Beacon Street

Beacon Street has been a major Boston thoroughfare since the 19th Century. It continues to be one of the primary routes for commuters and travelers throughout Boston.

The street was identified by both the Boston Police Department and the annual Boston Bikes Accident Survey as being one of the top locations of bicycle accidents in Boston. Although the city is becoming more

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com, our experienced team of injury lawyers are familiar with the complex nature of urban traffic and also with these sometimes complicated cases.

Oftentimes, bicycle accidents are caused by more than one factor, and it’s imperative to identify all of those in order to ensure injured cyclists are adequately compensated for their losses.

Beacon Street Facts

Beacon Street starts one-way road near Treemont Street, passing at the Massachusetts State House and then becoming a two-lane bi-directional road at Beacon Hill.

It continues that way until Charles Street, at which point it again becomes a one-way avenue running through Back Bay until Kenmore Square. The street goes on from there around Fenway Park, through Brookline, into Brighton, past Boston College and into Newton.

A recent comprehensive report on bicycle safety in Boston indicated that Beacon Street was named in the top five roads with the most dangerous crashes by both the Boston Police Department and the Boston Bikes Accident Survey.

Specifically, the intersection of Beacon Street and Massachusetts Avenue had more bicycle crashes than any other intersection. It was also two blocks from the second-riskiest intersection for cyclists.

It’s well-established that 60 percent of all bike crashes happen at street intersections. The top two crash-prone intersections in Boston are:

  • Beacon Street and Massachusetts Avenue – 14 collisions
  • Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue – 12 collisions

It was at this intersection that two high-profile bicycle accidents occurred in recent years.

Bike Accidents on Beacon Street

The intersection of Beacon Street and Massachusetts was the site of a number of serious and fatal bicycle accidents in recent years, including:

  • The May 2013 death of Dr. Kanako Miura, 36, a scientist visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An expert in humanoid robotics credited with developing a more human-like walk for bipedal robots, she was riding her bike on Beacon Street in Kenmore Square when a large truck struck the cyclist, dragged her 75 feet and then fled. The driver of the truck was later identified.
  • The August 2015 death of Dr. Anita Kurmann, a Swiss surgeon and scientist, who had come to Boston to launch her own lab. She was fatally struck by a flatbed truck. A large crowd later placed a “ghost bike” at the intersection and held a large memorial at the site, attended by many prominent city leaders.
Leaders Promise Change

Following Kurmann’s death, the city began implementing a series of changes at the intersection, including:

  • Implementing a continuous bike lane from the Mass. Ave. bridge through Beacon Street;
  • Adjusting traffic signals;
  • Installing flexible posts from the Mass. Ave. bridge to Beacon Street to mark the bike lanes and protect cyclists;
  • Install “bike boxes,” painted green and white with a bike symbol, which would give cyclists a designated place to come to a stop before an intersection;
  • Trimming trees to improve sight lines;
  • Optimizing traffic signals to improve pedestrian safety;
  • Right turns on red from Mass. Ave. southbound to be prohibited;
  • Install a sign warning motorists to yield to cyclists at the intersection;
  • Relocating the MBTA bus stop in the southbound lanes from Beacon Street closer to Marlborough Street.

But even with these changes, the problem is there are still many dangerous intersections clustered in this same region. Some other changes recommended by traffic safety experts include:

  • Traffic calming measures, such as random stops;
  • Ensuring a strong law enforcement presence to enforce the rules of the road;
  • Improving visibility of cyclists via increased street lighting;
  • Increased education of both cyclists and drivers.

Although Massachusetts was ranked as the 4th most bike-friendly state in the U.S. by the League of American Bicyclists in 2015, there is still much work to be done to further improve the safety of bicyclists on Beacon Street and beyond.

Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com at (888) 789-BIKE.