Phyo Kyaw, a 2010 Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, age 23, was killed on campus on Tuesday night after his bicycle was hit by an oil tanker. At approximately 7:40 p.m., he was riding his bicycle at the intersection of Vassar Street and Massachusetts Avenue when the oil tanker was turning from Massachusetts Avenue onto Vassar Street, towards Main Street. Kyaw was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Kyaw, from the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, graduated from MIT in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical-biological engineering. According to the MIT News Office, Kyaw was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. After he graduated, he was working as a research scientist at Soane Labs in Cambridge.
Cambridge police said that there have been 27 recorded accidents at the Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street intersection since January 2010. MIT Chancellor Eric Grimson commented “This death, so tragic and so close to home, touches and concerns our entire community…Our thoughts go out to Phyo Kyaw’s family, friends, and classmates. We share their sense of loss and grief.”
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office is leading the investigation into the crash and is working with the Cambridge and MIT police departments. The truck driver was uninjured in the accident and he has not been charged.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, from 2002 through 2009, approximately 400 car crashes, fatal and non-fatal, were involving cyclists. Statistics additionally reveal that more bike and car accidents happen in Cambridge more than in any other Massachusetts community. As a preventative measure to bike accidents with vehicles, MassDOT provides these helpful safety guidelines for bicyclists:
• Give yourself space from cars • Ride in the same direction as traffic • Always wear your helmet • Stop at red lights and stop signs • Put front and back lights on your bike at night
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2009 alone, 630 cyclists were killed in the United States. In addition to this, 51,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic accidents. Cyclist deaths thus made up 2% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities. Approximately 70% of all bicycle fatalities happen in urban centers or college campuses, such as the case here, where there are more cars and bikes on the road together. The NHTSA also reports that bicycle helmets are 85% to 88% effective at preventing head injuries and death. However, the statistics show that less than 25% of all bicyclists wear a helmet.
If you have been injured or involved in a Massachusetts car or bike accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Massachusetts lawyer.
Cyclist killed in Cambridge accident ID´d, The Boston Herald, December 29, 2011
MIT graduate is identified as victim in bicycle-truck collision, The Boston Globe, December 28, 2011
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If you have been in a bike accident, an experienced Massachusetts accident lawyer can advise you.