn to the side and look, taking their eyes off of the road. A head on collision is not the danger for bikers, as this accident showed today, it was a vehicle turning. And because the bike was moving in the same direction, the biker could not react in time to stop before the truck hit him.

            If you fail to realize the safety merits of contraflow bike lanes then I don’t know what else I can do to help you.

            http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikesafe/case_studies/casestudy.cfm?CS_NUM=209

          • Ribs07

            While I respect your information do you think the cars racing to get across the green line tracks at the intersections would see the bikes riding down the contra flow lane through the steel railings or care about them as they came across the tracks? I just don’t think the cyclists in this area would be any more likely to stop at intersections when they are supposed to than they are now. Although there would not be head on collisions there would be cars coming out of no where as they came from the other side across the tracks. Bikes would have less time to react in these cases and no place to go in the event of a car coming out in front of them.

            The bike not being able to stop today was likely due to one of two things, the truck not signaling (most likely) or the cyclist not paying attention while flying down the hill there (also quite likely given what I’ve seen at that intersection). My office is in that block.

            I too am an engineer with a degree in civil engineering so know a bit about what I’m talking about.

          • Sarah

            According to the criteria listed on the site you link to, Commonwealth Ave. would not be a good candidate for a contraflow lane, given the length of the street and the volume of traffic. This is a multi-lane street with a train down the middle that runs the length of the campus, not an alleyway that cyclists use as a short cut.

          • Doubting_Thomas12

            This is a simple rule that all cars should follow. If they’re not, then it is indeed dangerous for everyone around them.

    • R I

      i agree with Chris. As someone who drives, I always always double check when I am about to make a turn, to make sure there is no bike coming from my blind spot. But then again, some driver are just careless (as we all know boston drivers are among the worst!).

      Making a bike lane between the sidewalk and parked cars is a no-brainer. PLUS, we need to educate both drivers and cyclist to be aware of each other in diffferent settings

    • KateH

      I agree that bicycle lanes could use some re-thinking. I’ve been a bicycle commuter for the last 7 years in Boston. One of my pet peeves is seeing other cyclists blatant disregard for traffic laws. That said, especially during rush hour, cars often will not give me right of way and regularly cut me off while making right hand turns across bicycle lanes. Because of this, I will run reds at especially dangerous/busy lights if I feel the need to get to the other side of that intersection before the impatient motorists do. In these instances, I feel that running the red is safer for me as a cyclist than obeying traffic laws to the letter. Boston is a congested city and may not be able to support the number of bicycles on the road now unless someone puts some serious thought into how to make the roads safer for all. Painting lines might not be enough

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5013919 Robert Charles Riegel III

      You’d still have car doors opening up into the bike lane, and then you’d have pedestrians that are popping out behind cars to get to the side walk… and vic-versa

  • SG

    The second such incident in approximately a month. We need to do something. It’s imp to know who broke the law; when I walk on Comm Av I see cyclists go on red too often.

    • http://twitter.com/DoylesTa Jen Taylor McCloskey

      Not like those always-law-abiding car drivers who definitely never run a light or right turn on red when it is prohibited, right? Look, I am the self-righteous person who actually does say something to the cyclists that I see running lights. I said something to a girl who rode through that very intersection, against a red light, just a few weeks ago. I said “you have a red light, you have to stop,” and she blithely called back “does it really matter?” Obviously, it does. As a cyclist, I hate it when I see other cyclists breaking the law because it makes the road even less safe for me, the chump who waits at red lights. But putting all the blame on cyclists, who are on a 15-40 pound vehicle, and ignoring the arguably greater responsibility that car drivers, who are in a 2000-4000 pound vehicle, is literally insane.

    • http://www.mattaromando.com/ Matt Aromando

      I know the intersection in question, both the truck and the cyclist would have had to be going in the same direction. If one of them was running the red light, then so was the other.

  • Linda

    Certainly the bike lanes need to be made as safe as possible, but I have seen so many bicyclists violate the traffic laws that I am not surprised this happened. They routinely go through stop lights, ride on the wrong side of the road, and on the sidewalks, imperiling pedestrians.

    • http://www.mattaromando.com/ Matt Aromando

      Let’s not blame the victim, this particular accident occurred as both the truck and cyclist were driving in the same direction. The truck ignored the fact that there was someone riding on the right side of the truck, didn’t check to see if it was safe to turn, and killed someone.

      • dust truck

        Nobody knows the facts yet. It’s just as possible that the biker was violating the law as the trucker.

        • Tim Schorer

          It’s possible, it’s not probable. The body is lying in the bike lane, marked by the dotted line. The driver swung wide to make a turn and ignored the cyclist. Traffic being what it is, it is probable that the truck had a narrow window to make that turn.

          • dust truck

            So what if the body was in the bike lane? It could have been thrown there. Who says the driver swung wide? How do you know he ignored the cyclist? Witnesses haven’t been questioned yet. How do you know what traffic was like at that particular time in the morning? Were you there?

            Looking at the picture it looks like the bicyclist hit the SIDE of the truck, so the truck had already turned. Did the bicyclist try to stop? Was he wearing a helmet? Why is everyone assuming the driver was in the wrong here?

          • Rob

            Er witnesses have said that the driver swung wide (which is really the only way he makes a turn onto St. Paul) and that the cyclist was in the bike lane. Still, I wonder why blame must always be laid. Sometimes tragedies are just that. Move on and find a way to stop them in the future.

          • http://twitter.com/CurtNickisch Curt Nickisch

            Witnesses said the biker was in the bike lane going the same direction as the truck, the light was green, and the truck made a right turn from the left lane. And that after the initial impact, the tires rolled over the bikers’ body. There was a helmet visible beneath the 18-wheeler’s tires.

    • http://twitter.com/DoylesTa Jen Taylor McCloskey

      Maybe until you know more about what happened you don’t need to immediately jump on the victim? You don’t know if this kid was running a light or not – in fact, if this truck was turning right, it was probably a green light – that’s a no right on red intersection. So either the truck was ALSO breaking the law by turning right on red, or, given that it’s actually pretty hard to turn right on red there because of the cross-traffic and folks turning left from the other side of Comm, the light was probably green. In this very article, WBUR reports that witnesses are saying the cyclist was in the bike lane when he was struck.

      Your comment is not only baseless and irrelevant, but insensitive.

    • Jon

      What an incredibly heartless thing to say. You know nothing about this victim, his riding habits or what specifically happened in this case.

    • Jon

      What an incredibly heartless thing to say. You know nothing about this victim, his riding habits or what specifically happened in this case.

      • dust truck

        and you know nothing about the driver of the truck. Why do you assume he was in the wrong here?

        • Jon

          I don’t assume any such thing.

          • dust truck

            Then why are you claiming that Linda is heartless for saying that many bikers are careless? She said no such thing about THIS biker.

          • dust truck

            Then why are you claiming that Linda is heartless for saying that many bikers are careless? She said no such thing about THIS biker.

