On August 7, 2015, Anita Kurmann was cycling on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston and was killed by a truck making a turn onto Beacon Street.
This week Boston Police cleared the driver of wrongdoing.
The thing is, that if Dr. Kurmann did nothing wrong, and the driver did nothing wrong, then the rules of the road are not adequate.
It seems to me very reasonable to ask for sets of rules for bicyclists and drivers, such that if both parties follow the rules, then no one is killed. Boston Police may be correct and the driver was not at fault, but if they are then the rules are wrong. Where is the effort to fix the rules? Where are the BPD recommendations for drivers and cyclists and the city?
Maybe its as simple as not driving 40′ tractor trailers on city streets without flagmen and escorts.
In view of the power imbalance between motor vehicles and bicycles, in my view, if a motor vehicle hits a cyclist while the cyclist is in a legal spot, then the driver of the motor vehicle is at fault. This is similar to the rules about rear end collisions. If you smash into the back of a car, you are at fault. Either you weren’t paying attention or you were tailgating to start with. Full stop.
I’m a little sensitive to these issues because I used to commute 36 miles a day into Cambridge and I’ve had my share of idiot drivers.
Important safety tip! Do not try to bicycle on ice. It doesn’t annoy the ice, but it doesn’t work, either.
Another tip! If the road is wet on a North facing slope, and it is 39 degrees, there’s a good chance there is ice underneath.
And another! If you notice ice on the puddles in the gutters, there might be more ahead.
I had my first wipeout this morning, on the hill from Sudbury north into Maynard, on 27. I think I scared the driver behind me. One second everything is fine and the next, with no apparent transition, the bike and I are sliding sideways down the road. No harm done, but I will be more vigilant!
I thought these were all removed in the previous century!
The problem with these is that the slots run along the riding direction, and are just wide enough to catch a road bike tire. If your front wheel is unlucky, it will wedge into a slot and stop dead. You will not stop, but according to Newton’s first law, continue moving forward over the handlebars and onto the street.
I noticed this one on the driveway in front of the Wayland Middle School.
If the thing is square, at least it could be put in so the slots run across the road instead of along it.
Update, (March 2009)
I could be in serious trouble now.
Is a story about a man in the UK arrested and held for two days as a terrorist for photographing a sewer grate.
In May 2007, I started occasional commuting from my home in Wayland, MA to the offices of SiCortex in Maynard. This is just about nine miles each way. In 2007 I ran up about 1000 miles on my 30 year old Nishiki Olympic. I think I am on pace to do a bit better in 2008.
I’m not very fast. When I started it took almost an hour to get to work. On the way home the read derailleur cable broke, leaving me stuck in 9th gear (of 10), so it also took a long time to get home. My colleague David shook his head at the condition of my bike, with its steel rims and puncture proof (heavy) tires, and talked me into some upgrades. With new alloy rims and new tires (and getting in better shape) I can now get to work in a little under 40 minutes and home in about 35. The elevation gain is near zero, since I am on the Sudbury river in Wayland, and the office is on the Assabet river in Maynard. The Sudbury and Assabet merge in Maynard. If anything, Maynard must be at a lower elevation, but something about the topography makes it seem like more uphill going in, and more downhill coming back. There is definitely a high point in the middle, at Sudbury Center.
It was really this commuting that pushed me into starting this blog. I would spend the trip composing elaborate letters to the editor of the local paper, often about the poor conditions for cycling. This week I finally took a bunch of photos along my route, and I am ready to start ranting.
Continue reading “Bicycle commuting notes – Sidewalks”