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Student Cyclist Struck by Car

Hospitalized with head injury after Comm Ave accident

Scene of bike and car accident on Comm Ave

A cyclist's head shattered the windshield of the BMW that struck her on Comm Ave at Buick Street Wednesday. Photo by BUPD Sgt. Patrick Nuzzi

An 18-year-old BU student was rushed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with a head injury early Wednesday evening after being struck by a car while riding her bike on Comm Ave at Buick Street.

Witnesses said the victim was in the bike lane when she was hit; she was thrown onto the hood of the car, and her head smashed the windshield.

Police declined to identify the victim.

The driver of the car, a 21-year-old BU student who has lived in the Boston area for four years, was issued a criminal citation for failing to report his address change to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and failing to obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license. The state Department of Transportation requires that drivers whose primary residence is in Massachusetts obtain a license within 30 days of becoming a resident.

According to a report filed by Boston police, the victim was heading west on Comm Ave at about 6 p.m. when she was hit by a 2011 BMW crossing the road from Buick Street.

Eddy Chrispin, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Department, says the impact shattered the car’s windshield. He says the cyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, was taken by ambulance to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she is undergoing treatment for a head injury that police say is not life-threatening.

Officers from the Boston Police Department, the BU Police Department, and the Boston Fire Department responded to the call for help. “The woman was conscious and somewhat alert,” says Sgt. Patrick Nuzzi of the BUPD. Nuzzi was flagged down by a BU bus driver who saw the accident. Nuzzi found the victim seated at the curb, talking to a person who identified himself as a doctor. The damaged car was up on the curb, Nuzzi says, and the driver was so emotionally distraught that Boston police had someone drive him home.

Nuzzi says he’s alarmed by the number of cyclists who don’t wear helmets. “I can’t tell you how many people I ask every day, why aren’t you wearing a helmet?” he says. He stresses that cyclists and motorists must learn to share the road. “Drivers aren’t checking their mirrors, and bikes run red lights,” he says. “There’s a lot of ignorance on both sides.”

The intersection at Buick Street and Comm Ave, between Student Health Services and FitRec, is one of several on the Charles River Campus where the road bears a painted “Look Left for Bikes” sign, part of an effort to make drivers and pedestrians aware of the increasing number of cyclists. According to a 2010 study conducted by the University, the number of cyclists on the Charles River Campus increased 64 percent in the previous three years. The Boston Police Department reported 340 bicycle accidents citywide in 2010, including 6 fatalities. The same year, cyclists reported 118 accidents at Comm Ave and the BU Bridge, according to Boston Bikes, a program administered by the mayor’s office. Comm Ave was listed as the most dangerous road in Boston for cyclists in the Boston Bikes annual accident survey for 2009.

125 Comments
Susan Seligson

Susan Seligson can be reached at sueselig@bu.edu.

125 Comments on Student Cyclist Struck by Car

  • Jesse Kula on 10.14.2011 at 7:00 am

    Are they serious? It’s a CRIMINAL citation for not having a MA driver’s license? What my state’s not valid? That’s CRIMINAL that they want to extort you for the 100 dollars or whatever they charge you for issuing a MA drivers license

    • Roger Kinkaid on 10.14.2011 at 8:22 am

      The reason is that driving laws vary from state to state and Massachusetts is an exceptionally difficult driving environment. It’s a criminal citation in all states. It’s just about as good as driving without a license.

    • Carolyn on 10.14.2011 at 8:34 am

      Jesse, it is a criminal citation for having an out-of-state license if your primary residence is in Massachusetts. Your license should be issued from whatever state it is that you primarily live in, same as registering your car.

    • Sue on 10.14.2011 at 9:21 am

      The young man has been here for 4 years, so I believe that makes him a resident. If you have a MA driver’s license, then your car would need to be registered in MA. That means you would pay MA insurance rates and MA excise tax. Many people in the past avoided that by either registering their cars in other states — NH is popular — or students not changing theirs from their home state. The legislature finally did something about it and toughened the law for the taxes MA was not getting because of this.

    • Joe on 10.14.2011 at 9:54 am

      Right, it’s criminal to make sure everybody’s driving skills are on par with the environment they are driving in.

  • Z on 10.14.2011 at 7:15 am

    They should make cyclists pay TAXES in order to be sharing the same roads made for CARS!! The same way motorists in the Commonwealth are obligated to pay, so should cyclists, if they are going to impregnate the street with people who ride bikes and disregard their own personal safety by not wearing helmets. (A motorist would be issued a citation for not wearing a “safety” belt) I can’t tell you how many times I have seen cyclists run red lights, ignore the fact that cars have the right of way when their light in GREEN and that they should NOT run red lights period, not to mention veer in and out of traffic outside of their designated bike lanes. This story seems one sided and suspicious. As in, if the driver of this BMW was crossing that intersection of BUICK STREET and COMM AVE., did they have the right of way? Was that light green for him? If so, did the “victim” heading west on Comm. Ave on her designated lane NOT stop on red? Regardless of traveling in the bike lane. Simply traveling in the bike lane does not make her “innocent” despite the obvious tragedy of being struct.

    Sgt. Nuzzi is a great officer and his statements were very politically correct and on point, as far as there being caution on both sides, however, for all the cyclists out there, do your part and hopefully motorists will do theirs. Simply put obey the law and DON’T RUN RED LIGHTS!

    Same goes for pedestrians that keep on crossing the roads on green when cards are incoming at their normal velocity, cars are NOT going to yield for you if they have the right of way. PAY ATTENTION!! Don’t be st*p*d, use common sense!

    • David Huntsman on 10.14.2011 at 7:58 am

      In case anyone is wondering, “Z” has no idea what he is talking about on multiple levels. The first two sentences of his comment, and the parenthetical, reveal a complete lack of understanding of the issues. Roads are public rights-of-way, for people (not for cars), improvements upon which are paid for by general funds (largely raised by local sales taxes – not license plate fees!). And helmets are not to cycling what seatbelts are to motoring. Bizarre little rant.

      • Right of way? on 10.14.2011 at 8:33 am

        Why are helmets not to cycling what seat belts are to motoring? That seems like a valid comparison.

        • ts on 10.14.2011 at 9:43 am

          The comparison is invalid because it is illegal to ride in a car without a seat belt, but it is NOT illegal to ride a bike without a helmet (just dangerous).

          • Srice on 10.14.2011 at 10:51 am

            I think the point we are making is that- if insurance companies are going to make seatbelts a state law (they were the ones lobbying to get that passed)… Then hey should do the same for helmets. Not wearing a helmet in an accident works only to further injury the cyclist- and the hospital will (or wrongful death lawsuit) will be much more expensive for the insurance company to cover. Helmets SHOULD be the law (thy are for motorcycles) Or seatbelts shouldn’t.

      • Srice on 10.14.2011 at 9:17 am

        I won’t defend Z in that rant- but have to say that motor vehicle excise taxes do also go to the upkeep of city streets. I own a car- two bikes (one for commuting and one for cycling) and a motorcycle. Riding my bicycle may not be making the city any money- but it’s helping the earth and my health insurance company live longer.

        • AAAZ on 10.17.2011 at 10:52 am

          I will agree with Z on one point. Many cyclists completely disregard basic safety laws. It IS illegal to run a red light whether you are on a bike or in a car. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have had the walk signal and still almost been hit by a biker who does not stop at a red light. If they were to hit me, it would absolutely be their fault! And as for not wearing a helmet, bikers are being irresponsible in their choices not to wear helmets. It is tragic that this student was hit by a car, but before getting on her bike she should have taken the necessary precaution of wearing a helmet. There really is no excuse for that. Most intersections on Comm. Ave. have a no right turn on red sign, so assuming that was the case and the driver had a green light to make his turn, the biker was running a red light and it is therefore HER fault. Again, I don’t mean to be insensitive as this is an all around tragic situation, but all cyclists and motorists should take away an important lesson from this.