          • katmandu

            In response to these responses; both drivers and cyclists break the road rules everyday. Boston is notorious for it. Doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, though, the outcome is incredibly sad. Pointless to argue or get upset on this matter

    • You’re a moron

      Ah yes, because while cyclists violate the law, cell-phone-yakking, texting, right-hooking, gridlocking drivers are perfectly innocent. Look inwards before you cast blame, idiot. And someone just died as a result of being right hooked – which is indefensibly reckless driving.

      • Driver who looks

        Way to go — insulting all drivers is a good way to promote cooperation among cyclists, car drivers and pedestrians! We also don’t know if the young man was right hooked, or if the truck was in the process of turning and he came along too fast to assess the situation for what it was. But just keep it up with the assumptions.

  • Felipe

    My son lives in Cambridge and rides. I was in the city in on the weekend. Bike lanes are great but how they are constructed put them at the mercy of parked cars opening doors etc. and driving in the lane. American drivers are not cognizant of cyclists as they are in Europe. I just spoke with my son

  • KateH

    I agree that bicycle lanes could use some re-thinking. I’ve been a bicycle commuter for the last 7 years in Boston. One of my pet peeves is seeing other cyclists blatant disregard for traffic laws. That said, especially during rush hour, cars often will not give me right of way and regularly cut me off while making right hand turns across bicycle lanes. Because of this, I will run reds at especially dangerous/busy lights if I feel the need to get to the other side of that intersection before the impatient motorists do. In these instances, I feel that running the red is safer for me as a cyclist than obeying traffic laws to the letter. Boston is a congested city and may not be able to support the number of bicycles on the road now unless someone puts some serious thought into how to make the roads safer for all. Painting lines might not be enough.

    • Justin

      While there’s a ton the city could do, the simplest thing is for us cyclists to not pretend that just because there’s a bike lane, we’re invincible. The only thing it does for me is give me a little more space to work with. I still keep my eyes up for pedestrians, left hooks, and other hazards. One huge thing you can do to protect yourself is not go across an intersection with a car on your side. They should be ahead of you so if the turn right, you can brake, or behind you where they will see you or you’ll just be past them. It’s tragic, but the way it stand right now, the onus is on us to stay alert and ride safely while the city gets its act together.

      Why can’t intersections have signs that remind drivers to look back before they turn right?

      • KateH

        Justin, I couldn’t agree more. We have to keep our heads up and not let bicycle lanes provide a false sense of security. I like your signage idea.

  • Chris

    Nice video on physically separated bike lanes.

    http://www.streetfilms.org/physically-separated-bike-lanes/

    • Ribs07

      These look great. Wishful thinking in a city as tight as Boston already is however.

  • J Boudreau

    “Witnesses say the cyclist was in the bike lane when he collided with the truck as it turned right onto St. Paul Street.”
    ???

    • msully72

      If the truck cut off the cyclicst and the cyclist couldn’t stop in time, then the cyclist, by definition, hit the truck, even though the cyclist may not have been at fault.

  • http://twitter.com/KenWhoKenDo Ken W.
  • http://www.facebook.com/clint.cavanaugh Clint Cavanaugh

    This isn’t about bike lanes or helmets or lights or reflective clothing or regulating bikers. It’s about awareness! We don’t know the details yet, so it’s impossible to speculate or point fingers, but as someone who bikes in Boston every day I will say that I have seen so many dangerous, careless maneuvers by both cars and bikes and in my 27 or so years of biking the city, I’ve not had an accident (knock on wood). To what else other than dumb luck do I attribute this? The fact that I, as the one who has the most to lose in a collision, am ALWAYS aware that a car might do the silliest thing it possibly could–go through a light, veer into a bike lane, turn in front of me either because they’re not paying attention OR because when they looked, I was in their blind spot. As a biker, I’ve had fellow bikers whiz by me, not shouting out the polite and safe “On your left.” I’ve seen people riding with ear buds in. What?!?!? This could not be more idoitic. There are rude drivers and bikers, and though I’m a big advocate for good manners, my safety is more important. One day I was actually in my car and some ass on a bike zoomed past me and then TURNED HIS HEAD to shout something nasty and stick out his tongue…just because! I’d done nothing to incite that and it was stupidly dangerous of him. So I’d like to make two points: the first is how terrible I feel this morning. The poor kid’s life got cut short and lives of the parents of the kid and the person driving the truck will never be the same. The second point is that no matter who was at fault, we bike riders need to take responsibility for our own well-being. No rules or regulations will keep us safe; only our vigilance and careful riding will. It is an absolute joy to be able to ride a bike around town, but it’s also huge responsibility. Never, ever take your mind off what you’re doing and always expect that the unexpected could happen and be ready to react. If you do this, only a truly freak accident–and they do happen, sadly–will lead to something like the unspeakably sad occurrence this morning.

    • http://twitter.com/DoylesTa Jen Taylor McCloskey

      Well-said. Keep being safe out there!

    • Justin

      You nailed it, man. All the bike lanes in the world won’t save you from your own stupidity.

      • Rob

        Nor the stupidity of others.

        • Zingbaby

          Too true, yet you can be smart, and right (and have the right of way) and still end up dead quite easily on a bike.

          Let’s face it, these roads were designed for cars, and until something drastic happens and our society no longer relies so heavily on cars it will continue to be dangerous for cyclist sharing the same roads.

          Regardless of how you think things ‘should be’, the reality is, you are taking a serious risk to both life and limb when cycling in the city; this is an unfortunate fact. Yet cyclists CHOOSE to take this risk and act as if it doesn’t exist.

          The insurance companies will tell you that people are much worse drivers now than ever before, largely thanks to young drivers with cell phones. But seriously, when you choose to swim with sharks and get eaten who’s fault is it?

          Folks are not being honest here. People are terrible drivers sadly and you can often find cars breaking the rules of the road as well – but car drivers are still held responsible for breaking those rules – bikers are not.

          I’m sorry but any cyclist that says he/she always obeys the rules of the road is completely full of sh*t. Does that make it right when car turns without looking and knocks them over? – No of course not, but bikers cannot have it both ways; especially when being right, can still mean being dead very easily on a bike.

          • RT

            We encourage cyclists to be responsible on the road yet we also say that those that are being responsible are lairs? Okay…

          • http://profiles.google.com/ericmobikefed Eric Bunch

            Really? How many people do you think are killed in cars in Boston each year? Do you think the transportation system is serving them well? Where is the outrage for NY subway riders taking their lives into their own hands by stepping onto the platform? We tend to dwell on bicycle crashes for some weird reason but fail to keep the larger picture in focus. Transportation in the US is not safe for anyone when held to the same standard that you purport for bicyclists.

          • Zingbaby

            Oh I totally agree – my point is, you don’t see subway-suicide-activists trying to blame the subway for these deaths because they chose to walk in front of a train.

