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Drunk Driver Gets 12 Years For Killing Cyclist In Dorchester

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 29

In a rare turn of events a motorist was actually sentenced to jail time for killing a cyclists. All it took was him being drunk and driving without a license.  Nothing will bring back young Fritz Philogene, but at least justice has been served in some small way.  My heart goes out to the family.

 

from uhub:

 

A Dorchester man who admitted he was drunk when he took the life of a teenager waiting to cross the street with his bicycle was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office reports.

Gregory McCoy, 27, pleaded guilty to manslaughter while operating under the influence, leaving the scene of a collision causing death, and leaving the scene of a collision causing injury for the death of Fritz Philogene, 18.

According to the DA’s office:

Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Gregory Henning would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove that McCoy was driving a friend’s 2012 Cadillac CTS at a high rate of speed in a residential area as he approached the intersection of Norwell Street and Talbot Avenue on the night of May 19, 2015. The Cadillac slammed into the rear of a BMW stopped at a red light, sending both vehicles careening through the intersection just before 10:10 pm.

Philogene, who was at the corner with his bicycle and apparently waiting to cross the street, was struck and died at the scene. Henning would have proven that Philogene’s fatal injuries came as a result of McCoy’s actions.

The crash also injured the 33-year-old driver of the BMW and McCoy’s passenger, a 26-year-old Quincy man who owned the Cadillac.

The evidence would also have shown that McCoy extricated himself from the badly-damaged Cadillac and fled the scene on foot, leaving a blood trail from the vehicle’s final resting point to his neighborhood.


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You Can’t Fix Shitty Design With Signs And Spray Paint

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 28

Want proof?  Ride over the Longfellow bridge “bike path.”

Every day I ride over the Longfellow, and ever day the farce that is the “bike path” gets more and more hilarious (and now that its warm, more and more dangerous.)

I started off skeptical of the paths design, noticing that the it was far too narrow, had odd turns, choke points, blind traffic interactions, lots of hazards, strange elevation changes, and most troubling thing was that the “sidewalk” was now the “bike lane.”  I thought it was horrible then, now I think its even worse.

Before I document the latest hilarious attempt to rescue this failed attempt at a bike path let me just recount some of the things I have personally seen on this path over the last couple months:

  • Crashes involving two cyclists on the Boston side of the bridge, where the path narrows dramatically while people are rolling down hill meeting folks struggling up hill
  • Crashes involving a cyclist and pedestrian on the Cambridge side of the bridge, as cyclists were heading down the hill and pedestrians were entering the “bike path” from the blind side on the left
  • Pedestrians tripping and falling from all the unmarked, and hard to see curbs and metal posts sticking out
  • Joggers with headphones not notice they are about to run into an oncoming bike until it was nearly too late
  • People with jogging strollers running into metal posts on the ground nearly throwing their child to the ground
  • Fucking Segway tours clogging up the path while they take pictures
  • Cyclists arguing with pedestrians constantly about who should or should not be on the path
  • Overheard this exchange “You can’t be on this bridge, I have a torn rotator cuff because a jogger ran out in front of me on this very path and caused me to crash, you need to go over there to the sidewalk” to which the three people responded “Too bad we are tourists!” and continued to walk over the bridge
  • I personally had to ask the construction people to remove the green dust control fencing from one half of the “path” because it blocked the view of people entering the path from seeing if people were coming down the bridge

And now it seems that someone besides me must have noticed because the already ridiculous situation on the bridge has become ludicrous.

Here is the view as you approach the Cambridge side:

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1 sign telling pedestrians not to walk on the bridge, 2 signs telling them where they should walk instead, and 2 signs clearly stating that this path is for cyclists only.  Someone has also taken a can of pink spray paint and highlighted all the things you are likely to run into, you can see one such example above, none of which will do any good in the dark.

Seems pretty heavy handed, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

From the Boston side:

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(See that board on the ground above, it was another sign that had blown over in the wind…I flipped it back up.)

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(notice you can’t see who is coming down the path from this location, this happens a lot on this side)

Lets run this down… At the entrance to the path there are two giant “no pedestrian” signs using universal symbols, a giant “sidewalk closed” sign using words, two giant “bikes here” signs using symbols, stripped barriers, multiple bike markings on the ground, sharrows, a sign further down that says “bikes only” ANOTHER no pedestrians sign after that, AND a sign telling pedestrians where to walk.  Someone has also added cones to most of the metal poll sticking out into the ground (the rest got the same ineffective pink paint treatment as the Cambridge side), oh yea and the sign I flipped back up saying this path is for cyclists…

That is a lot of signs…at this point you might be asking yourself “did it do any good” and the answer would be “fuck no it didn’t do shit.”

