Riding a bicycle has become an attractive alternative means of transportation for many Massachusetts residents. It is environmentally friendly and it also affords people the opportunity to get some quality exercise and fresh air.

However, a recent fatal car accident in one Massachusetts community made bicyclists there nervous about continuing to travel on that community’s roads.

The accident involved a hit and run driver. A husband and father was riding his bicycle near his home when commercial vehicle hit him and then kept driving without stopping to give the injured man help. The man was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the hospital. The intersection at which this man was killed has been the site of other accidents.

Eventually, police tracked down the driver; however, a grand jury declined to charge this truck driver with any crime. The family of the man has now filed a wrongful death suit seeking compensation for damages, and that case is pending.

Cyclists on the road will become more and more common in Massachusetts. In addition to people who ride competitively or specifically for exercise, people are riding their bikes to and from work and just to get around. When on the public roadways, these people have the same rights as drivers of motor vehicles.

It is very important for car drivers to be mindful of people riding bicycles. A bicyclist is naturally more difficult to see, especially at night. Moreover, a rider on a bicycle may be forced to make a sudden move to avoid a large piece or gravel or some other obstacle that would not concern the driver of a car.

Perhaps most importantly, a bicyclist is especially vulnerable to a serious injury following a collision with a larger motor vehicle. A negligent driver or a distracted driver that does not see a cyclist can leave that innocent person either dead or suffering from a permanent disability.

Bicyclists who have been injured by the negligence of another, or their families, may be entitled to receive compensation for their damages.

Source: Wicked Local Wellesley, “Fatal accident in Wellesley worried bikers,” May 8, 2013