Cyclist Killed By MBTA Bus

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 08

Sad news, today I read the following.

BOSTON (AP) – Authorities say a cyclist has died after losing control of his bike as he tried to pass a bus in Boston.

A spokesman for the MBTA says the 22-year-old man lost control as he tried to pass the bus on the left at the intersection of Huntington and South Huntington at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday. He fell under the moving bus.

Police say he was taken to Brigham & Women’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name was not immediately released.

The MBTA says the bus driver is a two-year employee of the agency with a clean driving record. The driver was also treated at a hospital for stress related to the incident. (via)

I can only hope this sparks a constructive effort to make the streets safer for everyone, I will have more details as they emerge.

EDIT: Got this email from a witness.

as i left school at brookline village heading towards huntington ave i saw the whole street blocked off by cop cars and a mbta bus. huge pool of blood
and a cream colored track bike on the ground. a couple officers confirmed it to be a fatal hit. im not sure what hit the rider but the cops were examining the bus so my guess is that. horrible thing really.

EDIT: It now seems like he was struck because his bike was stuck in the tracks…

The bicyclist was identified as a 23-year-old man, who was trying to pry his bicycle wheels from the trolley tracks. T police said the bicyclist was struck after he made contact with the rear of the bus.

“As a result, the male was pronounced dead not long after arriving at the hospital,” Boston police Superintendent Rafael Ruiz said.

Several witnesses said the victim’s bike got stuck on the Green Line train tracks moments before the bus hit him. They said the bicyclist didn’t have a chance.

“I was coming off the 66 bus, coming down here, and I saw this person get stuck on the tracks. (He) didn’t have a lot of time to react,” said Joe Leary, a witness.

Witnesses said the man was struggling to free his bike when the bus came around the corner heading east. The driver had about 150 feet to react.(via)

From what is written in that article it seems to me like his bike was stuck in the tracks and the bus just came around the corner and hit him…150 feet is a long time to slow down if you are going a reasonable speed. This might indicate that something needs to be done on that very heavily bikes part of that street in order to make it safer for bicyclists. I know many many people who have crashed on those tracks, and now sadly someone has been killed because of them. It might also mean that bus was going way way too fast.

EDIT: I have no idea if he was stuck in the tracks, or tried to pass on the left, but we now know the following:

“Eric Michael Hunt, 22, of Mission Hill, died at Brigham & Women’s Hospital after being struck at about 6 p.m. at the intersection of Huntington and South Huntington, said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo.”

EDIT: Some people are working on getting a ghost bike up tonight/tomorrow, feel free to stop by and leave flowers, and remembrances.

EDIT: Got this:

to anyone who commutes through that intersection, here is a tip. I do that route every single day. Something Ive found to be really helpful is that there’s a parking lot that runs behind the apartment buildings on the last block of Huntington. If you’re coming down South Huntington, make the last turn before the intersection and it will take you behind the buildings and dump you closer to Parker hill ave. When its super busy traffic, or there’s a bus unloading people at the stop, its very helpful and much safer.

EDIT:

Authorities have said Hunt was killed after he tried to pass a bus and lost control of his bike. The accident happened as Hunt was riding east on Huntington Avenue near the South Huntington Avenue split at about 6 p.m. (via)

Passing a bus on the left is NOT illegal for a cyclist, in fact is often much safer than passing on the right. I wonder if the tracks led to the accident? More details when they become available.

EDIT:

More information about Eric Hunt

Hunt’s father said his son was set to graduate next fall from the Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he studied computer engineering technology. He said Hunt has three uncles and a step-brother who are engineers and his son wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Hunt was an organ donor and tissue from his legs is being donated to help children with cleft palates, his father said. A funeral Mass will be held for him on Saturday or Monday at St. Mary’s Church in South Dartmouth, where Hunt grew up. He was a 2005 graduate of Bishop Stang High School.(via)

EDIT:

More ghost bike info. 11pm tonight if interested. (here)


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24 Responses to “Cyclist Killed By MBTA Bus”

  1. By William Furr on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    That’s horrible for everyone involved.

    Sounds like he was in a really bad lane position and didn’t watch out for those parallel tracks. I’ve never biked on that part of Huntington; the parts I’m familiar with have the tracks separated from the lanes in the median, and I always cross them at a right angle.