You can see in the photograph above, the final person in a line of Segway riders blasting down the path at high speed, he was followed by a flood of pedestrians, joggers, strollers, roller carts, and all manner of non-cyclist traffic…in short you can’t fix shitty design with signs.  Short of posting armed guards on both ends of the bridge this is going to continue.

The reason why so many people are walking on a path that is clearly not for them is because…it makes total sense that they should want to!  It’s the most convenient path for them to take.  This has been a pedestrian path for years, the other side isn’t that pleasant to walk down.  This side of the bridge has a better view of the city, it is easier for more foot traffic to reach, and there is a spooky underpass detour on the Cambridge side if you go the “right” way.  They are following their desire lines.  Its no wonder the “bike path” is anything but.

All the things that make this a great pedestrian path, also make it a horrible bike path.  Its too narrow, has strange approaches, is hard to ride into and out of safely, it makes you take strange traffic diversions, puts you in conflict with traffic (cars, pedestrians, AND other cyclists), and is bumpy too boot!

What a mess…

I still think the best option would have been to close the bridge to automobile traffic, turn the portion of road that is open into a two way bike path, and allow emergency vehicles to go over the bridge both ways.

There are so few cars able to make it over the bridge as it is currently configured, that it would matter little to overall traffic flow.  With the increase in walking, cycling, and public transit the traffic would quickly take up the slack as people adapted.

Instead we have this horrible design that puts cyclists and pedestrians (the main users of the bridge at this point), in dangerous conflict with each other, restricts emergency vehicle use of the bridge, makes everyone unhappy, just so we can allow a couple of cars to putt slowly over it each day.

Are we designing for people, or are we designing for cars?  It’s time to decide, because this shitty design is going to get someone killed.


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Amanda Phillips Dies After Being Hit By A Truck

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 24

As we mentioned yesterday there was a horrible crash in Inman Square.

 

Sadly Amanda Phillips has succumbed to her injuries and has died.

 

A 27-year-old woman was killed Thursday after she was hit by a truck while riding her bicycle in Inman Square, a four-way intersection often jammed with cars, pedestrians, MBTA buses, and bikers, authorities said.

Amanda Phillips of Cambridge was struck by a landscaping truck at 12:17 p.m. at the intersection of Hampshire and Cambridge streets, said Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Cambridge Police Commissioner Christopher Burke in a statement Thursday night. Phillips was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, they said.

“She was really one of the sweetest, smartest clients that I have,” Pinho said. “She was a really gentle girl.”

Phillips worked full time as a barista at Diesel Cafe in Somerville, had graduated from Harvard University, and planned on pursuing a career in health care, Pinho said.

The Diesel Cafe owners lamented Phillips’s death in a statement.

“We are all heartbroken,” Jennifer Park and Tucker Lewis said. “She was an amazing friend, employee, co-worker and human being. We are sure that the world is a little less without her.

Phillips was a student at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, a graduate school in Charlestown founded by Mass. General, according to her Facebook page.

“She really loved to exercise. That was her big thing,” Pinho said, adding that Phillips also doted on her two pets, a dog and cat.

My heart goes out to her friends and family, we must not rest until our roads are safe for all users.

EDIT: I am getting reports that Amanda was doored and then flew into the path of a large truck, these are unconfirmed, but if true mirror what happened last year when a cyclists was doored and then hit by a bus.

The solution for this must be better designed bike lanes that have a barrier between the parked cars, the cyclists, and another one between the cyclists and the moving traffic. If there is not enough space for this infrastructure remove the on-street parking.

Our goal should be less car use, not more. All the research shows its better in so many ways. We can not continue to allow people to be killed by lazy people failing to look behind them before opening their god damn car door.


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Serious Accident In Inman Square, Cyclist Currently In Surgery

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 23

Yet another potentially deadly interaction between a large truck and a cyclist.  I hope she recovers.

More info when I get it.

From The Globe:

Cambridge police are asking the public to stay clear of a portion of the Inman Square area as they investigate a crash between a cyclist and motor vehicle.

