Cycling Deaths: Who's to Blame?
A Boston University grad student was the fifth Boston cyclist to die in a crash this year. What must change to improve cycling safety?
Boston University Graduate School of Communication student Christopher Weigl was killed yesterday after he was hit by a tractor trailer on Commonwealth Avenue.
The tragedy marks the fifth time a cyclist has been killed on a Boston roadway in 2011. According to boston.com, there was a 5 percent increase in cycling-related injuries from 2011 to 2012. While that seems like an increase, you have to consider there was an estimated 31 percent increase in overall cycling in the city for the same period.
Is anyone to blame for the fatalities and increased cycling accidents? Drivers and cyclists have spent years blaming each other for run-ins, with drivers complaining the the cyclists run red lights and are erratic on the roadway, and cyclists arguing the drivers also run reds (especially when turning) and are not aware of their surroundings. But most folks agree both drivers and cyclists must respect the rules of the road.
Does Boston or the state deserve blame for the current roadway infrastructure, where bike lanes mysteriously end and sharrows are painted and never explained? Should the city consider separated lanes, like the cycle tracks Somerville's installing on Beacon Street? Or does the government deserve some credit for actively and aggressively adding bike infrastructure to promote cycling?
Share your views about culpability and ways to fix the problem in the comments below.