    Parallel or longitudinal cracks and tracks are bad news.

  2. By Josh on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Agreed, Horrible.

    I’ve been trying to figure this one out and I thought it was a westbound 39 bus that was turning onto S. Huntington, but now the reports are different.

    I ride along Huntington between Mission Hill and B’line Village and sometimes carry my son to daycare. I’ve been OK so far but I’m rethinking my route now.

  3. By Boston Biker on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    William: I agree horrible, that part of the street is an absolute disaster, the tracks are right in the road, there are very narrow lanes, the traffic is atrocious, and there is on street parking that is always very active and full of crazy people. In short that street is dangerously designed, and I am convinced that it needs to be redone and soon.

  4. By kendra on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    We were on the roof top across the street when it happend but couldn’t see anything except commotion and cops etc. Although I feel horrible for the biker and his family, I feel worse for the driver who has to live with this and people are so quick to assume its always the drivers fault when it could be the bikers fault or just what it was… an accident. I wish I could hug the driver because his life will never be the same

  5. By Boston Biker on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Kendra: I think it might be a little early to start feeling bad/blaming the bus driver. Lets wait and see what shakes out.

    Also in my experience there is almost nothing accidental about these things, someone always did something or there was some problem with the infrastructure, or someone wasn’t paying attention, or was drunk etc. Accidents almost never happen, crashes happen all the time.

  6. By stemcellular on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    This is just insane. I’ve been cycling daily in Boston for over 4 yrs and was twice hit by an MBTA bus last month (and unbelievably walked away both times). While I brushed both incidents off as rare, I’m done. Last night was too much. If you have had a similar situation with the MBTA please let me know. I’m going to petition for a Senate hearing on the matter.

  7. By Pants on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    That intersection is the pits. I was almost wedged between the 39 bus and a parked car recently. I also have several friends who have wiped out at those railroad tracks.

    Also Kendra, really? You feel even WORSE for the bus driver? I mean, SOMEONE IS DEAD. Those parents will never see their son again. I’m not blaming the bus driver at all (we don’t know what happened) but I don’t think it makes sense to say you feel worse for the driver. That fathers life will never be the same either because he has to bury his 23 year old son.

  8. By Rob on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    This intersection is part of my commute and I must have biked through there minutes before this happened yesterday – echoing everyone else’s comments about that intersection being really dicey. The confluence of trolley tracks, a busy bus line, heavy car traffic and poor visibility are a dangerous combination. Huntington in general is pretty hostile.

    Very sad.

  9. By Tito on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    I make this way nearly daily going to BWH and I must say that many times I just take the sidewalk as it is one of the less safer streets nearby ( specially if any parked car open doors or just have to avoid any danger near the trails ! )

    And something is true , crashed happens , but bad ones are rare unlesss something weird has been done.

    Sorry for him and relatives :(

  10. By Paul Schimek on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    At the least we need warning signs like this

    http://www.asprocket.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/rail_bike_sign.png

  11. By Sage on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    I am very sorry for the friends and family. I often have trouble with the buses. Some of the MBTA buses go *way* too fast, and I sometimes think they’re driving like maniacs. Not only for energy efficiency and noise pollution, but most of all for safety. The buses take the same space as the normal biking lane and I often end up “leapfrogging” them. Often they don’t pull over to the bus stop even when there are no cars blocking it. Can’t we do something to make them drive sanely and safely? Some drivers are great. And they must be under pressure to make schedule. But ** loosen up the schedule ** don’t make them drive like maniacs!

  12. By Sage on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Jeff Ferris shared this link about how buses and bikes can make safe choices for how to share the road:

    http://vimeo.com/7949969

    Good video by Chicago DOT. I like that it talks to both bus drivers and bikers. It must be stressful to be a bus driver in Boston, as much as to be a biker. Some drivers have been so considerate of me, and I appreciate it very much. Some have been less so. But bikes never kill bus drivers. I am going to be more patient from now on with buses.