According to a tweet from the department’s account, the incident happened at the intersection of Hampshire and Cambridge Streets, in the heart of the square.
Jeremy Warnick, a spokesman for the department, said the crash occurred just after noon Thursday. He said the victim, a 27-year-old Cambridge woman, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

“From my understanding she is undergoing surgeries at this stage,” he said.

The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation, but Warnick said the vehicle involved in the incident — a landscaping truck — remained on scene.


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Summer Bike Adventure For MassBike!

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 22

This looks like an awesome way to go on a great ride and help MassBike at the same time.


If your summer needs a little more fun and adventure, you’re in luck – there’s still time to sign up for Cycle Massachusetts!  Whether you’re a hardcore cyclist or just getting started, we’re known as the Friendliest Ride in the East and we’d be delighted to welcome you.

There’s just a few weeks left to sign up for this tour – the ride is between July 30th and August 5th (join us from 2 to 7 days – it’s your choice!) and the registration deadline is July 15th.

Each year, we pick a different part of Massachusetts to explore.  This year, we start and finish in at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts.  We’ll also visit three additional states and ride in the famous Berkshire Mountains!

We have a NEW family-friendly weekend and a great group discount – and all the proceeds from the ride support the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, so Sign up today

***

Tweet:  Bring your friends to Cycle Mass, the Friendliest Ride in the East – groups of 6 or more get a club discount: www.cyclema.com

***

Facebook post:  There’s still time to join Cycle Massachusetts, the Friendliest Ride in the East. Explore four states and the Berkshires too.  Bring your friends (there’s a group discount!) and ride for a week; bring your kids to our special family-friendly weekend.  Conveniently located just an hour from Boston! All proceeds benefit Massbike – make 2016 your year to explore the Bay State by bike. www.cyclema.com


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Dedicated Bike Lanes, Other Improvements On Comm. Ave.

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 22

From U-Hub


State transportation officials signed off today on a $20.4-million reconstruction project along a bicycle-unfriendly stretch of Commonwealth Avenue that will include dedicated bicycle lanes on both sides of the road and wider sidewalks on both sides.

Although only 0.63 miles long, the avenue between Alcorn Street and the BU Bridge is used by an estimated 30,000 pedestrians, 3,000 bicyclists, 27,000 Green Line riders who get off and on at the four stops along the way and 35,000 motorists.

State Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin – who formerly served in a similar role for the city of Boston – sad in a statement:

This project is an opportunity to make major multi-modal improvements to one of the main arteries into Boston. The reconstruction will make traveling to and from work every day safer and easier for all types of commuters.


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East Boston Will Get Hubway This Year

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 22

From The City:

 

The Boston Transportation Department announced plans to bring the popular New Balance Hubway bike share program to 10 locations in East Boston this year.  These stations are in addition to 10 new stations opening this summer in Roxbury and northern Dorchester.

 

“By expanding Hubway across the harbor to East Boston, we are giving more of our residents access to bike-sharing, which is good for our economy, our environment and our health,” said Mayor Walsh. “We will continue to work to provide residents with a diverse range of transportation options.”

 

The New Balance Hubway system is regional public transportation by bike, owned by the municipalities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville.  With more than 13,000 annual members and over 100,000 short-term passes sold each year, the Hubway system will celebrate its 5th birthday this July and 5 million trips this fall.

 

“Bringing Hubway to East Boston is a major milestone for the program,” said Boston Transportation Commissioner Fiandaca.  “With these new stations, East Boston residents and visitors will have an active, fun way to get around the neighborhood.”

 

The Boston Transportation Department will work alongside the public to help plan the new stations.  Everyone is welcome to attend a community workshop on June 30 at the East Boston Public Library to talk about what makes a good location for a Hubway station and work together to identify general locations for new stations.  People will be able to prioritize specific locations via a survey conducted by street teams from the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the East Boston Social Center, via an online version of the survey, and by dropping by an open house on July 28.

 

Get ready to #takehubway in East Boston!

Key dates:

Community Workshop – June 30 6:30-8:00 p.m., East Boston Public Library

Community Open House – July 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., East Boston Public Library


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Reminder: Speak Out For Safety On Mass. Ave. Wed. June 15th!

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 14

From Livable Streets:


 

Now is the time to speak up for a safer Massachusetts Ave!

This Wednesday, June 15th the City of Boston is holding a community meeting to share proposed design improvements for Massachusetts Avenue from Beacon Street to Harrison Avenue. This is a critical meeting. Will you be there? 