    • w on 10.14.2011 at 8:08 am

      Cyclists do pay taxes – why wouldn’t they?

      Agreed – not wearing a cycling helmet is simply foolish – nothing more… nothing less!

      Further agreed – cyclists SHOULD be issues citations for running red lights, as well as violating any/all other traffic infractions. You are spot on – a cycling lane does not make a cyclist innocent and.or any safer.

      Further agreed – The number of pedestrians walking against the “walk” or “don’t walk” signals is remarkable and often with the attitude that ‘I am walking > I am a pedestrian – therefore, you will not hit me!’ Many of these folks are walking with a cell phone in one hand and an iPod in the other – oblivious to what is going on around them.

      Acess, as a student to BU requires brillant academic qualifications… Admission does not require common sense :-)

    • Mike on 10.14.2011 at 8:09 am

      Nice rant, Z.

      I’m a cyclist. I pay taxes – lots of them – including excise taxes, fuel taxes, registry fees and various other sums on the three (!) cars in my family. The tired trope about cyclists not paying taxes for “their share of the road” is ridiculous.

      You comment “do your part and hopefully motorists will do theirs” definitely reflects the sad, self-absorbed, car-centric view of most motorists. I’ve been hit by cars four times in my 25 years of riding, none of which involved a red light. Each time it was a careless driver who wasn’t paying attention to the road, or who misjudged the speed of the bike. Yes, there are some careless cyclists out there, and not wearing a helmet is asking for trouble, but drivers need to understand that cyclists have as much right to the road as they do.

      • Mike on 10.14.2011 at 1:56 pm

        Well said. It is also the case that bicycles cause almost no ware and tare to roadways unlike cars and trucks.

        • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:14 am

          no wear or tear is true… but painting the bike paths and keeping that up does add up quickly. don’t get me wrong… I am a cyclist and pay a LOT of taxes on my car and motorcycle… but most cyclist at BU are students who don’t also have a car… and did not get a MA license… so they barely pay any taxes, and definitely not any that go towards the upkeep of our roads. we will NEVER find a way to collect appropriate taxes for student cyclists… I am comfortable with that, since they (and people like you and I) are helping us ALL out by not further destroying the planet.

    • htsbks on 10.14.2011 at 8:12 am

      Bravo Z! Well said and I couldn’t agree more. Why wasn’t the irresponsible cyclist cited.

      • mootrack on 10.14.2011 at 10:33 am

        Cited for what? Riding a bike in the bike lane?

        • Eggroll5215 on 10.14.2011 at 12:31 pm

          Sounds like the cyclist ran a red light, which I see far too often, so that’s what she should be cited for!

          • Daniel Kamalic on 10.14.2011 at 12:44 pm

            You don’t know this, so don’t assume to know who ran a red light, if anyone! The police are still doing a criminal investigation, so they won’t release all the information for a while!

            The only person who we know definitely broke the law is the driver — who was driving without a valid license! That’s why he was already cited!

    • Em on 10.14.2011 at 8:21 am

      Cars having the right of way doesn’t mean they should hit cyclists or pedestrians.

      Bikes can legally take an entire lane, they do not have to stay in the bike lane. This article states that the biker was in a bike lane.

      If a cyclist chooses not to wear a helmet, that’s their dumb decision.

      Yes, bikers and pedestrians should obey rules, as should cars. Cars break more rules than anyone else, and they should be more careful since they are operating the most dangerous vehicle on the road. They run red lights

    • DB on 10.14.2011 at 9:35 am

      Hey Z, why don’t you grow up? Or at the very least, get a clue.

      The taxes motorists pay – in the form of excise taxes – are based on the cost of maintaining the road. Cars damage the road, bikes do not. So you can’t tax them at the same rate. My excise tax last year for my car was about $70. If we were to use that as a starting point and come up with a reasonable rate for cyclists that takes into account the fact that bikes don’t tear up the road, I estimate we’d be taxing bikes at the rate of about 50 cents a year. You’d LOSE money on the administrative costs of collecting that. You’re also blathering about how bikes should “not veer outside of their designated bike lanes,” but I don’t know where you got the idea that bikes are supposed to stay confined to that little strip of paint along the curb…which, by the way, motorists frequently park in and block. Have YOU ever parked in the bike lane? Yeah…that’s what I thought. Bikes can use the entire road just like cars. Yeah, stupid…THAT’S THE LAW. And even if it weren’t, since you want to treat bikes like cars and tax them, wouldn’t that mean that they should get to use the entire road just like cars? You can’t have it both ways.

      You seem to be of the mindset that cyclists must obey every single traffic law. MOTORISTS don’t even obey every traffic law. They speed, they “block the box,” they run red lights, they park illegally (including in bike lanes), they make illegal u-turns…and yet you’re obsessed with enforcement for BIKES? No cyclist ever killed a bystander. Motorists do that all the time.

      This whole incident was probably nothing more than an accident. Here’s my guess of how it happened: the motorist was probably making a right turn on red (which is legal). In order to see around the line of parked cars along the curb, the motorist had to pull out slowly and by the time they could see around the corner (and see the cyclist who had the right of way), the front end of the car was already obstructing the bike lane and it was too late to get out of the way. If this (likely) scenario is correct, then it wasn’t really anybody’s fault.

      • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:20 am

        i saw the crash scene… the car was up… on the side walk… as if they were headed towards the city, taking a left turn across comm ave ONto Buick street. It was a really strange sight, and I still can’t figure out how the accident happened. but what i do know that it was an accident. I saw the driver, and he looked horribly shaken up. i have nearly been hit by cars numerous times. it is not always the car’s fault OR the cyclist’s fault. comm ave is a melee of chaos at best, and the bike lane gives cyclists a false sense of security and pins you into the worst possible section of the road. can’t wait for Hover crafts… now THAT will be fun.

    • Sue on 10.14.2011 at 9:37 am

      Z, I can certainly understand your rant; I’ve had one or two myself after a biker has done something stupid. Due to health issues, I can’t bike so I have to drive. Numerous times I’ve had bikes pull out in front of me, and I’ve almost been hit by a car in the right lane as they give more room to the bikes in the bike lane. My fav is when a car is avoiding someone training for the Tour de France, who is passing the slower bikes. The bike suddenly pulls out into the traffic lane, the car automatically moves over to avoid him, and I try to avoid the curb on my left. Fun times. We all simply need to follow the rules, signal, and use common sense.

    • Ben on 10.14.2011 at 9:37 am

      Pray tell, Z, how do cyclists “impregnate” the streets?

      • Andy on 10.14.2011 at 11:59 am

        Hmmm. Z may be onto something. If there were more impregnated streets, maybe it would be a first step toward a self sustaining infrastructure.

    • cool starry bra on 10.14.2011 at 9:55 am

      Roads made for cars, you say?
      You’ve got your history wrong there kiddo. (source for the ignorant http://knowledgeproblem.com/2009/05/19/the-bicycle-paved-the-road-for-automobiles/ )

      While true that it is unsafe and irresponsible for the cyclist to run reds and not wear helmet, it doesn’t stop the fact that cars can cause massive damage to the cyclists that they hit, and therefore drivers need to be extra careful. Getting a green light doesn’t mean it is safe to just peel out without looking.