          • Ian Brett Cooper

            That analogy would be fine if cyclists were choosing to get knocked over by cars. The thing is, they don’t. And like I said earlier, cycling is twice as safe as driving. So if you’re going to make that argument, why do motorists ‘choose’ to get into cars when they know the risk is even greater than that taken by cyclists?

          • Zingbaby

            In LaLa land… where there are only as many cars as there are bikes. Gee, I wonder why there are more car accidents?

          • Doubting_Thomas12

            Because biking to school or work would take two hours, while driving takes much, much less.

            Cycling is much safer when you follow the rules of the road. Don’t run red lights, don’t cut cars off when turning, don’t switch lanes without signaling, don’t zip between cars when you think they’re stopped completely at a light. If you do all that, then you’re not part of the problem, and you will be safe unless someone else isn’t following the rules.

            I used to bike instead of drive, and never ran into an issue where a car nearly killed me. Since I started driving, I’ve had cyclists occasionally cut me off at risk to their own life. Is my experience truly that out of the ordinary?

          • http://www.facebook.com/eliza.kane Eliza Catherine Kane

            This idea that bikers are *consenting* to lethal risk is the same kind of effed-up victim blaming that says women who go out at night should expect to get raped. It’s disgusting. If a car in the right line got crushed by a tractor-trailer making a right turn from the left lane, no one would say, “Well, everyone in that car accepted this risk when they decided to drive in Boston.” It is 100% not an appropriate reaction to dead passengers and equally inappropriate for a dead cyclist.

            Someone explain to me how a biker is supposed to prevent getting hit by a truck in the FAR lane when he is driving in the bike lane just as he should, with eyes straight forward to monitor on-coming cross traffic. Should he stop and walk his bike through every street he intersects, in the off chance someone from out of nowhere might make an unsignaled turn? That would be ridiculous.

            And in terms of making the choice to ride — for some people, especially students, it’s the only financial option. Even if that’s not the case, why should anyone have to pay $2 each way to take a polluting mode of transport when he has the technology and desire to bike for free?

            The truth remains that bike deaths do not happen only to risky cyclists, and the blame shouldn’t be put on cyclists for daring to venture through their own city. As both a cyclist and a motorist, I realize that when I *choose* to operate a 4000lb machine at 35mph down Comm Ave, I am taking on more responsibility and introducing more danger to those around me than when I pedal my 5lb bike at 12mph.

            Just once I’d like to hear someone say, “Wow; cars and bikes are dangerous together — everyone should switch to bikes!” instead of this idea that all cyclists really ought to be in a car or on a bus. Of course the idea of having only cars or only bikes is preposterous, but at least if everyone biked we’d have cleaner air, lessened dependency on oil, less scrap metal and toxic by-products, no circling for parking spaces, exercising citizens, less traffic congestion, and NO COLLISION FATALITIES. Whereas if all cyclists switched to cars, we’d only be that much more miserable.

          • Zingbaby

            Well in magical dream land we will all switch to bikes because cars are more dangerous. But on earth – we reasonably recognize that cars ARE dangerous and if we introduce a new wave of bike commuters into this traffic they should a) appreciate and respect this danger – and b) follow the damned rules (your life may depend on it).
            This is not ‘blaming the victim’ so don’t even try that. Your rape example is insulting and completely unapplicable. A better example might be having unprotected sex with someone known to have STD’s. This IS a known risk and part of the problem is that bikers want to pretend it isn’t. If you can’t be honest with yourself what’s the point? Cars must be more aware of bikers these days, but bikers MUST recognize that it is really f**n dangerous biking in the city and be cautious – something I don’t see from the bikers that insanely weave in and out of traffic everyday on my commute.

          • Ian Brett Cooper

            Cars are indeed very dangerous – that’s why motorists were denied the right to the road early in the 20th Century. That’s why motorists are required to be licensed. That’s why motoring is merely a privilege – so that it can be revoked. Yet even though they have had all these limitations due to the fact that they kill, motorists like you still behave as if driving is an entitlement.

            Cyclists kill a handful of people per year worldwide. Motorists kill over a million people per year worldwide. Maybe it’s time we got serious about reducing the numbers of cars on our roads.

            Removing bicycles from roads makes no sense. Permanently taking away the privilege of driving from motorists who break the rules makes a lot more sense. Why aren’t we doing that?

          • Zingbaby

            Finally, nobody said anything about removing bikes from the road – well at least I didn’t. I only said one must recognize the dangers; which you champion against in one breath and dismiss in another.

            Also you CAN lose your license for breaking the rules – where have you been?

            Again – why does this argument never go anywhere? You are not being honest. You might follow all the rules and do everything right; but you cannot tell me that most bikers do this. You MIGHT say that some percentage of daily, professional, bike commuters follow the rules… but that is not all the bikers is it? …little kids can bike on the road, college kids with headphones and their heads up their ass make up MOST of the bikers in the city. Let’s have an honest discussion.

          • X-Ray

            There are many more cyclists who break the rules and regulations than motorists. But the consequences for them are likely to be more significant. Yes, roads are made with vehicles in mind. So much more reason for the bicyclists to be more cautious and less aggressive.

          • Ian Brett Cooper

            “There are many more cyclists who break the rules and regulations than motorists.”

            LOL! Yeah, right. Motorists rarely even obey the speed limit! They run red lights, they run stop signs, they use the phone while driving. Heck, put me in a car with any driver and give me 5 minutes – I’ll show you a lawbreaker.

          • Doubting_Thomas12

            In most states, and indeed most countries, pedestrians who jaywalk and are hit by motor vehicles are at fault.

            I’m a very careful driver, never had an accident where people got hurt. Perhaps cyclists in your area are all very careful, but I’ve had people zip by at night dressed in all black, with no reflective surfaces or blinkers, and yell at me for not giving them the right of way.

            If you use the road, use the rules of the road. Otherwise stay off it.

          • Doubting_Thomas12

            One night, I spent ten seconds making sure that there weren’t any cars or bikes coming or going before taking a left turn. When I was mostly through that turn, a biker, dressed in all black, with no blinkers save a small reflector on the back, shouted at me “F***ING LOOK!!11!” while taking a right onto the same road I had just turned into, whizzing by.

            If you want to operate on the road, use the rules of the road. And don’t turn into oncoming traffic, expecting them to blink first. Sometimes, if you’re being careless, they won’t be able to see you.

          • Ian Brett Cooper

            A ‘blame the victim’ response that is beneath contempt. You should be ashamed of yourself!

            Actually, roads were designed for cyclists in the 1890s. Look it up.

            Also, studies show that cycling is twice as safe as driving. So that makes a bit of a mockery of your ‘you can be smart, right and still easily end up dead on a bike’ and your ‘taking a serious risk to life and limb’ and your ‘swimming with sharks’ nonsense.