  13. By JP-Ant on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    I usually ride my bike down South Huntington to Huntington Ave on my commute from JP to longwood medical center and the reverse back home. I left my lab around 6:00pm and decided to go over mission hill instead of my usual route. I saw about 10 cop cars pass by the intersection at Huntington and Tremont and wondered what had happened.

  14. By Ferris on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Just a comment knowing we don’t have all the details. I was once run down FROM BEHIND by an MBTA bus on Boylston and Berkeley St. The driver said I was in his blind spot. Since then I always steer clear of buses.

  15. By Hope on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Terrible. I wonder if we could persuade the MBTA to make the Chicago bike/bus safety video mandatory for busdriver training.

    On another topic, I wanted to share that as a most-of-the-year bike commuter, I notice that there are now 5 or 10 times more bikers underway than 3 weeks ago. Could we post a heads-up somewhere to those taking their bikes for the first time this year that fatal accidents have double or tripled in the last 3 weeks and that it can be a matter of life and death to be sure you have your helmet and lights as you get back on the street and that you drive with special caution the first few weeks of getting used to the city streets?

  16. By Francisco Ruiz on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    There are so many bicyclists on the road now that the weather is picture perfect, but many of them are not familiar with Boston’s streets. Never, never, never try to be cute and cool while crossing train rails in Boston, and never,never, never ride next to, or close ro, or compete with buses. Bus drivers may not see you, may try to make that bus stop before you, or just may try to avoid you, but most likely will hit you.

  17. By rideofsilence on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    Is there any interest in doing a Ride of Silence next Friday? (the 16th) Two major cycling collisions in less than 24 hours is really hammering this home.

  18. By Lovely Bicycle! on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    The image of this boy trying to get his bike out of the track as the bus hits him is just too horrible.

    I am terrified of cycling on streets with parallel tracks, and seeing one too many of such accidents is the reason.

  19. By ChrisB on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    I take that route everyday. I’ve had to “bunnyhop’” over those tracks often most times successfully, others not. Due to cars pulling out without looking, pedestrians crossing without looking, but most of all MBTA buses do not pull into the bus stops. they stay 3 to 4 feet away form the curb. Which is against policy and if you call the MBTA line ( I have) they will tell you that the bus ( that you are currently looking at I was on a cel phone) is NOT doing that,”all of our drivers pull up to the curb” I was told.

  20. By SteveR on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    It hasn’t been that long since a ghost bike on Huntington at Forsythe. I teach at Northeastern, and I’m always sick with worry about my students who bike on Huntington.

    Huntington is double-black-diamond, folks. I’ve been bike commuting Newton-Boston for a year now, and I stay off Huntington at all costs. Narrow lanes, parked cars, high speeds, buses, out-of-town drivers (going to hospitals, colleges, museums), young drivers, overtired medical residents, sudden stops and swerves for pedestrians … a bad combo.

    If you have alternatives, take them. If you’re new to urban biking, stay off Huntington altogether. It’s lethal, as has been very unfortunately demonstrated. Again.

  21. By SheeQ on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Is so sad to hear this. My sincere prayers and condolences are with his family.

    I was a cycle advocate for 6 years, and the main thing that I learned, is that a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car, truck or motorcycle. Cyclists need to act like drivers. Yielding for pedestrians, and adhering to all signs and lights that apply to vehicles. This also means riding with traffic: ride in the middle of the lane with traffic, not alongside it. A car directly in front, and in back, not wedging yourself in between. We need more street bike lanes

  22. By mulch craft on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    So sorry to hear this! I feel lucky right now because just two days prior to this accident I was riding down the same street and attempted to pass a bus. A truck behind me passed me too close and all most sandwiched me between the bus and I had to swerve out of the way. My wheels got stuck in the tracks and threw me off my bike. Luckily the cars around me were paying attention and stopped until I was out of the road. Please be extra extra care full on that street or find an alternate route. My Prayers go out to his friends and family.

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