Image from WCVB

Image from WCVB

It’s heart-wrenching to see the pictures. A 17-year-old kid’s bike lying on its side, a mess of bent metal, a helmet nearby and a large hole in the passenger side windshield of the car involved. 

It happened yesterday afternoon not long after 4pm, before the true commute started on Walnut Street near Duncklee. Police got the call at 4:15pm according to the log. I heard about it while in my wife’s new office waiting for the Verizon guy to show up. He had been delayed by the street closure. Police shut it down for the investigation. 

I have a 17-year-old who bikes around the city. In fact, earlier that same day my children had biked together from our home near Waltham to Newton Centre. 

Now, before the anti-bike folks start screaming and yelling about bikes not belonging on city streets, keep in mind that this is a relatively wide part of Walnut Street. From the looks of where the bike landed, the kid seemed to be in the bike lane. He was wearing a helmet. At last check he was in serious condition at Children’s Hospital. I bike on this section frequently as do many others. Our job should be to make our roads safer for everyone, not try to prohibit travel. Maybe it’s protected bike lanes, maybe it’s traffic calming measures, maybe it’s better signage or more prominent road signs. There are a lot of things that can be done. 

Fox 25 reports that the bike appeared to be headed north and the driver headed south. But there is much we don’t know right now. The driver could have swerved into the lane. The bike could have swerved into traffic. If it’s true that he was headed north on the southbound side of the road, it would indicate that the cyclist was not acting entirely appropriately. Though, if he was in the lane then his direction should have mattered little to the car. 

I’ve heard a rumor that the driver complained of solar glare, though that area is pretty well shaded.  

I hope the boy recovers soon and can be back at school quickly. I also hope that this investigation can be done quickly and efficiently and we can learn from this. That said, 5 months later we are still waiting to hear more about the deadly Sweet Tomatoes crash

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