Globe Highlights Failure Of Justice In Wellesely Fatal Hit And Run

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 15

The globe had a front page article today about the lack of an indictment for Dana McCoomb, the truck driver who killed cyclist Alex Motsenigos last year.

It’s a common refrain among local ­cyclists: Want to kill someone and get away with it? Run them over while they’re on a bicycle.

Within Boston’s growing cycling community, a perceived lack of criminal prosecution of motorists involved in fatal bike crashes has been a regular source of outrage in recent years. That ire came to a ­fever pitch last week, when a grand jury investigation of a Wellesley bike crash with seemingly copious evidence — video footage, witnesses defending the deceased bicyclist, a truck driver who had fled the scene and had an extensive history of driving infractions — came back with no charges.

The grand jury’s decision, bicyclists contend, is evidence of a wider problem: Most people do not respect the rights of bike riders.

“The message that we got from this particular case,” said David Watson, executive director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, “is that, clearly, members of the general public still don’t care enough about bicyclists’ safety.”

(VIA)

As if to prove the entire point of the article, the comment section is a wasteland…depressing.


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9 Responses to “Globe Highlights Failure Of Justice In Wellesely Fatal Hit And Run”

  1. By jay on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Never had a problem with 99.9% of the drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists I see out there, whether I’m on foot or two or four wheels–I’m not sure that these people are using the same roads. It’s also possible that the average boston.com commenter is an idiot, asshole, or some combination of the two.

  2. By ChrisS on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Here’s what I get from the comments….

    1) We should stop building sidewalks. Those *#*&@) pedestrians don’t pay any taxes.

    2) We should stop building highways. Have you *ever* seen a car obey the laws? They speed, they pass illegally, they roll through stop signs. Terrible.

  3. By Angry Dan on Feb 15, 2013 | Reply

    Why would you read the comments? There is never a good reason to read the comments for a cycling story on a mainstream site. Don’t feed the trolls.

  4. By Nonstop biker on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Ha ha ha Angry Dan…good point! I made the decision to ditch the car a year ago; and ride almost everyday (all year long)…one of the best decisions I ‘ve ever made! I am reminded by all the comments that I need to continue to ride safely, and keep my ears and eyes open ( and maybe say a little prayer every now and then!). Thanks for the “food for thought” guys. ;-)

  5. By brad on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    “Perceptual expectancies are frequently created by suggestion” is a phrase I googled last night after reading about the controversy.

    I also made a point of finding a website I heard Ian Brett Cooper created: The Desegregated Cyclist “Safety in Numbers” or a “Target Rich Environment”

    http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/2012/11/safety-in-numbers-or-target-rich.html#comment-form.

    UNLESS cyclist organizations that advocate for cyclist rights and facilities DO NOT recognize that pinch points on the roadways or segregated “Protected” paths often lead a cyclist to an unexpected conflict with motorists, I predict more tragic deaths.

    When we segregate our minds and see ourselves only according to our chosen mode of transportation we do ourselves a mis-service.
    We are just PEOPLE

    Traffic Planners are JUST people. Hopefully they will fix that intersection with the knowledge and assistance of Human Factors Engineering.

    Whether one is a truck driver or a traffic planner, when other peoples lives are at stake remember: WE ARE AS GODS SO WE MIGHT AS WELL GET GOOD AT IT.

    When a Roman Engineer built an arched bridge, they were asked to stand under it.

    If you “only” see yourselves as bicylists, GET GOOD at IT and recognize pinch points in the poorly designed systems we are provided.

  6. By terry on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    Alan Wright at MassBike asked

    “i have wondered two things: 1) would my use of a helmet mirror made a difference, and 2) was Alex, in the triatholon position on his bike – that is – leaning far forward on the center bars. If the latter was the case he may have been less able to see the truck and certainly less able to navigate quickly out of the way. I raise these points not to blame him or excuse the negligent driver, but to add to our collective awareness of how to manage the risks of our wonderful sport.”

  7. By brad on Feb 16, 2013 | Reply

    When I drive my bike I am not just along for the ride. I am an active participant and co-creator of my circumstances.

    Especially on narrow suburban roads I am always on the look out for “The Triple-by-Pass”.

    A very good habit to learn is that when you see in the distance an oncoming car IMMEDIATELY start assessing if any overtaking traffic from the rear might coincide with the point you (and your space needs) AND the space you and the oncoming vehicle allow for the vehicle behind you.

    I still have good enough hearing to distinguish between diesel truck and gas truck but unless I look back I can’t see how wide it is.

    Because I choose not to use a mirror(which I feel adds too much visual stimulation constantly), I either speed up or slow down to change a “triple-by-pass” to a double-by-pass and I do that usually without looking backwards.

    Looking backward while riding in a straight line is possible but even a mirror can not give you enough info, so I focus on eliminating the triple by pass. OR GET OFF THE ROAD.

    I choose not to feel demeaned or marginalized (tho I am) I feel alive in a field of possibilities to come.

    create your own way IF YOU HAVE WINGS

    (with due respect to pedestrians and my friends the squirrels who are so hard to predict)

  8. By brad on Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    I just had a nice conversation with a police officer near an intersection very similar to the Weston Rd/Linden St. He rode bicycle details in this town but he got tired of the jealousy other officers displayed because he was getting more overtime then they were.

    What is different in my town is that 50 yards before the intersection a large sign warns ROAD NARROWING. Then after going thru the intersection at the point where the main road narrows a bright yellow sign with chevrons suggests moving left.

    What this officer easily understood was that the signs are placed high on the poles for motorists (within a predetermined height range set by a traffic engineer).

    I honestly never noticed those two signs before. I am always to busy driving my bike, “overly” concerned about crap on the edge of rode to the exclusion of a potential life saving message from a traffic designer who doesn’t know “how to talk to me”

    Any future signage for bicyclist at pinch points
    , traffic engineers should be encouraged to include the perceptual needs of cyclists as well, to warn us people who choose to be riding bikes.

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