            As for your assertion that car drivers are held responsible for breaking road rules but cyclists aren’t, I suggest you read up on Massachusetts transportation laws because you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            I do always ALWAYS obey the rules of the road. I also teach my 9 year old daughter to do the same, not just because it’s legal, but because it is ethical and it makes us safer. If you think I’m ‘completely full of sh*t’ then you’re completely full of sh*t and you’re an a**hole and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

            As for ‘being right can also mean being dead’, what’s your point? People die in accidents every minute in this world when they’re exercising their rights. That is not a reason to avoid what is a very safe activity.

          • Zingbaby

            Ok listen you psycho – first I am on the side of cyclists. I do NOT want to see cyclists get hit nor do I want to hit one. If your argument cannot even sway ME than perhaps you should open your eyes and deduce why cyclists have so little support amongst car drivers.

            Secondly because I realistically recognize the dangers of cycling in the city does not mean I blame the victim, that is knee-jerk reach completely outside of the point.

            You are here screeching about safety and what car’s should do in order to fix it, and out of the other side of your mouth dismissing that it is dangerous and a KNOWN risk – which it is, right or wrong. It shouldn’t be dangerous, that I agree – but it is. Open your F*n eyes.

            As to your statistics – of course there is more data for people getting hurt in cars because there are way more cars on the road. C’mon don’t be a damned fool. What are the statistics regarding bike versus car incidents – which is safer then?

            And the roads… the roads were originally designed for horses, not bikes; that doesn’t mean that in our lifetime they haven’t been made almost explicitly for CARS. The bikes lanes are NEW; as is the sudden wave of bike commuters.

            And finally as to you following the rules – great! …but you cannot tell me that MOST cyclists do this. The fact is – you are not being honest (with yourself)… about the danger, about the roads, and about how most cyclists behave in the city – and that is why we never get anywhere. Wake the F* up lady!

    • KateH

      So true! Be safe!

    • bostonh2o

      well written… thank you

    • katmandu

      You are absolutely correct in this statement. As a cyclist myself, I am always surprised at the lack of courtesy drivers and cyclists have for one another. We all have to share the road and do it safely. My prayers go out to that young man’s family and friends.

      • Doubting_Thomas12

        Definitely… whomever was at fault isn’t even the issue anymore, because the kid is dead. Sad.

    • Chris

      Very good points, but I am not going to ride a bike in a city that’s so dangerous. Why would I want to be constantly on alert/in fear?

      • http://www.facebook.com/clint.cavanaugh Clint Cavanaugh

        Hey, Chris~ I think there’s a big difference between being alert and feeling fearful and I applaud your decision not to ride in the city if it makes you nervous. Traffic and anxiety–no matter what your mode of transport–are not the best combination!

        • Chris

          Yes, but I wish we had a better atmosphere for biking.

    • Eric Griffith

      100% agree with everything you’ve said. I’ve biked the BU stretch of Comm Ave over 1000 times and have managed to keep myself safe by ALWAYS assuming a car will turn right at every intersection and being hyper-vigilant of my surroundings. As a biker, it does you no good to be legally in the right if someone ignores a right of way convention – you’re still injured or dead.

    • alissa f

      This is the most thoughtful and articulate critique of bike riding in the city that I have seen or heard today. Thank you.

    • Independent_Hustler

      I learned to bike in cities from a bike messenger friend about 10 years ago. His advice: ride like every car, pedestrian, and other cyclists are actively trying to hit you. That’s the only way to make it. Personally, I stopped biking in Boston 4 years ago because I got into too many near misses. I saw too many people get into too many accidents that were not their fault. In Boston, a bike accident that puts you in the hospital isn’t a matter of ‘if it will happen’ its a matter of ‘when it will happen.’ It’s just too nasty.

    • Coreen May

      Exactly. Well put. It needs to be said for outside-the-city driving and biking as well.
      Three abreast, garbed in fancy cycling gear, bikes speeding along on narrow suburban/country roads, are dangerous. Drivers, angry that they must slow down, are unable to see bikers coming around curves or need to stop for cyclists, are dangerous too. Awareness, safety, and consideration for each other are so important. Thank you Robin and Clint

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528330654 Joe Ranft

      I like how you say you’re not going to judge the dead cyclist, and then you proceed to do so. If this truck had hit a car, would anybody blame the car driver? No.

      • Doubting_Thomas12

        This is a horrible tragedy because this kid is dead, regardless of who was at fault.

        I do want you to consider something, however: if the truck was turning left, and wasn’t running a red light, then this means the kid was running a red light. It’s the same kind of tragedy as when a pedestrian is hit by a car when running across the street outside of a crosswalk. One feels pity and sadness at a pointless accident.

    • http://www.facebook.com/skrinyaz Robert Skrinyaz

      I just moved from Boston, and while I loved our city’s bike culture, the carelessness on the part of drivers and riders alike astounded me. Biking isn’t just walking with wheels– it allows an unprotected human body to hit up to around 20mph without magical brakes or on-a-dime handling capabilities: it requires some practice, and mindfulness to do safely and correctly. It is awful that these kids keep dying, but we have to remind ourselves that this is a major metropolitan area, and you can’t be careless without consequence. I had one accident as a bicyclist in Harvard Square– the choice between a flung open door, or getting hit by a passing car. I chose the door, but experience, education, preparation, and awareness allowed me to walk away from that.

    • Doubting_Thomas12

      This basically summed up everything I wanted to say about it… I used to bike, but switched to driving when I could afford it (saves me at least an hour each day).

      Maybe I didn’t have a normal experience, but I never felt fear when biking, especially because the parts of Boston I was in had bike lanes. Driving I’ve seen a vast majority of responsible cyclists, but a few suicidal ones who like to cut off cars and run red lights…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5013919 Robert Charles Riegel III

    I bike to work everyday and go out on the weekends. I’m NOT SAYING this was the case for this situation, but I see a lot riders not paying attention and NOT wearing a helmet. This morning I saw a biker with a helmet strapped to the back of his bike. I agree bike lanes should be separated more from traffic. I am slightly perplexed how this biker was hit and killed by a slow moving turning semi.

  • oldie

    From the pictures (http://bostonbiker.org/files/2012/12/A9b8FOBCAAAXw24.jpg-large-500×375.jpg, http://www.wbur.org/files/2012/12/IMG_0625-620×413.jpg), it appears that the truck was turning from the left-most lane and so would have crossed both the right vehicle lane and the bike lane. If this is the case, the cyclist may not have been aware the the truck was going to turn. Very sad.

