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Cyclist squished by bus (unavoidable)-:(20 posts)

Cyclist squished by bus (unavoidable)-:kenyee
Jul 3, 2002 6:18 AM

She was in a bike lane when a guy opened a car door and jammed her. Don't think she could have done much else...

For those of you not in the area, Cambridge is one of the most bike-friendly cities around here (they're also one of the most "govt takes care of you" cities, but that's another story for another place :-)
Jul 3, 2002 6:23 AM
I can think of several things that would have made the accident avoidable. This was far from "unavoidable."

Nonetheless, this sucks. Damn.

How about involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide??GK
Jul 3, 2002 6:36 AM
Cited for opening a door into traffic?????

I'm no legal professional, but this person's actions, which are obviously citable, led directly to the death of a cyclist. Who's at fault? The cyclist in her bike lane?

"The 51-year-old Cambridge driver whose car door apparently struck Laird was cited for opening a door into traffic and driving an unregistered vehicle, said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo."
Jul 3, 2002 7:22 AM
Curious as to what would make the accident unavoidable.
I am on your side but, what would you have done in that situation ?
Just playing devils advocate
Jul 3, 2002 7:28 AM
*driver looks before opening door (and driver waits to open door)

*cyclist watches for drivers who open doors (I'm paranoid about this), and slow accordingly

*cyclist uses mirror and knows bus is behind (I'll take door number 1, thank you)

This is not to say the cyclist is "at fault." However, sometimes we can do things that help to avoid others doing things to us. Defensive riding.

Agree 100%PatM
Jul 3, 2002 7:42 AM
Point number one is a must - I am from the area and that street is very busy, I would think you would look in case the bus was going to take your door off.
Points two and three again I agree with you, and I am ultra paranoid about this to. I guess the way I read it at first it sounded like the driver opened the door into the bike knocking her down, giving her no option. But if she swerved to avoid the door, then hit the door, I guess I would have turned into the car.
here is another link on the story - the last line is well.....
I don't know about boston, but in NYC . . .cyclinseth
Jul 3, 2002 7:50 AM
if you open your car door and cause an accident, you are at fault.

Very biased article. It seems to me that the person in the car opened the door into the bicyclist path.
I wonder if it's possible to find Salsberg the attorney's e-mailtma
Jul 3, 2002 1:05 PM
address and let him know what you think his interpretation of the law is all about.
Sorry...I meant the cyclist at that moment in timekenyee
Jul 3, 2002 7:53 AM
Say you were the cyclist. Guy popped door open in front of you. The bus is 10ft behind you (bear in mind that heavy weight means the bus can't stop on a dime). What could you have done to avoid this?

Ideally, (1) would have happened, but ideally, people don't drink and drive, people don't fall asleep driving, etc. (meaning irresponsible people will be irresponsible)-:

I've seen an incident like this where the biker just slammed into the inside of the open door and stopped. I think not swerving may have been the only solution, but she would have had to be aware of the bus behind her (option 3) to cancel the natural swerve instinct.

Another possibility is the bus driver should have given her a wider berth, but she was in a bike lane which gave her a wide berth already, so I doubt that would have been viable.
re: (unavoidable)-: Just my theorylanterne rouge
Jul 3, 2002 7:58 AM
I think about this all the time. In So Cal there are always people opening their doors into bike lanes, most of the time the door is avoidable with just a quick flip of the handlebars and a swerve around the door (As I am sure this lady was trying to do.) Other times it is unavoidable (and please do not think I am blaming the cyclist, I am not.)It simply is physically unavoidable due to traffic passing by so closely. My theory in this situation is to tuck as tightly as possible, grab a handful of brakes, brace yourself for the impact, and TURN INTO THE CAR DOOR! Try to make it into the passenger compartment! I know it will hurt like hell and you may break a collarbone or something else, but it will keep you from being thrown into the passing traffic, being struck or run over by traffic and killed or maimed. You may even enjoy the bonus of knocking the snot out of the individual that opened the door into you! Anyway just an option that I have thought of, haven't put it into use yet, hope I never have to. By the way, I do believe the person in this case should be prosecuted for something more severe than just opening a door into traffic, what a shame.
Jul 3, 2002 8:01 AM
What if the driver had, instead, run a stop sign and killed the cyclist? Would that justify criminal prosecution? What's the difference?
Staying in shape can save your lifeLC
Jul 3, 2002 8:35 AM
This is why I say screw the "bike paths." If I think the bike path is dangerous then I ride like I am driving a car. They often run bike paths right next to parked cars in downtown areas, and usually for only 10-12 blocks and then the path just ends anyway. You get crammed in 3 feet of space between buses and parked cars and taxi drivers. Often you get cut off by drivers taking a no look right turn. No Thanks, for those 12 blocks I will just go fast enough to keep up with cars in downtown traffic. With all the lights you get plenty of rest anyway, so I practice some sprints/intervals. Staying in good shape can save your life in more ways than one!
My thoughts exactlyMiklos
Jul 3, 2002 9:17 AM
Bicycle lanes designed like that are very dangerous. I will ALWAYS take my lane in traffic in those situations. Might even piss some drivers off in the process, but it is survival.