      PS I pay taxes too, from both of my jobs.

    • Matt on 10.14.2011 at 10:31 am

      This is a completely moronic comment, Z.

  • barbara brown on 10.14.2011 at 7:32 am

    Please tell us why there was no citation for hitting the bicyclie/bicyclist?

    • Julia on 10.14.2011 at 9:39 am

      Yes. I would like some more information on this issue as well.

    • Sue on 10.14.2011 at 9:43 am

      Likely because the police haven’t completed their investigation. If the driver was lucky, he might simply receive a citation. He’s probably facing more serious charges than a citation.

  • Srice on 10.14.2011 at 7:42 am

    The quote from the officer seems to make it seem like the cyclist ran a red light. Is this the case? If it is not the case- that particular quote really skews the article.

  • Srice on 10.14.2011 at 7:55 am

    Re: criminal citation for not having a mass license. Sorry: but if you predominantly use our roads… Youshould pay our licencing fees and have Massachusetts insurance. Since 1) mass requires some minimum insurances that otherstates do not and 2). You are usig our roads.. You need to help pay for the infrastructure.

    As for cyclists being taxed for roads… The law abiding ones do. Those that actually claim MA income tax. See above issue regarding drivers. In all seriousness though- if there are bike ONLY lanes- there should be a bike ONLY tax… Good luck regulating that. that would be a futile waste of manpower money.
    What IS doable, would be to actually ticket the bikes that go the wrong way down one way streets and run red lights. Now THAT would make the city some money to cover what little investment they have put into the bike lanes.
    Also- we’ve got a seatbelt law… Let’s pass a helmet law. I don’t CARE if you think it infringes on our rights… If my car insurance has to pay if I hit you on your bike… You BETTER be wearing a helmet.

    I’m both a driver and a cyclist. (depending on the weather- and I’m not just saying that… I really am am avid cyclist) it is obvious that BOTH sides need to open their eyes and learn the new rules of the road.

  • Ra on 10.14.2011 at 8:00 am

    The “Look Left for Bikes” signs pained on the ground are for pedestrians, not drivers. Drivers cannot see those signs in their car. Those signs are so pedestrians don’t get annihilated while crossing at a crosswalk when bikers blow through red lights (which they very often do).

    • Daniel Kamalic on 10.14.2011 at 12:18 pm

      The signs are ALSO there so BICYCLISTS don’t get annihilated when pedestrians walk into the road without looking like lemmings.

      Of the 8 (yes, only 8!) bicycle-on-pedestrian accidents that occurred in Boston last year, SIX OF THEM resulted in the BICYCLIST getting injured and NOT the pedestrian!

      • Ole on 10.14.2011 at 1:36 pm

        first off – pedestrians are obviously less likely to get seriously hurt than cyclists in bicycle-on-pedestrian accidents. That says nothing about who is more likely at fault.
        Second – you’re responding to someone who is talking about cyclists blowing through red lights at a crosswalk – in which case it is ALWAYS the cyclist at fault.
        Third – there were more than 8 bicycle on pedestrian accidents in Boston last year. Do you really think that they are all reported? Really? do you think they’re reported any where near as often as car on cyclist accidents? Of course not.

  • Ra on 10.14.2011 at 8:01 am

    *painted (sorry)

  • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 8:15 am

    It astounds me the disrespect that cyclists get while on the road, even while in the bike lane. I admit that bikes will run red lights now and then, but so do pedestrians, and they’re not getting into close calls (or in this case actually getting into accidents) with cars as much as bikes do. I suspect to some degree, and I have experienced this extensively during my time as a biker, that cars are more likely to take aggressive action against a biker (e.g. cutting them off, not letting a biker have a lane, passing too closely [i have been hit by several cars’ side view mirrors despite being clearly in the bike lane), or parking squarely in the lane leading to other cars being mad when the biker has to move to the road to pass).

    As one who owns both a bike and car, I can understand the frustration having bike cut in front of me. But I have never had the urge to cut them off so that I can make a right turn, and I do not speed across yellow lights in order to clear an intersection. There may be a bike there, and I know that being in a car, the results are profound for a biker who gets in an accident. As a bike a run my share of red lights, but I use caution the same way a pedestrian would. It is unreasonable to sit there like a duff at a red light when there are no cars. As a driver, I understand that between the two groups, drivers need to be more conservative than bikers. Quite honestly, everyone is going to get to their destination in the same amount of time, no matter how aggressively they drive.

    One last comment: though I try not to generalize, I pose the question of why it is that the drivers who cut it too close for comfort or I get into altercations with generally happen to be driving BMWs and audis.

    • Right of way? on 10.14.2011 at 8:38 am

      “As a bike a run my share of red lights, but I use caution the same way a pedestrian would. It is unreasonable to sit there like a duff at a red light when there are no cars.”

      You really want to take this position? It’s not legal for pedestrians to do it, either.

      • DB on 10.14.2011 at 9:42 am

        They’re not the same and you sound like a damned fool arguing that they should be treated the same. If you take the precaution of stopping to make sure there is no traffic coming, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a pedestrian or cyclist crossing regardless of the light. Stop playing games and pretending they shouldn’t be able to do that. Nobody believes that you actually think that way.

        There’s such a thing as “an Iowa stop.” It’s called that because Iowa (of all places) was the first to change their laws to reflect common sense. In Iowa, a cyclist must treat a red light like a stop sign…they have to stop, look both ways for traffic, and then they may cross even if the light is still red. And they have to treat real stop signs like yield signs, and slow down enough to be sure it’s safe to go through the intersection. These rules are just basic common sense that acknowledge that bikes are NOT the same as cars, and while they should be expected (and required) to act responsibly, it would be ridiculous to treat them the same as cars.

        • out there on 10.14.2011 at 10:25 am

          DB- I know what your initials stand for.

          “Iowa stops” are illegal in MA. I hope you get pulled over next time.

          And it’s because bikers can get killed crossing on red lights that we have LAWS that state bikers must follow the rules of the road- which are the same for cars. To save them from their own stupid selves.

          • DB on 10.14.2011 at 1:11 pm

            It’s like talking to a wall.

            I didn’t need a reminder on what the law says, I was trying to educate you about a more common sense alternative. We don’t even need to really change the law, we just need to be intelligent about how we enforce it.

        • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:28 am

          DB, not a bad idea of a bike law amendment for Iowa… the ‘Iowa Stop’

          but unfortunately, we live in Boston… the Iowa Stop would never work out here. Traffic is 1) more congested 2) occupied by a HUGELY diverse student population who are not consistent in their driving styles and 3) alternately comprised of very angry Bostonians who have road rage and somewhere to be… in a hurry… because nothing is ever good here… unless a team wins a championship. and even THEN the happy feeling only lasts until after the parade. (before ANYone gets angry… I was born and raised here- Go Pats)

    • TM on 10.14.2011 at 8:47 am

      Albert- I have had the same experience with BMWs and Audis- both on my bike and in my car!

    • yafee on 10.14.2011 at 8:54 am

      You DO have to sit there like a “duff” because a bike is a vehicle and subject to vehicle law. Share the road, share the rules, even the ones you don’t like.

      • DB on 10.14.2011 at 9:43 am

        Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools…like yafee.

      • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 10:27 am

        If a bike is a “vehicle” then why do cars feel the obligation to take their lane, park in their bike lanes (making other cars mad when the bike has to go into the road to go around), and yell at them to “get on the sidewalk” (making pedestrians tell the biker to “get on the road”)? A bike is not a car. It is not a pedestrian. It’s a beautiful mix of both. Bikes are not subject to the
        “rules” of both bikes and pedestrians, that simply doesn’t make sense. A bike hitting anyone, be it bike, car, or pedestrian, is not the same as a car doing so. As such, the rules should not be the same.

        This doesn’t change the fact that cars are overaggressive and run red lights (or at least yellow ones). Even on my ride here I had a near miss at the SAME INTERSECTION, but slightly different: cars, please do not throw your driver-side doors open without looking first. I don’t know if there’s a law against that, but it’s just plain inconsiderate and unintelligent.

        • Biker on 10.14.2011 at 12:01 pm

          They need to get real and stop being lazy and create realistic laws for bikers…not just taking the easy route and say ok they have to follow the same laws as cars. Do you know its illegal to ride on the sidewalk? No way is it anything like a car, and you don’t require a license to operate a bicycle. I think thats a good idea, and also include that in a motor vehicle drivers exam being bikers aren’t going anywhere, and ignorance is on a steep incline! If the road is obviously clear and pedestrians are crossing, then your damn straight I am crossing too…its the bikers that just literally run red lights that are in the wrong, and plain stupid! I see that and it makes me mad. Why aren’t you fuming about pedestrians jay walking…same thing.

      • Saz on 10.14.2011 at 12:46 pm

        The “Iowa Stop” exists for an important reason, and that isn’t so bikers can get where they’re going faster. That seems to be a big misunderstanding. Motorists run red lights because they’re in a hurry. I would guess that most cyclists use Iowa stops to clear out of an intersection before the motorists start moving. It feels much safer to me as a cyclist, especially on a road with no bike lanes, to be out in front of intersection traffic instead of alongside cars all starting from a stop. Those vehicles do not look at their blind spots, and it’s very easy to get “pinched” between a car and the sidewalk in that situation.

        Wear a helmet though. It’s just stupid not to.

    • Srice on 10.14.2011 at 9:09 am

      Hysterical about the BMWs and Audis. Sad, but true. I’d like to add delivery vans to hat list though. I was recently screamed at for stopping at a red light in he bike lane when someone wanted to take a right on red. Sorry. I can only scoot up so much.

    • german on 10.14.2011 at 9:26 am

      BMWs and audis… As well as vw golf gtis, corvettes, camaros, mustangs, those low ride honda civics and toyota corollas, and, and, and….Why stop the list at bmws and audis?

    • Rules of the road on 10.14.2011 at 10:28 am

      Bikes are vehicle on the road and therefore cyclists should absolutely be expected to obey the rules of the road, and should absolutely be held accountable and fined if they don’t. As another commenter noted – it’s illegal for pedestrian’s, too, and they can be fined for Jaywalking.

      And to say that “bikes run red lights now and then” is pure, utter B.S. The majority of cyclists along Comm Ave blow red lights like they don’t even exist. I don’t care what rules they are expected to follow (treat Red Light as a Stop Sign, or a true Red Light), they should be expected to follow some rules of the road by law and punished when they don’t.

      • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 10:38 am

        A jaywalking ticket in Boston for pedestrians is $1 for first offenders. FYI. IE THEY DON’T GET TICKETED. The next time you’re standing at an intersection at midnight without a single car in sight for miles, you make sure to stand there until the light is green. I dare and challenge you.

        • Rules of the road on 10.14.2011 at 11:00 am

          Point being they do and can get cited, Albert, and your further example is irrelevant. As a pedestrian, I wouldn’t cross the wrong way w/o break in stride at the height of traffic with a ton of bike and car traffic around, which SO many cyclists do along Comm Ave all the time.

        • Rules of the road on 10.14.2011 at 11:01 am

          And for that they should be fined. Period.

  • George Orwell on 10.14.2011 at 8:25 am

    I am suspicious that the bicyclist ran the red light considering how the article doesn’t really blame the driver or the cyclist explicitly for the accident. Back in the day, you used to have to register your bicycle, you’d get a little license plate and everything. They did away with it since it was clogging up the works with so many bikes and it just wasn’t cost effective really. Looking for law enforcement to be a bit harder on the bikes. I’m a biker myself.

  • Right of way? on 10.14.2011 at 8:30 am

    “Drivers aren’t checking their mirrors, and bikes run red lights,” he says. “There’s a lot of ignorance on both sides.”

    But the article fails to specify whether or not this biker was running a red light at the time of the accident. Either the car was, or the bike. Who was it?

  • Rachel on 10.14.2011 at 8:45 am

    What would be nice is if the BU police or the Boston Police would actually do their job and police the area more. For instance, giving tickets to cars and trucks that stop or park in the bike lane would be a good start. That way bikes would not have to swerve out into the road. I also think fines to cars and bikes violating traffic laws would be a good wake up call.

    • Joey Joe Joe on 10.14.2011 at 9:48 am

      Yes! I have lived in Boston for 7 years off and on and take the T down Comm Ave every day. I have seen a car pulled over by the police once. When I drive around town it is rare that I take a trip without seeing at least one ridiculous traffic violation. Enforcing the rules might be a bit of a wake up call. I honestly have no idea what the police in Boston do aside from breaking up protests and standing at construction sites.

      • Joey Joe Joe the 2nd on 10.14.2011 at 11:33 am

        HEY. THAT’S MY NICKNAME!

    • Ray on 10.14.2011 at 10:31 am

      While they’re at it, can they ticket the people (UHauls, UPS, Domino’s, etc) who double-park ALL OVER COMM AVE. It’s ridiculous. Until police start enforcing laws, no one will abide by them.

      • T on 10.14.2011 at 12:03 pm

        Yes! Double parking doesn’t seem to be enforced by meter readers, who I think we can all acknowledge are very diligent. In the past 2 days, I’ve seen over 5 cars on Comm Ave that would rather double park than pull into an open spot. And yes, as a biker, it means an the entire lane of traffic behind them and I suddenly have merge into the remaining lane and a half. And I usually have to give those double parkers a wide berth, because I’m guessing they won’t think much of throwing their door open without looking.

    • Fact Check on 10.14.2011 at 6:02 pm

      Just as an fyi, BU Police cannot give out traffic citations. That power is reserved for other policing agencies.

  • JaFra14 on 10.14.2011 at 9:10 am

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, Albert, but most of the undergraduates who attend BU, and especially those that drive the BMW’s and Audi’s have a feeling of entitlement. It’s just the way it is when daddy calls you his little princess, or ace, your entire life, then buys you a car that costs more than what the professors who have worked here for 10+ years can afford.

    • rki90 on 10.14.2011 at 12:43 pm

      This is such an unfair statement. I saw this happen before my eyes and it was a clear accident. The driver forgot to look back before turning. He is an extremely nice person and was intent upon making sure the girl received care for her injuries and was apologizing every three seconds. While I can understand where you’re coming from, it’s unfair to label the driver as this typical “entitled” and selfish rich person.

    • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 1:22 pm

      oof. that’s a strong statement. i did not mean it in this case. and i should not have said that earlier. statement retracted.

  • Kevin Outterson on 10.14.2011 at 9:14 am

    We know that Comm Ave / BU Bridge are the most dangerous parts of Boston for bicyclists. I’m grateful for the bike lanes, and for the police at the BU Bridge in the mornings, but I’ve never seen them give a ticket to cars driving in the bike lane and cutting bikes off. Nor have I seen tickets in this area for bikers running lights; or warnings for riding without a helmet.

