Investigation into October 5, 2016 Fatal Bike Collision in Cambridge Complete

On October 5th at approximately 8:08 a.m. Cambridge Police received several 911 calls reporting a collision involving a bicycle and a commercial tractor-trailer truck on Massachusetts Avenue at Porter Square. Upon arrival investigators determined that the operator of the bicycle, Bernard Lavins, 60, of Lexington, was deceased as a result of the collision. The driver remained on scene.

The investigation, which included, but was not limited to, a reconstruction of the collision, a visibility study, a review of available surveillance footage and witness interviews, found that both the tractor-trailer truck and the cyclist were traveling southbound on Massachusetts Avenue at the time of the crash.  The investigation further concluded that the cyclist exited the bike lane, which continues along Massachusetts Avenue to the intersection for Somerville Avenue, with the intention to turn left approximately 36 feet prior to the crosswalk.

The reconstruction of the collision, which included an analysis of crash debris as well as the final resting place of the truck and bicycle, indicates that the fatal collision occurred in the center of the middle lane of Massachusetts Avenue.  The cyclist was fatally struck by the tractor-trailer truck, with the impact occurring in the center of the truck, and subsequently struck by another sedan traveling in the same lane. The visibility study and witness statements concluded that the cause of the crash was the blind spot in front of the tractor-trailer and that it was very likely that the driver of the truck could not perceive the cyclist as the cyclist entered the lane of the travel without signaling and based on the cyclist’s speed and location.

There is no indication that mechanical failure, conditions of the roadway or the roadway design contributed to this collision. The operator of the truck was not speeding, impaired or districted by cell phone or other objects at the time of the crash. 

Based on the investigation and all available evidence, no criminal charges or civil motor vehicle infractions will be filed against the operator of the truck or the sedan.

The collision was investigated by the Cambridge Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. 

MassBike strongly disagrees with these findings and plans to present a public response.