Regular readers of this space know that this is one of my pet peeves: a general public and criminal justice system that looks the other way when a driver kills someone on a two-wheeled vehicle, whether it’s a bicycle, scooter or motorcycle. (The last time I wrote about this was here.) This is a problem that exists everywhere, but is particularly acute here in socially conscious Massachusetts which is thick with colleges and universities — and people who ride two-wheeled vehicles.
Now comes word that another jury of our peers has deemed the killing of a person on a bike to be no big deal. If a person in another car had done the exact same thing, this guy would be on his way to a trial and jail time. But not here. Not even in true blue Massachusetts:
Within Boston’s growing cycling community, a perceived lack of criminal prosecution of motorists involved in fatal bike crashes has been a regular source of outrage in recent years. That ire came to a fever pitch last week, when a grand jury investigation of a Wellesley bike crash with seemingly copious evidence — video footage, witnesses defending the deceased bicyclist, a truck driver who had fled the scene and had an extensive history of driving infractions — came back with no charges.
The grand jury’s decision, bicyclists contend, is evidence of a wider problem: Most people do not respect the rights of bike riders.
“The message that we got from this particular case,” said David Watson, executive director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, “is that, clearly, members of the general public still don’t care enough about bicyclists’ safety.”
Historically, prosecutors have been seen as reluctant to seek charges in crashes between bikes and cars. Civil cases have long been the realm of justice for families. But cyclists say they want better, and they had hoped to get it in the case against truck driver Dana E.A. McCoomb, accused of striking and killing cyclist Alexander Motsenigos, 41, on Weston Road in Wellesley.
You can read the rest of the story here.
I know of what I speak: I spent five days in the hospital (and months recuperating) after a Boston driver made a right turn in front of me on my large 250cc scooter — technically big enough to be a motorcycle and easy to see — from the far left lane of three-lane one-way street.
Unbeknownst to me, the Boston Police officer responding didn’t even take a complete police report, so when the time came for me to take the necessary next steps in these situations — file a civil suit because the criminal justice system refused to do its job — I couldn’t even find the name of the person who turned in front of me. The officer hadn’t bothered to write it down. (All I remember is when he jumped out of his SUV to check on me, the idiot who made the illegal turn in front of me was still wearing bud earphones — in both ears.)
RIP Alexander Montesignos. I hope your wife finds a good attorney who can ruin the financial life of the guy who killed you.
That may seem harsh, but that apparently is the only way that society might ever start to change.