    Long-term, the BU Bridge/Storrow Drive/Comm Ave mess needs a radical redesign, like the one suggested in the BU long range plan. This should be a priority for the State, not just BU.

    • newgirl on 10.14.2011 at 11:22 am

      I agree. I just got to BU with a bike and was appalled when I saw the BU bridge. Who thought it would be a good idea to put the bike lane in the middle of all the cars turning, and who thought painting it would help? I have slipped once on that paint in the rain (I wasn’t hurt, thank God). Since then I’ve stuck to biking on the sidewalk in that area, whether or not anyone likes it. I stop at red lights, I wear a helmet, I follow all the rules. But some days, I just really don’t feel like being run over. Don’t even get me started on the people who park in the bike lane.

  • Joey Joe Joe on 10.14.2011 at 9:42 am

    Disclosure: I am a driver and not a cyclist. That said, I think that problem clearly falls on both groups. As a driver, it’s really not very difficult to be respectful to bikers. One of the big parts of the problem is that Boston drivers are HORRIBLE. They are the worst I have ever seen with a complete lack of knowledge/care about traffic rules. As a cyclist, I think it’s naive to just pretend like that doesn’t matter and not adapt to it. Be more careful out there and wear a helmet because the drivers around here are idiots. I know I’ve had to adapt as a pedestrian to prevent getting nailed by stupid drivers- bikers should do the same.

    • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 10:28 am

      lol- you should be required to wear a helmet as a driver!

      Everyone should be required to wear vests of marshmallows, balloons, and kittens as well. For protection, one can never be too safe.

      Please excuse the lack of content in this comment.

      • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:35 am

        sorry albert do… helmet law is in the works on capital hill. best to keep your hair short an uncomplicated… cause soon… you will suffer from helmet head or get ticketed.
        i personal am torn about this. I USUALLY wear a helmet… but not always. I guess it isn’t that bad.

  • DB on 10.14.2011 at 9:47 am

    As I drove to work this morning down Comm Ave and approached the Warren Towers garage, I spotted a police car parked in front of Warren, blocking the bike lane. The police car was parked DIRECTLY underneath a “no stopping or standing” sign.

    Honestly? You people ranting about bikes needing to follow every single traffic rule should really just shut your mouths. You clearly don’t have the slightest clue how often motorists get away with doing whatever they feel like.

    • SB on 10.14.2011 at 11:27 am

      Well it was also a cop car… They do, you know, protect the city, save lives… But sure, complain about the fact that they were parked in a bike lane, doing their job. Oh wait, they’re allowed to park wherever they want!… Have some respect for the cops, man.

      • T on 10.14.2011 at 12:17 pm

        Personally, I find it frightening and more than a little frustrating that someone who is supposed to be protecting me and enforcing the law is putting my life at risk by failing to follow the law. If a cop wants to park longer than 2 hours in a 2 zone, fine. Parking in a bike lane, parking in front of a fire hydrant – these are illegal because they can cause people to get hurt, regardless of whether the person parking has a badge.

      • Biker on 10.14.2011 at 12:17 pm

        Cops are required to follow traffic laws except in an emergency, etc. Grabbing a cup of coffee at the Starbucks is not an emergency…there is a low traffic road about 50 feet from there where he can park wherever he wants. Has nothing to do with respect. FYI My bro-in-law is a cop and it pisses me off when i drive with him. He runs reds (off-duty), speeds, and does whatever he wants because he knows he can’t get in trouble…thats nothing to respect. I respect what they do, but a power tripping cop is not respectable!

  • DA on 10.14.2011 at 9:47 am

    1. I work right next to this intersection and it really terrible; the light changes constantly pit pedestrians and cars against each other because there is no pedestrian-only cycle for the walk signal. There is frequent gridlock when cars from Buick street and St. Paul street are trying to turn left and get in each other’s way, often leaving cars stuck in on the train tracks or peeling out just to get across the intersection. Bicycles and pedestrians are always moving in front of cars when the light turns green for the cars, trapping them behind a wall of people and causing more traffic and frustration. It comes as no surprise that an accident occurred, because there are close calls there every single day.

    2. There is aggressiveness on all sides for street crossing: bicycles, pedestrians, and cars. It ends up being a cycle of bad manners and dangerous cut-offs. But cars are the fastest, largest, and most likely to cause serious damage if they hit a person or property, so the onus is on drivers to be the most careful out of the bunch. Pedestrians and bicyclists need to recognize the danger they put themselves in when they assume that drivers are paying attention or will always give up the right of way.

    3. As someone already mentioned, the “Look Left for Bikes” signs are for pedestrians, not cars, but I think it is good as an extra warning that cyclists are more frequently sharing the road and that we should look out for them.

  • A on 10.14.2011 at 9:48 am

    Interesting, lots of passionate comments, but not one so far shows any concern for the girl who was struck.

    • Sue on 10.14.2011 at 10:11 am

      Or for the driver who was so distraught that someone had to drive him home. Both of them will be dealing with this for some time — one physically and the other emotionally. It was a terrible thing that we can all learn from so that we don’t end up in either position.

    • Bee on 10.14.2011 at 10:11 am

      Compassion doesn’t exist in Boston.

      • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:38 am

        hahahaahahaaha. as a Bostonian I can appreciate the irony in that statement.

    • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 10:33 am

      The nature of talking about bikers vs. cyclists is the heart of compassion in this conversation. The only way you don’t show concern is by bad mouthing her (unfortunately, some people are doing so in this thread), or by not saying anything at all. Knocking the thread is unproductive. Kudos to Sue’s comment- ” It was a terrible thing that we can all learn from so that we don’t end up in either position.” Agreed.

      It goes without saying, but to make it explicit I am saddened to hear that she is hurt, send out my well-wishes to her and her family, and sincerely hope that she recovers quickly and thoroughly. I hope that the driver recovers psychologically and emotionally as well.

      As far as fault goes. I don’t think it matters. What is important is to talk about this issue like adults, and to take steps to make sure it does not happen again.

  • VCosta on 10.14.2011 at 10:07 am

    Have you seen how those cyclist ride on Mass Ave? I am a Bu student myself and I take my car to school, and I have to be 100% alert not to hit any of them. They all ride their bikes like they own the road.

    • KA on 10.14.2011 at 10:45 am

      I agree with VCosta about some of the bikers attitudes… I’ve biked down comm. ave but I mostly walk and I am often unable to cross the street b/c of bikers blowing red lights and not letting pedestrians go; I think this is partly why they painted those signs to look for bikes because many bikers disregard pedestrians (in the same way pedestrians jaywalk and disregard bikers). When a bike goes through a red light it moves a lot faster than a pedestrian trying to jay-walk and I think cars are less likely to notice they are there at all (and are not looking for them b/c they should not be there). When I bike I stop at all the red lights and the crosswalks like you should do when driving a car and the bikers in the lane behind me get antsy and try to pass me. I think it is really difficult to “police” bikers with tickets, you’d basically need bicycle cops but I think they should try to do that at random at these crazy intersections to kind of put the bikers in their place and make them aware they should follow the same rules that cars and pedestrians should.

      I don’t know what happened in this situation but if the driver didn’t get a ticket for going through a red light I’m assuming the biker went through her red light and is at fault.

      Maybe BU needs to include some orientation about biking or being a pedestrian oround campus w/some warnings where this story is a perfect example.

