Despite overwhelming evidence of negligence, a grand jury declined to charge the driver who killed a bicyclist in Sullivan Square earlier this year. This comes on the heels of a crash last week in which a truck recklessly drove over a bike. Both were clear cases of failure to look and show concern for others, despite driving a giant death machine.
But there are other factors at play here. Bike advocates including the Boston Cyclists Union and MassBike have pointed out the lack of empathy found in people who don't bike: they simply don't know what it's like, and they relate to the driver and not the cyclist. Or perhaps they just believe the myth that bicyclists disregard traffic laws more than drivers and thus are inclined to assume the cyclist must have been doing something wrong.
Either way, the car-centric street design is largely responsible for putting the cyclist Owen McGrory is such a vulnerable position. This accident and many others could have easily been prevented. The City of Boston has a plan to reconstruct the entire area, replacing the rotary and its approaches with an actual neighborhood, but it is still sitting on a shelf. The area has just been completely repaved and there are now some bike lanes, which I guess is helpful but they disappear where they are most needed. Probably because "there's no room", in other words "cars are still king in Boston".
So the area is still a major danger zone. Those of us who work in the area will continue to put our lives on the line, and the next person who tells me "be safe" or "be careful over there" ... just don't say anything.