Second Lincoln Fatality, Waltham Collision Showcase Poor Bike Conditions
News of the first crash on Wednesday, Aug. 17, came in the morning. Normally that would have filled up our caseload for the day here at MassBike.
But in pursuing details about the crash, we learned of a second crash on the same day. This one proved fatal.
Both involved large motor vehicles, a pickup truck and an SUV.
The first victim was Sean Kavanaugh, 61, of Carlisle. He frequently rode and commuted in and around Metro Boston. He frequently joined group rides with the Monsters, a group anchored in neighboring Concord.
He has been a longstanding Pan Mass Challenge rider, raising tens of thousands of dollars as a member of the Flames team. His page from that charity event is posted here.
Reports indicate that as he rode eastbound and downhill along Trapelo Road in Waltham on Wednesday, Aug. 17, a negligent driver of a westbound pickup truck suddenly turned left and struck this husband and father of three broadside. The impact moved him roughly 20 feet before he came to rest beneath the vehicle. The driver, as yet unnamed, stayed at the scene. The office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan stated that the driver would be charged, but has yet to specify what those charges would be.
Much of those charges depended on whether Kavanaugh would survive such a violent trauma. Medical teams rushed him to Lahey Burlington where he remained with a fractured skull and multiple left leg fractures. Latest reports indicate he has not suffered spinal injuries. Although his condition had improved he remained in the intensive care unit there.
As MassBike pursued information on Kavanaugh, reports came in on a second vehicle crash involving a Mark Himelfarb, 57, of Westford. This event occurred on Virginia Road, a popular bicycle route in Lincoln, near the Hanscom Air Field. Unconfirmed reports indicate the eastbound cyclist rode uphill from the airfield towards a 90-degree left turn to Old Bedford Road. There is no intersection, just a left turn from Virginia Road on to Old Bedford Road. The speed limit on the road is just 25 mph. An SUV reportedly struck the cyclist near that turn, which has a stop sign for westbound traffic on Old Bedford Road. MassBike has not been able to determine which direction the SUV traveled.
The SUV struck the bicycle and rider with sufficient force to kill him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Although the driver remained at the scene and police impounded the vehicle, no charges have been filed as of this writing.
A father of two, Himelfarb worked at iRobot and had planned to join his son for a lunchtime ride. He never arrived for that ride.
His obituary is published here.
Earlier this year another crash involving a motor vehicle killed a cyclist in Lincoln. Eugene Thornberg of Wayland died along Route 126 of injuries sustained on June 16. No charges were filed against that driver. The speed limit along that stretch is posted at 30 mph.
Family and friends of Thornberg will be hosting a ghost bike installation ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 10. While the Town of Lincoln will allow the ceremony to happen, officials will not allow the ghost bike to remain in place permanently.
All three of these crashes were along routes popular for commuting, training and touring cyclists. There are no bicycle lanes or markings in any of the three routes.
MassBike will continue to seek more information on these tragedies.
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Yet, when Paul Giragosian struck and killed a woman at night outside of a dark sidewalk, Ryan and Ryan rushed to name and charge him. Likewise, other drivers have also been named prior to arraignment. Giragosian was cleared of all charges, though hampered from getting his driving license back.
I hope MassBike can help put pressure on police and DAs to come up with consistent policy and more timely action.
6 riders blowing through a red light in Lexington
10+ riders blow through stop signs in Concord, Lincoln, and Lexington
10+ taking a right on red when sign clearly states no turn on red
Group rides taking up a full lane of traffic, talking, chatting, while cars are waiting to pass, this maybe legal but it sure pisses the drivers off, so much so they seem to see how close they can get their cars without actually hitting them.
So is it a wonder why some drivers are so callus because they see this behavior every day in the previous mentioned towns which has so many cyclists on its roads.
I am STRONG believer in punishment for drivers who hurt or kill cyclists and sadly you never seem to see it. But maybe we own some of this by not OBEYING the laws and by law enforcement not citing bad cycling behavior. Yes it sucks to come to stop at a stop sign on a hill and un-clip or wait for a light to turn green, but we can’t have it both ways, expecting laws to be passed for drivers that support cyclists then seeing cyclist disregard the basic traffic laws the cars must comply with. I believe a campaign to support proper cycling behavior would go a long in getting laws passed and prosecution of drivers who kill or injure cyclists. Right now they are just plain POed watching cyclists continue to break the law…