      • Daniel Kamalic on 10.14.2011 at 12:31 pm

        KA, you’re assuming fault here without having any information. Nobody knows whether the cyclist ran a red light, and even if she did, nobody knows if she is at fault at all in this accident! We have no idea whether the cyclist or the motorist broke any laws — other than the motorist breaking the law by not having a valid driver’s license!

        It is almost certain that the police have not released this information because there is an ongoing criminal investigation! We will just have to stay tuned.

    • N on 10.14.2011 at 11:35 am

      You’re driving a 4,000 lb car that could decimate another person. Why aren’t you 100% alert at all times anyway?

      Of course if bicycles expect to be treated with respect, they need to follow the laws too. But people create danger by getting in their cars and driving, and they are the ones who need to be extremely careful. If a bike smashed into your car the damage would be minimal. If you smash into a biker, you could easily kill them. So own the fact that you’re driving a 2 ton death machine and continue to pay attention!

      • VCosta on 10.19.2011 at 1:00 pm

        N, I agree with you! Not only me, but whoever drives a car should be 100% alert. But why not the bike riders? I mean they are sharing the road with us drivers, why should we have to be on alert for them when they are not even alert or care for their own life? What matters is that bike riders NEEDS TO LOOK WHERE THEY ARE GOING! RESPECT THE ROAD! AND RESPECT WHO THEY ARE SHARING THE ROAD WITH!
        If a driver runs a red light it can kill someone, but if a cyclist cross a red light could he not be the cause of a death or an accident?

  • Emily S Jump on 10.14.2011 at 10:25 am

    There is a lot of anger and aggression in these comments, when what I would hope to see is concern for an injured student. This really distresses me. Regardless of whose “fault” it was that such an incident occurred, I would hope to see more compassion solicited from the BU community. If there were no other witnesses present, we may never find out who ran the light, but I certainly don’t think that is the main issue here. Nobody is perfect (drivers or cyclists), and as a COMMUNITY we could all do better to be cautious and protect ourselves and each other as we share the roads.

    I am a cyclist and a car owner, and I bike to BU year round rain or shine. Many times, drivers don’t see or understand why a cyclist is moving into “their” lane, but typically it is to avoid getting “doored” by a parked car, or a driver who doesn’t look for cyclists before pulling out of a parking spot directly into the bike lane. Smart cyclists bike defensively and wear helmets and flashers, but even the most cautious can’t anticipate a driver changing lanes without signaling or a huge pothole or parked car in their lane.

    I come from a state where cyclists must wear helmets at all times and get a $90 ticket if they don’t. Same goes for red lights and one ways. Drivers who exhibit reckless driving, “banging a left”, and chronically running red lights should be ticketed too. I’d be very happy to see the same standards applied in MA for the safety of everyone in our city.

    • Beantown on 10.14.2011 at 12:25 pm

      Based off what I read…seems like she had the green, and the driver made a legal right on red and didn’t see the biker…pulled out and she had no time to get out of the way. Based off of where the impact was…legally no one was at fault…accident. I hope she is ok, and that people will start wearing helmets!! Very traumatic for both of them. my roomate got hit by a car in Brookline in a crosswalk last year by a car going 30mph…college student not paying attention. Sad. (he is ok though)

      • motown sluggo on 10.14.2011 at 7:43 pm

        Uh, dead wrong Beantown my man. The law says that drivers may make a right turn on red IF THERE IS NO TRAFFIC APPROACHING FROM THE LEFT. Motorists do NOT have an automatic right to turn right on red. If that is what happened (and this is all speculation) then the driver was in the wrong and should be sent to Guantanamo and waterboarded (Which, by the way, isn’t torture).

    • Daniel Kamalic on 10.14.2011 at 12:41 pm

      Although I am a strong advocate of cyclists *ALWAYS* wearing helmets, I am firmly against mandatory helmet laws.

      The problem with mandatory helmet laws is that they have been *proven* to reduce the number of cyclists on the road — look up Australia’s mandatory helmet laws if you want to see what I mean. The the biggest thing that INCREASES the safety of all cyclists is simply having more of them on the road, so doing anything to decrease the number of cyclists out there will make us all less safe!

      That being said, everyone, WEAR YOUR HELMETS! If you don’t have one, BUY ONE — you can get one for $7.99 so you can definitely afford one — see http://www.thehubway.com/bike-rental-and-helmet-shops .

      If you really don’t even have $7.99, you are definitely a low-income resident and you can get a free one: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/allstonbrighton2006/mE3ZZkyC8sA

  • richard woodpenney on 10.14.2011 at 10:38 am

    If you find being 100% alert while driving onerous; you ought to consider mass transit.

    • M on 10.14.2011 at 11:37 am

      Bravo. I agree 100%

  • hypocrisy on 10.14.2011 at 10:58 am

    The concern over not wearing a helmet is amusing, as if this is part of the problem. And as if wearing a helmet is going to protect you from a 3 ton vehicle hitting you at 30 mph. The only problem is for the person not wearing one (and for the moron who was concerned about his insurance payment being higher if he hits a bicyclist not wearing a helmet).

    As has been pointed out, bicyclists are not vehicles like cars. The laws of the road were made for the safety of cars. Applying those laws to bikers is not for the safety of bicyclists, it is to make enforcement easier. The Iowa laws are a step in the right direction. Massachusetts just allocated something like $125,000 to increase enforcement of laws of the road, but only for bikes! Not for jaywalkers! Is a biker supposed to sit at that red light watching all the pedestrians cross on the red light? How about if I get off my bike and walk it across the intersection? Will that make you feel better?

    Those laws also say that you aren’t supposed to bike on the sidewalk. Yes? Are you going to force my 3 year old to ride in the street? I saw an old fella (80+) riding on the sidewalk the other day. Are you going to force him onto the street? The fact is bikes aren’t welcomed on the street or the sidewalk. So much for trying to reduce the number of cars on the streets and have people “bike to work”.

    • M on 10.14.2011 at 11:41 am

      Right, I forgot. Helmets are useless against 30mph collisions by a 3 ton vehicle. LOTS of bike accidents involve head injuries. This girl’s head smashed a windshield. See the connection?

      Also, why do motorcyclists wear helmets if they’re so ineffective?

      But seriously kids. Wear a helmet. Save your brains from being scrambled.

    • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 1:15 pm

      great points by everyone. helmets are not the heart of the problem, but definitely it saves lives. WEAR HELMETS EVERYONE.

      bikes are not vehicles in the sense that cars are. You can’t plow your bike into a group of people and cause major mayhem, as you can with a car.

      bikers are definitely marginalized in this ‘pedestrian-friendly’ city, and it’s discouraging sometimes. some days i want to buy an suv and burn as much gas as i can. so much for exercise and environmental-consciousness.

    • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:43 am

      i dont care about my premiums… I just think its a double standard. we have to wear seatbelts… why? because we get more injured in MOST types of accidents without one. if bikes are going to be on the roads… I want them wearing helmets… just like i have to wear a seatbelt in my car to decrease the likely severity of my injuries in a crash… helmets DO decrease the likely severity in the crash… its a fact that cannot be debated. (reminder: I am an avid cyclist, quite often a bike commuter, a car driver and a motorcyclist)

  • Pam on 10.14.2011 at 11:04 am

    As a bike lover and a motorist, I’ve often thought cyclists need to know how awful it would be for a driver to hit a bike. Commmonwealth Avenue sports some of the most reckless bicyclists I’ve seen. It makes me cringe. I try to avoid that street for fear of accidentally knocking or throwing someone off their bike. Cars drive somewhat predictably, even in Boston, but bikes seem to appear in random places. It would be better if the rules of the road were observed. Obey stop lights. Stay in your lane. Give signals way in advance. Don’t burden a motorist with flashes of disaster — bad things happen and ruin more than one life.

