16 Seconds: The Killing of Anita Kurmann

MassBike Challenges Findings in Kurmann Death
BPD Exonerates Trucker Despite Video Evidence


Today, we are using video evidence to challenge a police investigation that failed to charge a truck driver in the 2015 death of Dr. Anita Kurmann.

We have made the video available to the public here. Please note, that this video may be difficult for some viewers to watch due to the nature of the content. To view the full accompanying documentation to the video, please click here.

The police investigation put 100 percent of the blame on Dr. Kurmann, a renowned endocrinologist killed on Aug. 7, 2015. That morning, a truck driver swept right from Massachusetts Avenue in Boston and turned onto Beacon Street, crushing the surgeon under the rear wheels.  

“This video shows this doctor is doing everything right. She is doing everything legally,” said Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike. “The truck driver, having overtaken her, operates without due caution or care, crushes this woman to death, and drives away.”

No charges have been filed against Matthew Levari of New Jersey, the driver of the 18-wheel truck that killed Kurmann. Despite repeated requests to the Boston Police Department to review the investigation no progress has been made.

While this working group of advocates believe the Boston Police did a thorough investigation of the crash, investigators did not do a fair and complete crash analysis. The police report confuses the presence of a shared road marking (or sharrow) as a bike lane. The marking is there primarily to alert motorists of the presence of bicycles. This is all the more reason Mr. Levari should have been aware of Dr. Kurmann on the roadway.

Since 2010 nearly 30 percent of the bicycle fatalities in Massachusetts involved large vehicles.

“We appreciate the challenges of operating a 48-foot truck, especially in an urban environment,” noted Fries. “We realize it is a hard job and an important job. But it comes with a commensurate degree of caution. This video clearly demonstrates that Mr. Levari did not operate with that degree of caution.” MassBike, along with other transportation advocates, are pushing for the passage of An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities (H2877/S1905) which is currently in the Joint Transportation Committee on Beacon Hill. The legislation includes calls for improved convex mirrors and side guards on all trucks contracted with the state and for a standardized crash reporting tool to be developed by the state to be used by first responders when cyclists or pedestrians are involved in a crash with a motor vehicle. For a full summary of the bill click here.

Showing 17 reactions

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  • Bernd Häusler
    https://youtu.be/mra-IDlEUjE?t=54 This cyclist shows the only way to survive such crossings! His way was marked and legal then. Now they made Anita Kurmanns path to death mandatory, by marking it as a dedicated bike lane. And they deleted the markings on the lane, making the safe path of the shown cyclist illegal.
    Just look google sattelite:
    42°21’03.1"N 71°05’22.3"W
    42.350860, -71.089519
  • Yuliya Epifantseva
    To anyone defending the driver, imagine it was a pedestrian/runner starting to cross at the very same spot. There is no way to tell the driver’s intentions even with the blinkers on, because all you see is a truck swinging AWAY from the turn. He absolutely has the duty to slow down and make sure no one had misread his actions. He just speeds through, and she (going straight on green!) doesn’t have a chance even to walk back due to his speed – if his driving is not reckless, I don’t know what could ever be. The fact that she could have been more careful has nothing to do with his culpability – unless you advocate that we should always stop on green and look both ways.
  • Dan Savage
    I own a local business and we are always taking time at the end of the day to go for a bike ride. At http://www.capecodremodelingservices.com/ we take safety serious and always wear our potective equipment.
  • robin schulman
  • tony Vallentine
    he passed her so unless he was doing something besides driving, he knew she was there. What does the traffic do when they approach an intersection with a green light and are planning to continue on to cross through the intersection? Stop? wait at the green light for motor vehicles in the center lane to make ‘illegal’ terns to the right? Come on, if you are a cyclist, you know paint on a street saves no lives. How many people park in bike lanes? How many motor vehicles operate in bike lanes. I ride on the right side of the road, not the middle. There is no place to go when you have cars on both sides of you. I do not trust anybody behind the wheel nor should anybody else. From what I see was operating in a safe manner because she did not know the truck in the center lane was making a turn to the right. she wasnt trying to pass the truck, she was trying to proceed through the intersection with a green light with the flow of traffic and was crushed by the back wheels of a truck slowing down to her left cutting her off as he was in the wrong lane to make a turn operating a rig way too big for that intersection.Paint or no paint, lane or no lane, he knew she was there, he had passed her before the intersection she on the right side and should have let her go. He is accountable for running her over.
  • Philip Frank
    Tony, do you hear what you are saying?
    How do you know, or, what makes you think that driver knew she was there?
    Do you understand that what you are saying is a lane, the area she was in, was in reality not a traffic lane. No One was supposed to be driving there or using it as a “lane”. It was not a traffic lane.
    Do you really feel, as you stated, that it is ok for one group of road users to disregard the rules of the road? Rules that are there to prevent accidents.
    Why is it acceptable to you for one group of legitimate road users to be accountable for their actions and the irresponsible actions of others, and another group of legitimate road users to escape that responsibility of their actions?

