The Boston Cyclists Union confirmed with Boston Police that a 24-year-old woman, now identified as Marlene Pineda by the Boston Globe, has died after being hit by a car at Commonwealth Avenue and Kelton Street sometime shortly before 4:17 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 9. Both the Accident Reconstruction and Homicide units of the BPD were on scene. As the incident has prompted a death investigation, no further information is available from the police report. Unconfirmed witnesses have apparently posted to Universal Hub describing the crash.
An earlier crash on on Aug. 8 at around 8:20 pm on Cambridge Street near the Massachusetts Turnpike in Allston involved head trauma. Boston EMS reported the crash as a motor vehicle strike, but witnesses told Boston Police that the cyclist hit the curb. One witness in contact with the BCU noted the bike was “mangled.” And the victim himself came forward to the BCU after being released from the hospital Thursday. Though he could not remember the crash due to head trauma (a common occurrence for serious crash victims), he stated that he is a very experienced cyclist (a racer in fact) and that it was unlikely he had just hit a curb. He suspects a hit and run.
Any witnesses to the crashes are encouraged to call the Boston Police first, Brighton’s District 14 is at 343-4260. You can also call the BCU as a way to aid our work on improving crash reporting at 617-620-1989.
The intersection at Commonwealth Avenue and Kelton Street does see a higher than average number of accidents involving either pedestrians or cyclists, as older, non-bike-separated data shows. The rate there is approximately .8 accidents per year. Average for all the city’s intersections is .02 per year. The rate at Cambridge Street and I-90 is 1.2 per year. Due to high speeds on both Cambridge Street and Western Avenue, the BCU is currently gathering support for physically separated bike lanes, or “cycletracks” on both streets.
According to Boston EMS reports on bicycle crashes, now in their own category thanks to BCU advocacy, ambulances are responding to between 40 and 60 incidents involving bicycles per month during the summer in the City of Boston. Over half of those do not involve motor vehicles, and most, thankfully, are not as severe as these we are seeing this week.
What we know about the details of bike crashes in Boston is still very little, as the data has only been collecting for 2 months. But based on Cambridge data and the little we do know, here are some tips for staying safe:
- Wear a helmet, and make sure your friends do too. Doing so significantly reduces the chance of serious or fatal head injuries.
- Always stop first before crossing an intersection with a red light or stop sign. Cars can pop out where you least expect them, and even more quickly when they have the right of way.
- Stay out of the ‘door zone.’ Ride as if each parked car you pass is about have its door flung open.
- Be aware of cars that are turning left from the opposite direction. Often you cannot see them when they are darting through the traffic you are riding alongside. And they can’t see you.
- Take the lane at intersections. Done safely, this prevents right-turning cars from hitting you.
- Do not wear earphones. As nice as this might make your riding experience, it also makes you less aware.
- Always cross trolley tracks at a 90 degree angle if possible (at least 45 degrees). All bikes are at risk of being caught in the tracks. If you find yourself in a desperate last-minute situation, try to hop the tracks.
- Tell your friends the above.