  • TeeTee on 10.14.2011 at 11:09 am

    Here’s what, as a driver, causes me to be more respectful to cyclists: If I hit them, I could kill them.

    If a cyclist hits me, it’s unlikely I’ll sustain much damage.

    I’d rather be inconvenienced than be a killer.

    • albert do on 10.14.2011 at 1:17 pm

      this is the most practical statement in this discussion.

    • Marcus on 10.14.2011 at 4:16 pm

      Well Put, my dear TeeTee!

    • Aaron L'Heureux on 10.17.2011 at 2:36 pm

      Now if only they had insurance so when they hit me I can file a claim and get my car repaired :(

      I agree with this entirely though, I am constantly looking for the bike-randomly-in-my-blindspot so I don’t plow someone over when turning.

  • Pam on 10.14.2011 at 11:14 am

    This is not to say I know who was at fault in this case. We won’t have the facts for a while. I’m reacting to driving Commonwealth Avenue for several years and feeling almost as vulnerable to harm as the cyclists. They can be killed! I can be terribly traumatized!

  • jay on 10.14.2011 at 11:45 am

    If cyclists want to share the roads with cars, THEY SHOULD OBEY THE TRAFFIC RULES JUST LIKE MOTORISTS! They race through red lights and NOT expect to get hit by a car?

    • Daniel Kamalic on 10.14.2011 at 12:27 pm

      Why do you assume the cyclist was the one doing something wrong here? Where does it say that the cyclist ran a red light? It seems to me like the quote where the officer mentioned cyclists running red lights was completely out of context, and this article did a poor job of clarifying that the police have NOT said who was obeying the law and who wasn’t here.

      Even if the cyclist did run a red light, we don’t know who was actually at fault in this situation until the police finish their investigation. All we know so far is that the driver of the BMW is definitely at fault for not having a valid license!

      • Eggroll5215 on 10.14.2011 at 1:36 pm

        I think the assumption that the biker blew through the red light is made because about 90 percent of them do just that!

        • mootrack on 10.14.2011 at 2:08 pm

          Please provide a citation for that 90% statistic. Thank you.

          • Eggroll5215 on 10.14.2011 at 2:31 pm

            Considering they don’t cite bikers for disobeying the law there are obviously no statistics proving that, but I’m on the road day and night and witness it far too often, and I did find a comment from another biker which I’m pasting into this message.

            Posted by Nick Taylor-Vaisey on Thursday, July 21, 2011
            Riding my bike around town over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a lot of cyclists riding through red lights. I guess I’d never watched for it before. After it reached some sort of critical mass in my brain—i.e. more seemed to be doing it than not.

  • Konstantin on 10.14.2011 at 12:14 pm

    People, just understand that the human life is the most important thing on the road! There always will be somebody who does crazy stuff for whatever reason. I’m cyclist and I can tell that many times I had to deal with crazy drivers, once I even fell off my scooter, cause the car in front of me suddenly cut my line. The only way to survive on Boston’s roads is ASSUME that you surrounded by crazy people and then drive accordingly and be ready for any actions to avoid an accident. This poor girl in a worst situation could become a handicapped person for the rest of her life in a 1 second and then it doesn’t matter who had a green light.

  • Daniel Kamalic on 10.14.2011 at 12:24 pm

    BU student driving a brand new 2011 BMW with an *invalid license*, oblivious enough to hit a cyclist who was riding in the bike lane.

    This fits the sterotype so perfectly, it could be a Jay Leno joke if it wasn’t so sad.

    I hope the cyclist is OK and recovers fast. My heart goes out to her. I also hope the driver, if he is at fault, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    • Fact Check on 10.14.2011 at 6:11 pm

      For a split second mistake, you hope that this individual is “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”? Wow. I hope you never make a split second mistake in your life and have to see/listen to such vitriol.

  • k on 10.14.2011 at 12:35 pm

    The “Look Left” painted signs are not visible to cars, only pedestrians crossing the streets. If they would like to have the “Look Left” signs visible to motorists, then they should be metal signs attached stop sign poles or traffic lights.

    I walk, ride and drive- I would say there is oblivion everywhere.

  • Eggroll5215 on 10.14.2011 at 1:31 pm

    I agree and disagree with the comments posted here. I agree that cyclist should have the right to ride on the roads, that they should wear helmets, and they should obey the rules of the road just as a motorist should. I don’t agree that they should pay additional taxes to ride their bikes, I’m sure most of them also own vehicles and pay their excise taxes, and they also pay state taxes when they file their annual taxes. There are many motorist that do break the laws when it comes to stopping for a red light, a stop sign or at crosswalks where there are no street lights. However, I have encountered cyclists that drive recklessly, and pay no attention to their surroundings, and have actually seen a biker knock down a pedestrian crossing the street on Comm Ave and continue on his way. As I was driving down Bay State Road one morning a biker came flying around the corner at Granby and Bay State Road heading in the wrong direction and I nearly hit him, I believe he was a faculty member DUH! I go out of my way to pay attention to the bikers riding out there because some of them, not all of them, think they have the right of way and weave in and out of traffic, pay no attention to a motorist that has a signal on to make a turn, go through red lights without even slowing down, and have no regard for pedestrians. I certainly would be beside myself if I ever hit anyone on a bike, but some of them make it very difficult to keep that from happening. I actually totaled a car at one point to avoid hitting a biker that came out of nowhere from a side street, he went on his merry way while I had to answer to the insurance company. So… maybe they should require bikers to complete a driver’s ed course just as they do for motorist to make them understand the danger they are putting themselves and others in. As for this latest incident involving the 18 year student being hit by the 21 year old student I certainly hope they can determine if she did in fact blow through the red light without slowing down or even looking to see the car coming from Buick Street before they ruin this kid’s life for something that may not be his fault.

  • Seb on 10.14.2011 at 1:40 pm

    Why don’t they tell how this happened??? Did the cyclist run a red light or not? Their failure to disclose this information does not help alert other cyclists who would be more wary of the situation.

  • Mike on 10.14.2011 at 2:26 pm

    Just like most disagreements where both sides are so passionate, the responsibility falls on both sides. Motorists need to be more aware. Whether it is cyclists or pedestrians, they are driving a vehicle that can kill people. Driving recklessly has its consequences and should not be treated lightly. Bicycles have to be forced to follow traffic laws, because they won’t on their own. On Hampshire Ave in Cambridge, please have been successful handing out tickets to cyclists violating traffic laws.

    What is ironic is that motorists are only more aggressive after sitting in traffic, which could be alleviated if more people used bicycles (safely).

  • Carlitos Corazon on 10.14.2011 at 2:31 pm

    If you don’t know the “law of gross tonnage”, it essentially says that when two objects collide, the one with the least mass will suffer the greatest damage. If you’re going to ride a bike on a road built primarily for cars, it would be prudent to remember that.

  • motown sluggo on 10.14.2011 at 2:57 pm

    Some years ago police in London did a study of accidents between cyclists and motorists. This was in the early eighties, I think. They concluded that 31% of the time the fault was with the motorist; 18% of the time it was with the cyclist and the rest of the time it was shared or could not be allocated one way or the other. British motorists are much better than Bostonians, but London’s cyclists are also more law-abiding than Boston’s. You rarely see cyclists in London running lights, for instance. It is just part of being a more civil society.

    Many people commenting here assume that the cyclist was running the light. I saw nothing in the article to indicate that.