    • biker

      As a fellow cyclist I think that it was the bikers prerogative to be aware that the truck was turning; there were obviously no cars in the right lane and trucks notoriously take wide right turns. As harsh as that is, like Clint said above we bikers are ultimately responsible for our own safety.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1586840974 Mary Mendoza

        1. You should never ever, ever pass a truck on the right.
        2. Many trucks carry signs on the right rear that state in plain English, CAUTION: Makes wide right turns. There is also usually included a drawing of the truck making a wide right turn and clipping a car that had pulled up on his right. The sign by the way, is usually yellow with black righting.
        3. Trucks need to do this because otherwise, they won’t be able to navigate the curb/building or . avoid hitting parked cars.
        4. I’ve stood on sidewalks and wound up moving to let a truck go by. He is biggger than me- what kind of fool am I to argue. In this case -size does make right, and even if it doesn’t what goes does it do to be right if you are no longer around.
        5. I’ve also been in cars and wound up backing up to give a large semi tractor trailor room to move. Again, the Tractor trailor is bigger than me. Who am I to argue,??? Most tractor trailer drivers are more than appreciative of you backing up to let them try to go around the curb and finish their delivery.
        6. In this case, it appears that the paranoia of “All the cars/ trucks are out to kill me would have been a good idea.
        7. So would riding his bike a little slower.
        8. Trucks are something you should always try to avoid, even in a car because they can do a tremendous amount of damage, even to a car, let alone a bicyclist.

        • http://twitter.com/SlowBarney Barney

          On point 1, in the case we don’t know if he cyclist was passing the truck or not. I’ve had vehicles pull alongside and turn many, many times.

          Even if he were travelling at, say 20 mph and the truck pulled alongside at 25 mph it’d have taken about 10 seconds for the truck to pass the bike. During this time the truck will have covered over 360 feet; that’s about half a block on those streets. It’s entirely possible that the cyclist here had no idea that the truck was gong to turn; it’s equally possible that the truck-driver had no idea that the cyclist was alongside him.

          Sadly very few motorists understand exactly how long it takes to pass a bike if the speed difference is small, and will take a turn thinking they’re clear when they’re often not.

          Ch82 S2.”Except as herein otherwise provided, the driver of a vehicle passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction shall drive a safe distance to the left of such other vehicle and shall not return to the right until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle;”

          Safely clear, imho, does not mean, a “little bit ahead of” or “alongside”.

    • local employee

      I’ve been working in the building on this corner for more than 12 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full-sized semi try to turn onto St. Paul Street from Comm Ave like that. I’m sure the cyclist had no idea it was going to turn.

    • Martian Minisculio

      The same thing happened to me in a car a couple of years ago–a big truck, with the usual arrogance of the Big, decided to make a left turn from the right lane with nary a glance in his rear-view mirror. I was in a tiny Prius in that left lane. Not only did the driver lose his temper big-time soon as he saw what he’d done to me, but he cooked up a story with a truck driver in the parking lot behind the building who hadn’t seen the accident, so by the time the police came he had a “witness” (so my insurance went way up, on top of the damage and injury). I don’t think bike-riders should take this on themselves. Sure it’s important to be vigilant, but as I know from many years as as bike commuter in the past, bikers actually ARE vigilant–much more so than any driver, and especially more vigilant than truck-drivers, who know that in any accident they’ll be the survivor by virtue of the size of their vehicles. Bike-riders are vulnerable, and can’t hurt truckers. Truck-drivers are invulnerable and tend to forget that they are driving lethal weapons. Not because they’re bad people (though some are!) but because the usual incitements to vigilance are lacking.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    the case with the previous cyclist who got killed last month simply went under the rug. so was there any investigation??? the person who struck this cyclist was an MBTA driver. what happened?

  • http://twitter.com/GAWDDAMN2012 javed shah

    I saw the lad as he lay dead covered with a white sheet, don’t know whose fault it was but just feel sad. RIP.

  • Passerby

    I was so sad to walk by this accident this morning. The story and the picture are both horrifying, but seeing this in person made it that much more realistic and shocking. As I walked past and looked at his body lying in the street, I had to hold myself back from bursting into tears at the thought that his family’s and friends’ lives have changed forever. And I had the same thought as I walked past the truck driver, who was standing on the sidewalk explaining his side of the story. This is truly a tragedy and it reminded me how precious all of our lives are. Yes, things need to change in Boston to make everyone safer. But right now please just take a moment to appreciate being alive.

  • Chris

    This whole situation frustrates me to no end. There just simply is no room on the road for bikers and cars. It is too dangerous for bikers to be travelling on the narrow Boston roadways with cars. Furthermore, I can’t believe how many times I witness careless cyclists, running red lights, weaving through traffic, disobeying the rules of the road. And then when an incident like this happens, everyone talks about forming committees and spending tax dollars on building new and expensive bike lanes. Bikes lanes probably work great in smaller communities, but in thriving metropolitan areas, it just doesn’t work well. To think that bikes and cars can harmoniously be together on the road is ridiculous and ignorant. It is such a shame that this happened.

    • Ribs0712

      I agree Chris there are a plenty of cyclists that behave as you say. There are as many if not more drivers that simply refuse to use their turn indicators, a simple device that would prevent probably 50% of all cycling accidents. There are also plenty of drivers that don’t understand the rule; right on red after a stop and if no traffic is coming. It doesn’t mean maybe I can squeeze in there if the oncoming car slams on their brakes. Cars and bicycles can easily live on the road together with a little courtesy from both.

      • Chris

        I agree that there are bad drivers too, but I don’t see drivers running red lights the way I see bicyclists running them. In a perfect world, we would have perfect drivers and perfect riders. But even in a perfect world, it still wouldn’t work on Boston’s streets. The streets are not wide enough to accommodate both cars and bikes. I think we would be fine, if there was enough room, but there isn’t. I don’t think it’s safe at all for bikers to ride out there. And bikers should know that they are playing with their lives when they ride on busy Boston streets.

        • Ribs07

          Again I respectfully disagree I’ve ridden for over 10 years in the city now. Yes I have had close calls but given the way I ride and pay attention I don’t believe I am taking my life into my hands every time ( I wouldn’t ride if I did). I agree cyclist run more lights, unfortunately you didn’t even address the turn indicator issue as most people don’t, drivers see them as completely unnecessary and I contend they are THE largest issue with cars and that most collisions between cars and bikes would be avoided if drivers would simply use them.

        • ednastvincent

          Boston drivers think the turn signal is an indication of weakness. They don’t use it because indicating what you plan to do allows other people to use it against you, like speeding up and passing you on the left or trying to dart in front of you, etc. But that is no excuse not to signal and the fact that no one signals in this city is completely and utterly ridiculous. We should raise the penalty for turning without a signal and enforce it.

  • BU Student

    Obviously it is an issue that needs to be taken care of by the city, as a Boston University student myself I can tell that this area is not safe for biking whatsoever. I also think it is somewhat f—– up that someone went to the roof above the bike shop to take this photo of a person covered who has just died. Show some god damn respect and put up another picture.

  • BU Alum

    I’ve walked through that intersection a zillion times, as I used to live down St. Paul. In order for a semi to make a right turn from Comm Ave onto St. Paul, you have to make a very slow and wide turn, likely causing any waiting cars in the opposite lane of St. Paul to have to back up. It’s a very narrow road (that shouldn’t allow truck access in the first place). That doesn’t prove the cyclist or driver was at fault, either one very easily could’ve been doing something illegal or otherwise hazardous. What’s actually more surprising is that it wasn’t the case of a car that whizzes down Comm Ave in the right lane and makes a quick right turn onto St. Paul without watching for pedestrians or cyclists, that’s what I saw most frequently going through there. That said, I can also echo the comments that I’ve also seen numerous cyclists who disobey red lights at this intersection, and others in the area, and yell or curse out anyone who tells them they were supposed to stop.

