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Visiting MIT scientist killed in Boston bicycle accident

A 36-year-old visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was killed in a Back Bay bicycle accident last weekend.

The native of Japan had been working at MIT since last fall.

According to a media report, Boston police are investigating the accident near Kenmore Square which might have involved a garbage truck. The truck was reportedly "seen fleeing the accident scene."

Investigators said they are not yet sure of the cause of the fatal accident, and have declined to describe it as a hit-and-run.

Investigators found the scientist's body on Beacon Street and her mangled bicycle about a half-mile away.

The scientist had been working in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The deadly crash happened just four days after Boston Mayor Tom Menino had said he's determined that the city will become safer for bicyclists. He said he wants to see bicycle accidents cut in half in seven years.

In the past three years, the city has seen nine fatalities in bicycle crashes, the Boston Globe said in an editorial. There have been more than 1,000 recorded bicycle incidents involving emergency medical crews or police, the newspaper said.

"Bikers, as it turns out, are not responsible for the majority of bicycle accidents in Boston," the Globe states, citing a recent study. Of 891 crashes in which a cause was identified, cyclists ran red lights or stop signs before colliding with a motor vehicle just 12 percent of the time. Another 12 percent of the crashes involved cyclists riding into oncoming traffic.

Eighteen percent of the crashes involved motorists who failed to see a cyclist.

Another major cause of accidents: people opening car doors directly in the path of cyclists.

Any bicyclist injured by a driver's reckless or careless actions should contact an attorney to discuss the circumstances of the accident and injuries, as well as legal options available for compensation for damages.

Source: NECN, "MIT visiting scientist from Japan killed in bicycle accident in Boston," May 20, 2013

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