Damn tragic event.

Staying in shape can save your lifeSlowRoadie
Jul 3, 2002 11:15 AM
I did the exact same thing when living in Philly. You're gonna get honked at, cursed out and flipped off, but a small price to pay for me.
A-hole driver...filtersweep
Jul 3, 2002 12:39 PM
...calls "his attorney" from the accident scene?

...but of course he "didn't do anything wrong" ?

I'm curious to know why the vehicle was "unregistered"

From the article, it appears she hit BOTH the door and then the bus.
You should call a lawyer in the same situationkenyee
Jul 3, 2002 12:49 PM
E.g., if you happen to be going too fast on a MUT (I know, MUTS are bad, etc.) and mow down a small kid in a blind corner, killing the kid, would you do the same?

There are too many people who swing doors open into traffic...I notice it way when I have to drive. If they don't care about having the door ripped off by another car, they certainly don't care about cyclists. Irresponsible people...

The other points are good. It is odd that the car was unregistered. The bus sounds like it was right next to her to have her go under the rear wheels instead of the front wheels...
busses are scaryDougSloan
Jul 3, 2002 1:07 PM
The problem with busses is that the motors are in the rear. How many times have you been surprised to look left and see a bus, but seconds later actually hearing it? Mirrors help.

Boston area sucks, period.grzy
Jul 3, 2002 1:14 PM
I grew up around there and know full well how bad things are. The roads are lousy and the drivers are worse. The place is crowded with far too many people hustling around on inadequate roads, sidewalks and cross walks. Just about everyone ignores all sorts of laws for one reason or another and most of the cops turn a blind eye to it all. Enforcement is something they joke about between donut breaks. The one exception is when Registry of Motor Vehicles routinely sets traps on city streets at the beginning of every month to snag people with expired registation and inspection stickers. Given the attitude of the RMV guy it's safe to say he's being punished for something and the Commonwealth needs revenue. Running red lights is sport and means that only 4 more cars can go. Pedestrians routinely jay walk and ignore traffic signals. Car doors get opened without people looking - it's fairly common to see cars with doors that have be wrenched off their hinges. There were a whole set of behaviors that I had to unlearn when I moved away.

Riding a bike on Mass. Ave. through Cambridge is probably one of the more dangerous things I could think of - bike lane or not. None of this is offered as any sort of an excuse or justification, but just an observation of how poorly the whole system works and how dangerous it is to be on a bike. Ultimately when on a bike you are going to come up short every single time.

I cringe everytime I go home for a visit and have to drive around Boston and Cambridge. The really unfortunate thing is that nothing ever changes about the situation and innocent people get hurt and killed.
Lawyers looking down on dead bodies?filtersweep
Jul 3, 2002 6:54 PM
"The man's lawyer, John Salsberg, arrived after the man called from the scene of the accident."

..there was probably a second lawyer on scene that left when he discovered the victim died (sorry, I couldn't help it).

Having a lawyer on the scene of an accident makes no sense to me... what are they going to do to help the situation? Lawyers generally encourage "lying by omission."

Seriously, nothing against lawyers in general... they are great when you need them. But the driver having one at his back and call?
It's sadly the way our society workskenyee
Jul 4, 2002 6:56 AM
I'm sure Doug would know better, but from what I understand, you should call a lawyer if you even remotely are involved w/ the death or injury of another human being. If you value not losing your house, being arrested and run into jail, getting your career ruined from defamation by the media, etc. (this sounds cold given this circumstance where I think the driver has a lot of guilt...sorry)-:

That said, I'm sure the guy will get sued by the family of the cyclist (civil suit). I doubt it'll make the news either, so most people will think the guy "got away with it". That's how our society works...