tractor trailers in the city

I was riding to work on Mass Ave in the pouring rain on Tuesday, not having a bad time, when I got to the intersection of Albany Street, where that big construction site is.  A huge tractor-trailer truck was making a right turn, and I was riding slowly, distracted by the side of it, which was a giant arrow pointing at the cab with text that read THIS IS OUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET.

The truck made the turn and I got up to the intersection and found a girl and her bicycle lying in the middle of the road!  I stopped to help, and a cop and a guy helped get her out of the street and called the ambulance.  They couldn’t seem to track down the truck or the driver, who didn’t appear to know s/he had been involved in an accident.

I waited with the cyclist for the ambulance.  She was wearing a helmet, which she was grateful for, and was bruised and shaken, but OK.  She said she’d been riding fast, trying to get to work on time, and wasn’t able to brake fast enough in the rain to avoid running into the side of the truck.  I was so glad she was OK!  She could easily have hit the truck, hit the pavement, and then been run over by the rear of the truck without the driver having a clue.

But this brings me to my point.  Why are tractor-trailers allowed to drive in the city?  How many people have to be killed by them before the rules change?  A few years back, a pedestrian was killed by at the corner of Mass Ave and Prospect by a truck making a turn onto Prospect Street.  Tractor trailers making turns present an enormous risk to nearby humans.  They are out of proportion with the streets of our city and the sidewalks and sides of roads.  Cyclists and pedestrians are gnats compared to these behemoths.

I propose a system whereby the goods are delivered to the outskirts of the city and then distributed via smaller size trucks that are not a full story over the streets of our city.  I also propose that large liquid delivery trucks, are outlawed, and a smaller size truck used instead.  I wonder if the cities of Cambridge and Boston track, in their accident stats, what kinds of vehicles are most often involved in serious accidents.

In any case, stay free and stay safe, my cycling buddies and nemeses!  Intersections are easy places for accidents, and 18-wheelers and buses are not to be trifled with!

Be especially on your guard at these spots:

“The highest crashes in these three categories in the past two years occurred at Cambridge and Prospect streets; 725 Concord Ave.; 100 Cambridgeside Place; Mass. Ave. and Vassar; and Mass. Ave. and State Street.”

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