  • BU Student

    Bike lanes are not invisible, they pose all sorts or risks, including car doors, and turning vehicles, cyclists HAVE to be more aware. Prayers out to his family and friends.

  • Joeleven

    Clint makes an important point. When I ride my bike on the street I adopt what I call the Yossarian (Catch 22) viewpoint. That is, “They are all trying to kill me.” Its unfortunate, but only the suspicion that motorists are out to kill cyclists, and the resulting life and death attentiveness on the part of the cyclist, will keep you safe. Too many drive their cars with aggression and inattentiveness. We have lost a grip on the reality based fact that motor vehicles are weapons, if not properly operated. Driving is no place to act on your feelings of inadequacy.

    That said I am often touched by the courtesy of motorists who are mindful and accepting of bicycles. I always try to acknowledge their graciousness with a friendly smile and wave. But having been intentionally rammed by an impatient motorist who was frustrated that I was taking up the lane they wanted to occupy, and hit by another motorist who made a right turn without looking for me in the bike lane, I will continue to harbor suspicions that all motorists have the intention of killing me.

    A huge contributing problem is that most police do not take bike accidents seriously. They tend to side with the motorist and see bicycles as a nuisance. When I was hit in the right turn accident, the officers on the scene refused to file a police report as they would with a car accident. When I complained, their supervisors would not even return my call. This was in Cambridge, no less.

    • http://www.facebook.com/clint.cavanaugh Clint Cavanaugh

      I agree, Joe, that a friendly smile and a thank you to a considerate motorist is important. It’s not only polite , but it also makes them just a little more aware and sympathetic to ALL bikers. Ride on!

  • Matthew Clarke

    Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure. If, as so many people seem to be saying, we (drivers and cyclists) can’t protect ourselves from our own stupidity, we need the infrastructure that will minimize our stupidity’s effects. CYCLOTRACKS NOW!

  • BrightonSean

    I feel total grief for the family.

    As a commuter, weekend cyclist and racer I know first hand how dangerous cycling can be on quiet roads. Never mind riding down the minefield that is Comm.Ave and Boston as a whole.

    This year, more than any that I can remember has been filled with cycling tragedy. There are some days I simply ride the indoor trainer when faced with the idea of gearing up and venturing outside.

    The real possibility of never returning home to my wife and son has that effect.

    Be safe out there people

  • Willis Montgomery III

    This is very sad. However, please keep in mind that the odds of being
    killed while cycling in the USA are 1 in 348,347. The odds of dying in a
    car crash are 1 in 19,216 . The roads are generally safe in Boston for
    cyclists and are improving all the time. As our living standards
    continue to fall, we’ll need bicycles to keep moving and to make ends
    meet. The benefit is that those who are more active live better, longer
    and are generally more healthy AND have better health outcomes than the
    majority of sedentary Americans. Like it or not, cars and bikes will be
    sharing the road, and keep in mind, cyclists, by law, may use the full
    lane when they need to, bike lane or not. This accident is a tragedy,
    but don’t let fear run your life, drive safe and bike safe out there.
    Keep pressuring your town officials to implement more traffic calming
    measures and urban planning that increases safety for all road users.

    • khalil

      Beware of statistics. The 1 in 348k vs 1 in 19k odds may sound lopsided, but far more people drive than bike. The mode share of transportation in the U.S. (from The Alliance for Bicycling and Walking benchmarking report) is about 86% for cars and trucks and 3.4% for bicyclists. The odds of dying in a bike crash compared to a car crash are similar in magnitude to the mode split.

      In terms of deaths per exposure hours, driving and bicycling are pretty similar. I doubt most bicyclists calculate their choice of whether to ride based on such numbers, but maybe I’m wrong. I ride because its fun.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    if you think there is common courtesy between cyclists and driver… you got to be kidding. maybe more than 10 years ago.. when boston mainly have local/native bostonian drivers. but this city has attracted many, many out of state residence from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and New Hamsphire. Many of these out of state drivers drive well over the speed limit of 30 mph in the boston, constantly changing lanes. you think they will have common courtesy? not a chance.

  • Eric Griffith

    Someone should take the police reports of these five fatal collisions this year and create a youtube video reconstructing the circumstances and then add captions instructing cyclists on what they can do to avoid similar collisions. A similar video could be made for car drivers.

  • khalil

    Should the city allow eighteen wheelers to turn at this intersection if it means turning right from the left lane? Aside from that, a cyclist should be going into an intersection with some due caution for reasons such as this one–unexpected things happen, such as a tractor-trailer making a wide turn (which is not all that unusual, actually).

    Dan the engineer mentions contraflow separated cycletracks. There was a cyclist killed in a separated cycletrack in Montreal when he too was hit by a turning truck. I don’t think one can count on either infrastructure alone or cyclist saavy alone to make cycling safer. One needs both well designed streets and street smart (a little plug for John Allen) riders. Sending cyclists out on bike lanes in a city like Boston without a good cyclist education program is like putting an untrained pilot into a fighter aircraft and expecting good results.

  • ChevSm

    Clint and Joeleven hit the nail on the head. It’s about awareness and respect.

    Everyday for the past 6 years I’ve commuted to work in Boston by bike and sadly I am amazed this doesn’t happen more often. I, like joeleven, follow the “they’re going to kill me” mindset. I ride overly cautious and try to make myself known on the road. I also try to show the utmost respect for all others on the road by following the rules of the road and giving a nod or a wave when a car lets me pass.

    I am consistently amazed at the complete lack of awareness and respect from both cyclist and motorist (cars, trucks, vespas, etc.). Cyclist need to realize how extremely vulnerable they truly are. As Clint said, you have the most to lose in a collision!

    At the same time drivers need to be aware that they are not the only ones on the road. They need know that they are driving a 2 ton vehicle that can kill someone, including you, in an instant.

    More respect and awareness from both sides is needed to prevent these tragedies.

  • Maggie

    Until Boston becomes a safer place to commute this will continue happening. This can only improve when the city takes greater initiative to police bad drivers, fix outdated road systems, outlaw cellphone use in cars, and riding bicycles without helmets. My thoughts are with the victim’s family.

  • richardw

    Drove out of this junction a few weeks ago when the light turned green but had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting a cyclist zooming downhill on Commonwealth through the red light. Seemed like an inexperienced student new to Boston. Can BU police monitor these junctions? Commonwealth on this stretch is very dangerous. I’ve cycled for 45 years throughout the world, but on this stretch of Commonwealth I stay on the sidewalk like a young kid.