    Also, if memory serves, I recall reading somewhere that ca. 90% of all fatalities to cyclists are head injuries. Obviously if you are crushed underneath a bus the helmet won’t help you. But in this case – flying headfirst into a windshield – the helmet can save your skull. In most accidents the cyclist is bumped or doored and sent flying and the injuries result from the sudden stop against a parked car, curb, asphalt, &c..

    The invective directed at cyclists by motorists is really evidence of selfishness. The attitude is, “The roads belong to me. Get out of my way.” Of course this is the attitude of Boston drivers to other motorists as well. Cyclists should obey the law the same as other road users, but, after all, here in Boston hardly anyone does, including motorists. It’s a sickness.

    It is important to recognize that, in the long term, our current transport system in unsustainable. The private automobile is a luxury that we won’t be able to afford forever unless someone figures out a way to run them off of solar power. Bikes are small, cheap, clean, healthy and quiet. Cars take up too much space, are expensive, noisy and emit poison gas. Think about the future.

  • nick on 10.14.2011 at 11:12 pm

    To be completely honest, this entire story is pure garbage. I witnessed the entire incident and the way that the BU Today has portrayed couldn’t be farther from the truth. The biker ran a complete red light and should be considered at fault. She essentially threw herself in front of the car and the driver made every attempt to stop, including driving up onto the curb. Furthermore, this shows how bikers have no regard for any sort of traffic rules and believe that because they are on bikes they have complete right of way. The biker was traveling the incorrect way in the bike lane, which shows how ignorant bikers are of traffic law. Also, the reason that there is no citation for hitting the bicyclist is probably because the bicyclist was at fault for the accident. This further shows how police need to enforce bike laws and make regulations more stringent. Clearly BU Today has not done all their research.

    • Just Sayin on 10.15.2011 at 10:00 am

      Geez Nick – the article isn’t biased and doesn’t place fault on either party. It clearly was written to put out the fact that the accident occurred using just the basic facts about the incident and the little information the authorities were able to provide at that time, and those facts are little being that it’s an “ongoing investigation.” The story isn’t garbage at all. It’s informing the public and encouraging all the conversation in these comments, which is a good thing.

      Your comment is great and I’m glad that people who witnessed the event like you are contributing to the conversation.

      I hope BU Today follows up when there are official and known outcomes.

    • Justin on 10.15.2011 at 10:08 am

      Wow.

      I feel VERY sorry for the woman cyclist who was injured so severely and hope she survives and recovers fully. But this account just shines a light on the recklessness with which cyclists traverse Comm Ave (and prob other parts of town, but since we’re talking about campus) and the BU campus. I see it every day on campus, bikers blowing red lights, making illegal turns with oncoming traffic, riding against traffic, as if nothing else exists. That behaviour needs to stop and authorities need to start citing and fining cyclists who don’t abide the laws. As another commenter on this article said, nothing will change unless authorities enforce the laws.

      If this incident went down as Nick says, I hope the driver of the car doesn’t have to pay one damn penny. He shouldn’t have to.

    • albert do on 10.15.2011 at 11:14 am

      rki90 said above: “I saw this happen before my eyes and it was a clear accident. The driver forgot to look back before turning.” It doesn’t exclude the biker running the red light, but it doesn’t seem to be as clear-cut as you make it out to be.

      Either way, your comments are unproductive and you’re simply trying to ignore the other perspective by trying to find blame to prove your own opinion correct. This article was likely purposefully written to not place blame on either party, to get us all to think about the issue as drivers, bikers, and pedestrians. Take a step back before blaming one group or another for anything.

    • Srice on 10.17.2011 at 11:51 am

      did you mean the cyclist was going the WRONG WAY in the bike lane? or just that she was not riding properly in the bike lane?

  • Freddy on 10.16.2011 at 10:49 am

    I have ridden my bike for 8500 miles on Boston and Cambridge streets. I follow EVERY SINGLE BITS of ALL traffic laws on my bicycle, and I have NEVER had a SINGLE incident with motorized vehicles in Boston, or even a negative interactions with drivers.

    Let’s face it. Bicycles are a unique class of vehicles on our public roads. You CANNOT jump on this type of vehicle and launch out just like that. You must develop a UNIQUE, COMPLETELY NEW SET OF SKILLS to drive a bicycle.

    For example, at intersections, cyclists’ angular speed / sight lines should “cut the pie” at no more than 45 degrees per second. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please do a bit of reading on the Pennsylvania’s Bicycle Driver’s Manual.

    An ordinary driver’s manual will NEVER cover things like traffic signal loop detectors, 2-second-rule-of-angular-speed, and collision avoidance ‘escape routes’ selection.

  • Amy on 10.18.2011 at 11:31 am

    Sorry, my intent isn’t to hijack this story and segue into something else, but my comment is related. I walk everywhere and see many good bicyclists, but on an almost daily basis I also see:

    1. bicyclists going through red lights
    2. bicyclists riding on sidewalks instead of in the street with traffic (when there are no bike lanes
    3. bicyclists not wearing helmets
    4. bicyclists not having lights, bells or horns while riding in the dark
    5. bicyclists cutting off pedestrians when the latter have the right of way
    6. bicyclists riding on the sidewalk when a bike lane is right beside it
    7. bicyclists riding in bike lanes going the wrong way
    8. people bicycling while texting, using cell phones, and walking their dogs.

    Try walking over the BU Bridge; bicyclists will come up from behind you at high speed and cut close to you. They’ll weave in and out of pedestrians, and on the Cambridge side of the bridge they will bang right turns from the left pedestrians who are walking straight to the crosswalk, cutting them off in the process.

    I also of course, see bad motorists and bad pedestrians. Our streets and sidewalks are one freaking circus, and the lack of courtesy is appalling.

  • student on 10.22.2011 at 2:56 pm

    I’m sorry but I have to chime in here. This comment is too far down to ever be read, but I have some things to say.

    First of all, I am a BU student; a senior who has been cycling to and from campus for almost 4 years now. I am appalled at the number of cyclists that run red lights. These riders have a death wish. At the same time, THE CARS THAT RUN RED LIGHTS ARE EVEN WORSE. I cannot ride into an intersection when a light turns green because I KNOW there will be at least one taxi cab or SUV barrelling through with no regard for anyone’s safety within a 5 mile radius. At least the bikes I see running reds do so with caution and make sure all traffic is out of the way or at least sees them.

    As for people complaining about cyclists staying in their lanes – with all do respect, you can shove it. I get crushed by cars blindly swerving into the bike lane EVERY DAY, twice today on my way to the library. How hard is it to check your mirrors before turning? Instead, drivers insist on jerking the wheel, then stopping for pedestrians, effectively creating a blockade in the middle of the bike lane without any warning for cyclists. Half of you don’t even use blinkers. If you want us out of your lanes, then don’t park/swerve/drive in ours.

    /rant

  • DS on 01.21.2012 at 8:34 pm

    Sorry david but I agree with Z 100%. The bike riders and pedestrians are extremely rude. Students walk across the street in front of cars whn the light is green. Are they in kindergarden? Do they need their mommy to hold their hand? I think they do. They haven’t grown up yet.
    As far as bike riders go,verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry rude. They won’t stay off the sidewalks on the BU campus. They almost run you down. They don’t stop for redlights.I think they should start being charged taxes and insurance. Maybe then they’ll smarten up.They should get tickets just like the drivers do.
    So Bike Riders: Wake up and obey the ruiles of the road.
    Bike Riders think they own the road.

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