On Friday, June 21, 2024, Minh-Thi Nguyen, a 24-year-old student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was struck and killed by a truck making a right-hand turn onto Portland Street in Cambridge. According to news reports, Nguyen was riding through the intersection of Hampshire and Portland streets Friday morning when a truck turned colliding with her bicycle. She died from her injuries shortly after being transported to the hospital. This comes only weeks after a 55-year-old Florida woman was struck by a truck in Cambridge on June 7 at the intersection of Mount Auburn and DeWolfe streets, where she was reportedly on a BlueBike rental. Only a month before that, on May 2, 2024, a 76-year-old man was killed and another injured after they were hit by a vehicle in Taunton. In that case, the driver was cited for motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation. No criminal charges have been reported in the other two cases.

According to Mass.Gov, there were only five total motor vehicle-involved bicycle deaths in 2021. Currently, there have been three reported in the past two months. Mass.Gov also reported that “nearly one-third of bicyclist fatalities occurred at an intersection from 2017 to 2021, highlighting the importance of environment awareness for both drivers and bicyclists.” According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (NHTSA), bicyclist deaths are the highest between June and September with “failing to yield the right of way as the highest factor in fatal bike crashes, followed by bicyclists not being visible.”

bicyclist riding on the road

Some tips for avoiding collisions:

  • Ride a bike that is the right size and in working condition with proper lighting at night;
  • Wear a helmet, bright clothing, and reflective gear;
  • Try choosing routes with less traffic and slower speeds where possible;
  • Pay attention to the road and traffic, always anticipating what others may do;
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic obeying signs and lights as a vehicle would; and
  • Watch for pedestrians, car doors, drivers in reverse- always assume drivers cannot see you.

In addition to moving vehicles, cyclists are also often injured when drivers who are parked on the street open their car doors without looking to see if a cyclist is approaching, which can result in serious injury or death. Massachusetts law prohibits motor vehicle operators from opening a vehicle door “unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians” Mass. General Laws c.90 § 14. The same statute prohibits a driver who has passed a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction from making a right turn at an intersection or driveway “unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper.”

Bicycle riding can be a healthy and environmentally friendly means of transportation and an enjoyable summer activity. However, given the congestion of the streets in Boston and the surrounding towns and cities, safety must be a primary concern. However, if the driver of a vehicle is negligent causing a collision with you or a loved one on a bicycle, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for medical bills incurred as a result of your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The attorneys at SUGARMAN have decades of experience handling motor vehicle to cyclist accident claims. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a cycling accident and would like to speak to a SUGARMAN attorney, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at (617) 542-1000, or email us at info@sugarman.com.