    I don’t even own a motor vehicle, haven’t for nearly 8 years. When I’m not working, I ride a bike, or walk. One of those bikes has been ridden through 48 of our 50 states.
  • James Holz
    He should’ve known she was there but I don’t think he did. He missed his turn on a different street and had to turn on an alternative street. That’s a bad deal….especially in Boston. That would throw anyone off. But still in my mind that’s no excuse that someone should die.
    Who in their right mind would on purposely crush someone like that?? I believe he would’ve let her by if he knew she was there. All the stupid laws in the world don’t Trump common sense.
    The whole thing is a damn shame and I’ll be damned if this ever happens on my watch.
  • tony Vallentine
    OK you are right. The truck knew she was there, but so what, he had every right to crush her with no regard to her or her safety. If im driving in a car and a bike does something’ against the law’, hey run them over, its their fault. The trucker knew she was there and had to know he was going to cut her off. He would have not killed her if he slowed and let her pass especially since he was not in a turning lane but the center of the road. Safe, courteous drivers would yield to bicycles when they are not in the turning lane but off to the center. His oversized rig should not have been there at all. He killed a woman for what? She was at fault and in his way and he wouldn’t yield for a moment to let her go through the intersection.
  • Philip Frank
    Tony Vallentine,
    The truck had passed her, as the video speculated, while going over the bridge two blocks prior. The truck was stopped at a traffic signal, moved forward with traffic after the signal changed, with right turn signal flashing, as Dr. Kurmann overtook the truck on the right.
    Both made serious judgment errors. One violated several laws. One did not.
    The traffic control device, in this case a bicycle lane and no passing on right law were disregarded. These laws are to prevent accidents and for safety.
  • James Holz
    As a truck driver I’m always aware of what’s around me even when I can’t see what’s in my blind spot. 99.9% of the time know whats there especially in an urban situation like this one with bicyclists swarming everywhere. It could be the difference between life and death and having to live with someone’s untimely violent death on my conscience for the rest of my life.

    Please be more careful. Don’t trust anyone or expect the truck driver to see you when they’re making that wide right turn when you know that’s what they’re going to do. A nice young lady is dead because of it. If only she had stopped. I sure as hell don’t trust any kind motorist and neither should you. We can point fingers all we want, it won’t bring her back. Let’s learn from this!! Please be very diligent and you all have my promise that I will do likewise.
  • tony Vallentine
    the Dr was nor passing the truck, Phil, the truck was passing her and then makes a turn from the center lane no less. What you see is the bicycle starting to move up on the right because the truck is slowing to make a right turn from the middle lane. no car would do that. no legal size truck would do that either. he should not have ever been there in the first place. He should have seen her no matter what and had no business expecting her to disappear while making a wide sweeping turn, crushing her and not even stopping. Right away or not its not legal to kill people with your truck.
  • Philip Frank
    There is a reason that there was a marked bike lane there. A “Traffic Control Device”
    At :26, the bike lane is clearly visible.
    At :50, it shows a cyclist in the bile lane.
    At 1:15, it shows Dr. Kurmann. Where is she?
    In MA, it is illegal to pass on the right unless the vehicle being overtaken is turning left. Dr. Kurmann is clearly attempting to pass on the right. The trucks right turn signal is.flashing.
    Yes, several laws were violated during this incident.
  • James Holz
    Don’t ignore turn signals on big trucks then ride into the blind spot!!! This girl should still be alive and practicing medicine. What a waste of a good productive life.
  • Anonymous
  • tony Vallentine
    I had not seen the video until now on wbz 4, but as a long time 2 wheel commuter, I suspected what had happened and I am appalled that the BP has done nothing . I also cannot believe that the DA is only interested in cases he can win. The truck driver had plenty of opportunity to see the cyclist as he approached from behind her but continued to make the turn while passing her. A few years ago the same kind of accident took place at the corner of comm. ave and St Paul where a garbage truck crushed a cyclist making a similar turn as I was cycling to work on St Paul street.
    As cyclists we are rarely in any safe zone on boston streets and must constantly be aware of all traffic around us anticipating any and all possible scenarios . That still does not lay blame in any way on the cyclist. If the city is washing their hands in this and will not prosecute, I hope civil suits happen. There is no way this should go unchallenged ,
  • Christopher Darling
    Please continue to hold cyclist safety in high regard. We all appreciate efforts to keep us safe on the road.
  • Paul White
    we have the same problem in NYC. thanks to massbike for not ‘moving on’ like so many are inclined to do in these situations. not moving on and rubbing peoples noses in it is the only thing that works to change culture, laws, behavior

    we have not solved this yet, as you can see: https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/01/23/e-bikes-are-banned-in-nyc-but-crush-a-man-with-an-illegal-big-rig-and-de-blasio-wont-care/