  • http://twitter.com/paulzink Paul Zink

    Yes, I have seen motorists oblivious of bicycles — but I am now listening on air to a woman saying she wants traffic regulations to be enforced: meaning, to cite drivers. Yet I have seen bicyclists routinely commit moving violations that, if a motorist did them, would land him or her in prison instantly: driving (oops, sorry — riding —) on sidewalks; running stops signs and red lights; wrong way on a one-way street; turning with signaling; cutting off cars and/or pedestrians; failing to yield to pedestrians, etc. etc. What about enforcing traffic regulations for those violations? The fact is, I have never in my life seen a bicyclist pulled over by police for a moving violation.…

    I wonder how many bicyclists even know that they are subject to the same traffic laws as motorists? And, if they want to be taken seriously as entitled users of the roadways, would accept the need for licensing or registration, the same as motorcycles and cars? Let’s level the playing field regarding licensing and traffic enforcement; then perhaps we can approach the level of car-bicyle coexistence that is commonplace in Europe.

    • Rob

      Cops frequently ticket cyclists along Comm Ave. I agree that cyclists should be held to the same standards as motor vehicles. That said, as a cyclist that always obeys the law, I am much more concerned with people that veer into bike lines, double park in bike lines and swing their driver-side door into bike lanes.

    • ednastvincent

      This comment is general and has *nothing* to do with this particular cyclist. When I first moved to Boston from Seattle, I was shocked at the behavior of both cars and cyclists here. The number of cyclists who ignore traffic rules while wearing black clothing at night, without lights, no helmet, etc. is simply astounding to me. I honestly wanted to buy 100 bike helmets and throw them at bikers from my car, which of course would be extremely dangerous. No one rides like this in Seattle. No one. If you ride without a helmet or lights, every biker on the road will criticize you. They will stop and talk to you. They will yell at you. They will tell you to get off the road. That is the biking culture, not this “make your path” BULLSHIT.

      The drivers here are basically hopeless — I have no hope of reforming them — but given that bikers are the vulnerable ones, every person with a bike in this city should be on the front lines of enforcing bike safety. I have tried to talk (nicely) to bikers from my car and they tell me to fuck off. The only reason Boston doesn’t have an insane number of deaths is due to the fact that no one in Boston can drive more than 10 miles an hour most of the time.

      Regardless of bad behavior all around, Boston has a huge number of both cars and bicyclists and it has very narrow streets. None of that is going to change. Since both cars and bikes are important methods of commute, Boston needs to invest in changes to infrastructure that will make it easier for people to follow the rules and enforcement that will make it more expensive for people to break them. I am so, so sorry for this tragedy but I am also so, so frustrated with the interaction between cars and bikes in this city.

  • Anne

    I am so sorry about Christopher Weigl. My sympathies to his family and friends.
    I rode a bike in Boston and Cambridge for 15 years before I got a car. Today I’m a careful driver, and I think a lot of that is attributable to those 15 years of watching the way people drive, routinely disregarding the rules of the road and often heedless of cyclists and pedestrians.
    Again, my condolences to the family and friends of Christopher Weigl.

  • Gabriel

    I was hit 3 weeks ago at this very same intersection under similar circumstances, except the right turning vehicle that struck me was a smaller SUV rather than a tractor trailer.

    At the last moment I noticed in my peripheral vision the driver’s head wagging around like he was lost, noted him as dangerous, then he immediately right turned in front of me sans signal, like a squirrel darting out into traffic. I had a split second to put out my left leg against his front quarter panel, then loosened my body up and prepared to roll onto the ground as I flew over my handle bars. I was sore for a few days, but nothing serious beyond the emotional impact of the unnerving feeling when I replayed in my head various outcomes of what could have been much worse.

    This incredibly sad and tragic event that occurred today tears at my heart, and from what it sounds like, a tragedy for a gifted and promising young photojournalism student and his friends and family.

    The main for me is as a daily bike commuter is to bike as others here have noted, as if every driver is trying to kill me. Like it’s Grand Theft Auto: Boston, and I’m the target :(

  • tw

    I would like to add the issue of speed into the conversation, along the lines of what Clint and others have been saying about bicyclists taking responsibility for riding attentively, as they are party with the most to lose in an accident even if the driver is “at fault.” Riding a bicycle on Boston streets is a much safer activity when done at lower speeds. It drastically reduces the chances of accidents like this happening, gives more time to react to car doors opening, makes it easier to stay in control after riding over something unexpected on the road… and the list goes on. Just because a bicycle is geared for high speeds does not mean that it is a good idea to ride at those speeds through busy city streets. I know from personal experience that slowing down just a bit, turning a fifteen minute Harvard to MIT commute, for instance, into a twenty minute one, makes a huge difference for how well I am able to react to potential accidents. We are not riding an Olympic time trial–a slower bicycle ride is still much faster than public transit.

    • ChevSm

      Amen to this.

      I found that if I slow down just a little bit I have a much safer commute.

      What helps me to keep a steady speed is that I commute on a single speed bike (not fixed – I ditched the fixed gear b/c I realized I was riding too aggressively) geared not too high.

  • Tom B

    This intersection is notoriously bad. Cyclists get racked up nearly weekly by right hooks by cars turning onto St. Paul. The bikes are coming down the hill undrtaking stopped or slowed traffic. With a green light they assume they can go, when one of the cars in the line turns right, not expecting a cyclist over taking them. By removing about 5 parking spaces, and widening the road by 4 or 5 feet, they could add a right turn only lane. Moving the bike lane out and to the left of right turning traffic. A turn arrow would also prevent the pedestrian injures that occur there as well, caused by the conflict of a green light and the walk signal. This was an extreme case with the semi coming from the left lane, but most of the accidents there are caused by cars and as far as I know have not been fatal. But I have seen many a cyclist and pedestrian carried away in an ambulance at that corner.

    It could and should be made safer.

  • luandamagere

    I never heard of cyclists mauled when running red lights. I am a cyclist, I do go through red light at times, SAFELY. No idiot just wades through without looking and looking again. Just like no pedestrian jaywalk but you never heard someone knocked on lights. They look. Motorists have the onus to be more vigilant. Two rules i would sugggest happen 1. DMV have everyone ride on the rode as part of the driving test. That way they will be more intimate with the challenges faced by cyclists 2. drivers should open their doors using the LEFT hand.

    • ednastvincent

      The only reason for a cyclist to go through a red light is (as above) when that action is the safest option available. Any other reason is BS and you are completely in the wrong. If you run lights because you can or because stopping is inconvenient for you, stop doing it. By riding on the road, you agree to follow the same rules as cars. If you don’t want to do that, go to the gym, ride on the sidewalk or use a bike path. I’m sorry – it’s not acceptable. You are part of the problem.

      • luandamagere

        The road infrastructure has been built with only two users in mind; pedestrians and motorists. What we need is a total overhaul so as to accomodate bi-pedalists. It is silly to go to the jungle and ask all animals to climb a tree. Of course the monkeys will win. Motorists have a lot of safety features and comfort in their cars. We are using the same ‘road’ but we are not the same. Anybody who keeps saying follow the same rules is shallow. My take

        • ednastvincent

          I don’t disagree — but — as long as the current environment stands, you need to either follow the rules or ride somewhere else.

