Boston Globe: Cyclist is killed by car in Brighton
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August 11, 2010
Jennifer Mehigan

Cyclist is killed by car in Brighton

A 24-year-old woman died Monday evening after she was stuck by a car while cycling without a helmet in Brighton, according to police and Boston Emergency Medical Services. She was the second bicyclist fatally stuck this year in a city the mayor wants to make “world class’’ for cycling.

A Boston police spokesman said that the collision was an accident and that the driver of the car will not be charged. Police did not disclose the identity of the victim or the motorist.

At the scene on Commonwealth Avenue Monday afternoon, a purple bicycle with a bent front wheel lay in the middle of the street, near the intersection with Kelton Street. Two firefighters and three civilians bent over a person lying in the grassy divider between the eastbound travel and service lanes of Commonwealth.

The woman was taken by ambulance to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

A spokeswoman for the Boston EMS, Jennifer Mehigan, said that “paramedics at the scene indicated serious head trauma could have been avoided, had she been wearing a helmet.’’

Bicycling advocates and enthusiasts yesterday emphasized the need for helmets and continued cooperation from the city to make its streets more bike-friendly.

“The city’s putting together a pretty decent set of bike lanes; we’re trying to make sure the network spreads to the rest of the city,’’ said Peter Stidman, 38, director of the Boston Cyclists Union. “It’s not moving at the pace that would make us America’s cycling city, which is something the mayor likes to say.’’

Stidman said bike lanes probably would not have made a difference in this accident. Witnesses reported in Internet accounts that the cyclist was riding down a steep hill in the service lane of Commonwealth Avenue when she was struck.

“When you’re coming down that hill and you’re in the service road, it does give you a false sense of security, because you’re separated from the traffic,’’ he said. “It should be looked at to see if there’s some mitigation that could happen at those intersections, possibly special signals.’’

Four bicyclists and pedestrians were struck by vehicles at that intersection between 2002 and 2007, according to data compiled by Boston EMS and the Cyclists Union. Over that same period, there was an average of one similar accident at every 10 city intersections, according to the data.

Sunday night, a bicyclist riding on Cambridge Street in Allston hit a curb, flipped over the handlebars, and struck his head, Kenneally said. The rider, who was not wearing a helmet and appeared to be intoxicated, was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with head trauma, Mehigan said.

On April 7, Eric Michael Hunt, 22, of Mission Hill, was killed in a collision with an MBTA bus on Huntington Avenue.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino convened a bicycle safety summit within weeks of the accident.

Boston added 10 miles of bike lanes last year and plans to complete 20 miles this year, said David Watson, executive director of MassBike, a statewide bicycling advocacy group. New York City added 200 miles of bike lanes from 2006 to 2009.


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