MassBike Responds to Cambridge Tragedy

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition is saddened to learn of the tragic Cambridge accident that took the life of 65-year-old bicyclist Marcia Deihl. An accomplished musician, Deihl was struck and killed by a container truck about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday.

No charges have been filed against the driver as of this writing.

“Ironically our staff was working in Washington, DC at the National Bike Summit when we learned the news of this loss,” said Richard Fries, executive director. “We were working on Vision Zero and countless other initiatives with Congress to make our streets calmer, quieter and safer for every user when we learned within the same hour that both a cyclist and a pedestrian were struck and killed by trucks in the Boston metro area.”

MassBike, under the stewardship of its former executive director David Watson had worked with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to both educate and equip truck drivers to more safely operate in and around Bay State streets.

“Apparently we need to do a lot more work not just in changing rules but in changing the mindset of every operator of large vehicles that cyclists and pedestrians are a part of the streetscape,” added Fries.

MassBike will report on the findings of the Cambridge Police Department investigation.

2 Responses to MassBike Responds to Cambridge Tragedy

  1. Tracy Hu March 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

    I wanted to share with you my experiences in a recent crash on 3/16/15 in Central Sq.

    I was going northbound on River St in the bike lane, approximately 1/3 of the way through the Mass Ave intersection when an Air Gas truck made a right turn from the left lane, without signalling, into my path. I braked, hopped off my bicycle, but the truck continued with the turn, pulling me underneath the trailer.

    While I didn’t need an ambulance, I am still recovering from cuts and soreness, and my bike is being repaired. I’m incredibly thankful for all the pedestrians that rushed to my assistance. Without their help in stopping the truck, I probably would have been crushed by the wheel as the driver appeared to have no intention of stopping.

    After the accident, the driver made no admission of fault and indicated to the officer that I had struck his truck and that his mirror may have been damaged by bystanders.

    I did stay to file a report with officer Christine Gilbertson. Yet I was disheartened to see the contents of the police report today – none of the witnesses’ info were listed, and their statements omitted. The time of the accident is erroneously recorded, off by over 90 minutes. I was even more dismayed to find out the driver was given no citation, nor did Officer Gilbertson find him at fault for the accident despite having confirmed the unsafe turn with several witnesses on the scene. Despite telling her repeatedly that I was bleeding, the report indicated that I reported no injuries.

    It’s appalling to me that less than 1 week after Marcia Diehl’s death few blocks away, this is how the Cambridge Police Dept responds to a cyclist hit. I believe Officer Gilbertson’s action is a prime example of

    Massachusetts takes pride in having excellent bike laws that hold drivers for the common right hook accident. Yet these laws won’t protect cyclists unless they are enforced. In my case, I believe the Cambridge Police has utterly failed in holding the driver accountable for an accident that could have taken my life.

    I truly hope to see some positive action to improve cycling safety.

    • Bicyclist March 23, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      Wow, this is truly horrible. The officer failed to do her job properly, and no one is held accountable. I hope you continue to share your story so that people can see what a problem this continues to be–no improvements have been made whatsoever. Shameful.