          I drive a vehicle every day that can kill you. As a driver, I expect you to stop at red lights and to stay in your lane unless you signal that you are doing something else. I expect you to be visible and to help me in my attempts to notice you. If you fail to do those things, I might kill you and that would really, really suck.

          It doesn’t matter whether the environment is “fair”. If you don’t like the rule of this jungle, take it with the democratic process. Take it to the Lords of the Jungle who passed the tree-climbing rule. Until the environment changes, your choice is to use the road and follow its rules or not use the road at all. That’s it. I’m sorry.

          How exactly does risking your life by flying in front of my car help change the rules? How is that a bold philosophical or political statement? It’s arrogant and stupid. That’s it. Natural selection is a cruel mistress. You can take your arguments up with St. Peter.

          FOLLOW THE RULES SO I DON’T ACCIDENTALLY KILL YOU. That’s not shallow. That’s me valuing your life.

          • luandamagere

            exactly my point. Drivers like you have this BIG bad boy mentality and feel they have to bully everyone to make a point. It is therefore futile to hold a discussion where vast majority do not CARE about cyclists. and that is why i say, the only argument that will be noticed is “follow the same rules”. Shallow. Which cyclist would be idiotic to fly in front of a car? Night riding is scary by itself and anyone who does it routinely WILL have lights. Which cyclist turns without signalling??? This generalisation is not helping because as far as i know cyclists are the most vigilant on roads as regards scanning their environment. We just do not have safety features like emergency breaks or rear view mirrors so at times you might find us slow to respond. It does matter whether the environment is fair. We cannot fight for more lanes because this will never stop motorists from killing us. What we need is infrastructure modelled to cycling needs. Any other oargument is band-aid

  • X-Ray

    On a recent trip to Boston, I saw a bunch of bike lanes. But what are the
    rules for them? Obviously, a motorist cannot avoid traveling across them as when
    making turns. And what is the responsibility of bikers in using them? Are they
    not constrained by the traffic regulations such as obeying signals, staying in
    lanes, or not traveling in a lane already occupied by another vehicle?

  • Baltimore

    Please tell me he wasn’t riding fixed gear no brakes. I’ve been hit from behind by MTA Baltimore, and that was driver error. But if you broadside a tractor trailor with no brakes on your bike, that to me isn’t a call for more bike lanes. You can’t protect people from life happening. I’m an avid city cyclist, I, like any car driver am responsible for maintaining my spacial awareness and and safety. This is a tragedy, plan and simple. Leave the kid and his family alone. Dont martyr him in the name of bike safety. Assholes.

  • Baltimore MD

    I ride fixed gear, no brakes. Can’t stop, don’t want to.

    • ednastvincent

      It’s nice that you are so committed to organ donation. Why don’t you buy a ranch and ride there. Buy your own city and ban cars. Just don’t ride on the same streets with the cars. Bikes without brakes have no place on the street. Sorry.

  • lucy wightman

    Right now it’s about his mother, his father and his family and friends. But mostly about his parents who, because of the media machine’s complete disregard, will likely pour over the photograph of the crumpled, mound of sheet and examine every pixel of pain. I know. I did this with my daughter’s white sheet.

  • sjw81

    if a politicians kids gets killed riding his bike then we will finally see some changes and safer cities . iike they have in europe to bike

  • BG

    Boston is a scary city to ride a bike The bike lanes are asyou dangerous as roads w people opening their doors into you. My recommendations is take back roads whenever possible. BG

  • Number Ten

    Zingbaby, whoever or whatever you are, you are now re-christened as “Dingbat.” So, Dingbat, lay off with the acerbic comments about cyclists and remove yourself from this thread if you are inclined to show any respect to the family and friends of Christopher Weigl.

    Now, Dingbat, I’m going to tell you a couple of things. My brothers and sisters on wheels are strong, brave, and tough as nails. We are free people. We prefer the elements to the comforts of your cages. We ride our steeds as we see fit, sometimes beyond the boundaries set for us by others. Sometimes we ride for practical reasons, sometimes for the pure joy of it. Sometimes we suffer, but we feel good when we arrive. We have honest thirst and hunger. We know weariness. We are true men and women.

    We tolerate poop-throwing monkeys like you, Dingbat, because you are unenlightened. We know your kind. You simmer in your own toxic stew of anger and frustration while “parked” at red lights. You envy our mobility but are too dim to free yourself from your own cage. We can’t help you with that Dingbat. Self knowledge is the first step to freedom.

    The fact is, Dingbat, we are superior to you. You and your cage are only a minor annoyance to us. We, on the other hand, are the focus of your misplaced self loathing. You are a sorry Gollum. Cogitate on this. And shut up. We want no more of your comments.

    I am deeply sorry for the loss of Christopher Weigl. I did not know him, but my heart goes out to his family and friends.

  • Ding

    It’s simple as this (for this accident):
    It was his fault! Period! He was going too fast – downhill, and were not paying attention on his left. We aren’t talking about a mini cooper here. A 18 wheeler, how can you not see the truck?! Hello? I am hardcore cyclists. I commute to work, and race in the national level. I know how is it on the road. Sorry for the lost. His parents need to understand this: It was their son’s fault.

  • Opus the Poet

    OK hindsight and looking at the pictures, this was the driver’s fault. Notice that the turn started from the far inside lane crossing not one but 2 active lanes of traffic (one bike lane and one general lane). This would require supernatural levels of awareness on the part of the cyclist (because who expects someone to make a right turn from the far inside lane across your right of way?) to avoid but could have been avoided by the driver with a simple spotter watching for traffic before directing the driver to turn. Or perhaps they could have chosen a vehicle that did not require 3 lanes to make a right turn in an urban environment to make whatever delivery required? Sizing the vehicle for the delivery should be a requirement by law. This isn’t rocket surgery here, just common sense (which ironically isn’t all that common). You don’t put a vehicle designed for over the road long hauls in a tight urban space.

    • X-Ray

      One can’t turn a tractor-trailer rig on the same radius as a car. Hence the wide turn. From the photo it appears that the t-t unit had already made the turn when the biker crashed into it. His fault, just saying.

      • http://opusthepoet.wordpress.com/ Opus the Poet

        OK change the vehicles involved from a semi and a bicycle to a semi and a car full of nuns and orphans. Car in the outside lane and the semi making the right turn from the inside lane for whatever reason, and the semi gets hit by the car full of nuns and orphans and kills every one of them, say 2 nuns and 3 orphans. Now whose fault is it? It would be the fault fo the semi for violating the right of way of the car, right? Same thing for the semi/bicycle wreck, the bicycle had right of way over the semi and the semi driver violated the cyclist’s right of way, semi driver’s fault.

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