Sunday, November 22, 2009

Newton Cyclist Dragged 860 Feet in Natick Bike Accident

A 30 year old cyclist from Newton was seriously hurt while riding on Route 16 in South Natick at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 20. The cyclist was struck by a woman in a 2002 Volvo. The cyclist had front and rear lights on his bicycle.

Following the initial impact, the bicyclist became entangled underneath the Volvo and suffered "trauma consisting of burns from engine and exhaust system as well as the road surface" according to Natick PD spokesman Brian Grassley. The driver did not realize she had struck the cyclist until another motorist flashed his lights and honked his horn to get her attention. The fire department used the jaws of life to lift the vehicle off the cyclist. The vehicle was placed up on blocks and the cyclist was immobilized on a back board and then slid out from underneath. He was medflighted to UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester. The cyclist sustained serious injuries but is expected to survive. Gouges from the bicycle scraping along the pavement are visible in the roadway where the incident took place.

As of this writing, no charges have been filed agaisnt the driver.


  1. Hello John,

    There is an important issue here: Can motorists and cyclists share a road? This amounts to asking whether protective rules can be framed for both the segments to follow. I believe rules are important not only for sharing a road but also to ensure motorists drive with restraint independent of the vehicle they drive. Else might shall emerge as right on the roads.

    The following two posts against the accident news show the sympathies are divided but the issue I have stated is open:
    - The driver didn't know she had hit anything. A driver going the opposite direction on Rte 16 turned around and caught up with her forcing her off the road. He told her there was a bike sticking out from under her car. Of course she screamed. There was a man stuck underneath her car. He was stuck between the bike and the exhaust. During the time they were trying to extricate the man, the driver of the vehicle left the scene of the accident. She walked to her friends house down the street.
    - I wonder if the guy on the bike will think twice about riding on a road in the dark? Cyclists think they own the road, we don't have all the facts don't be so quick to blame the woman driving the car.

  2. Thank you for your comment. I don't know all the facts of this incident but I can state that it is legal for cyclists to ride bicycles after dark, so long as they have proper lighting/reflectors. This cyclist had working lights so he was probably legal to be on the road. I agree that cyclists have an obligation to ride responsibly and follow the rules of the road, but I see no evidence that this cyclist did anything wrong from the facts that have been reported thus far.

    In contrast, the driver dragged a bicyclist 860 feet under her car. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that the cyclist was at fault for the initial impact (again, no evidence of this), 860 feet is a long distance to drag someone or something under your car. The fact that this driver continued moving for so long after the initial impact suggests to me that driver distraction (think blackberry, cellphone, etc.) was a factor here. I don't know how else to explain it--a Volvo is not a very large vehicle and you'd think an attentive driver would have noticed something.

    Thanks again for the comment.

  3. I heard the accident, although I live a few blocks down, and it was very violent and long crash. The metal marks from the bike are still there.

    There are too many folks 9/10 who talk on the cell when they should have two hands on the wheel on Rt. 16 and elsewhere and many are women (and men) which I am and I am embarassed to say. I refuse to speak on my cell, while driving, as I cherish the privilege and responsibility of driving.

    The road is not a place to have a chat and although cylcists also need to be very careful on that road with lights and situational awarenedd, and elsewhere I find it(as well are the community, find it hard to believe she wasn't driving distracted-most hear a can of soda if I drive over one.

    The worst part of this story is no accident report yet, the media and newspapers are very frustrated by this and the public wants/needs to know. Would a Ford, Chevy driver get this kind of kid gloves treatment. She, like Tiger Woods, need to face the music, and explain and the police need to cite and revoke license-as a lesson to all -driving demands situational awareness and when you are chattting it up on the phone - drinking texting,don't do it behind a wheel. Keep the heat on..biclists and call the Natick Police and ask these legitamite questions.

    This hard lesson--citing et al, if it is called for will save lives. We also have to have a Ban all distracted driving as 17 states have and number is growing. Mass is asleep at the wheel-cyclists the state needs your support for this law to pass. Chairman Joe Wagner D-chicopee of Mass House got a law passed in the House last summer and it is being refiled. This is a very important safety step for the roads safety. Our hearts and prayers, in the meantime, go to the cyclist...