Vision Zero Priority Corridor Mass Ave Public Meeting
June 15, 2016, 6pm – 7:30pm
@ Saint Cecilia Parish, 18 Belvidere St, Boston

Through participating in this meeting you are demonstrating your support not just for a safer Mass Ave, but for strong Vision Zero implementation throughout Boston.

You can do a few things to help out:

  1. Share this with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to join you on Wednesday.
  2. Wear yellow to the meeting. Yellow is an international color of solidarity for those killed in crashes.
  3. Spread the word via social media before and during the meeting using #visionzero, #ProtectMassAve and#crashnotaccident 
  4. Speak up at the meeting. Tell the city about your personal experiences and the improvements you’d like to see on Mass Ave

Here are a few suggested talking points:

  • Thank you for your commitment to Vision Zero and making Mass Ave safer for everyone!
  • Please add protected bike lanes on both sides of Mass Ave, the whole way.
  • Re-pave Mass Ave by the Christian Science Center Plaza as soon as possible!
  • In areas where protected bike lanes can’t be added this year, please make a commitment to implement them as part of your long-term plan for the street.
  • Please make signals shorter to reduce the wait time for pedestrians crossing the street;
  • And give pedestrians at least a 6 second head start when they are crossing
  • Please make every intersection ‘no right on red’ — and enforce it!

This project is an important step in bringing the number of fatalities on our streets to zero and has the potential to be a model street for other safety improvements throughout Boston.

We know that improving Mass Ave will save lives. We hope to see you on June 15th!


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Michelle Wu’s Editorial on Biking in Boston July 22, 2016
      TweetThe Boston Globe recently published Boston City Council President Michelle Wu’s thoughts on improving bicyclist safety and promoting bike commuting in Boston by way of protected bike lanes.  It’s been passed around quite a bit in Boston cycling circles, but … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • I Am Heading Out To The Corn! July 22, 2016
      TweetI am going to be doing my 5th (!) RAGBRAI next week. It’s going to be hot, and fun, try not to break anything while I am gone.   Read some past RAGBRAI stories here.
      Boston Biker
    • Newbury Street Closed To Car Traffic One Day Next Month July 22, 2016
      TweetIn an effort to make it more like downtown crossing Newbury Street will be closed to cars one day next month (Aug 7th). The city’s decision to shut down Newbury Street to vehicular traffic on Sunday, Aug. 7, is drawing … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Councillor Michelle Wu Wants Your Help To Find Places For Better Bike Lanes July 18, 2016
      TweetSo lets tell her!   From Facebook Need some crowd-sourcing help to move protected cycling infrastructure! Can we generate a list of all the road segments in Boston where there’s already a painted bike lane next to parked cars? i.e. … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • No Need To Imagine New Infrastructure, Just Copy What Works July 13, 2016
      TweetHere is something I would love to see here.
      Boston Biker
    • Babes Bike Boston 2! July 9, 2016
      TweetIts happening AGAIN. The Babes Bike Boston race is back! From Femmechanics: Femmechanics (https://femmechanics.wordpress.com/) is hosting our 2nd annual alleycat next Saturday July 16th! BBB is an alleycat for FTW (femme and/or trans* and/or women) riders of all biking abilities, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Awesome Ad Featuring Boston Bike Polo Players! July 9, 2016
      Tweet Let the Games Begin from Rule Boston Camera on Vimeo. If you have never watched or played bike polo you are missing out, lots of fun, one of the most fun things you can do.
      Boston Biker
    • Cambridge Fast Tracks Inman Square Redesign June 30, 2016
      TweetThe city of Cambridge has decided to fast track the redesign of Inman square after the recent death there. Sigh…seems the best way to get shitty infrastructure fixed is to have someone die in it. We saw the same thing … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Jeff Jacoby Is A Dirty Sleaze Bag Who Tries To Get Attention When Cyclists Die June 29, 2016
      TweetIt seems Jeff Jacoby, resident murderous goon at the Globe, likes to make stupid public statements after cyclists are killed to try and squeeze just a little more attention for himself and his horrific view points.  I wrote way back in … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Drunk Driver Gets 12 Years For Killing Cyclist In Dorchester June 29, 2016
      TweetIn a rare turn of events a motorist was actually sentenced to jail time for killing a cyclists. All it took was him being drunk and driving without a license.  Nothing will bring back young Fritz Philogene, but at least justice … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker