Video Catches MBTA Driver Threatening Bikes and Pedestrians In Downtown Boston
On Sunday, a driver of an MBTA paratransit van was caught on video making an illegal turn, nearly hitting several pedestrians and bicyclists, and driving illegally on a bike path along the edge of the Boston Common in downtown Boston.
Adam Balsam, a North End resident (and homemade speed camera hobbyist), caught the incident on his GoPro camera while riding a bike with his two children in the new protected bike lanes that surround Boston Common.
Balsam posted an edited video of the incident to Twitter on Monday evening and asked the MBTA to open an investigation:
Sunday, 16 May 2021 at 11:50am. @MBTA ride vehicle right hooks two cyclists while making an illegal turn from Tremont onto Boylston. Continues head on towards cyclist with right of way before speeding away onto Charles Street. pic.twitter.com/dEQUOg86mZ
— Adam Balsam (@balsama) May 18, 2021
One minute and ten seconds into the video, an MBTA RIDE van, which was clearly identified as vehicle 7901 earlier in the video, makes an illegal right turn from Tremont Street to Boylston Street, next to two prominent “no right turns” signs.
The driver nearly sideswipes a person riding their bike in front of Balsam, and forces two pedestrians in the crosswalk to stop short in order to avoid being hit.
The driver then proceeds to accelerate up Boylston Street on the clearly-marked bike path. After a short distance, the vehicle’s brake lights come on as the driver stops to avoid hitting yet another bike rider.
“This was particularly scary because I was traveling with my two young children on my bike,” wrote Balsam in a follow-up tweet. “If I hadn’t been delayed by the two cyclists pulling out in front of me (43 seconds into the video clip), we would have been directly in the path of the MBTA vehicle.”
StreetsblogMASS reached out to the T’s press office on Tuesday to ask what the agency planned to do to ensure this never happens again.
“Safety is the MBTA’s top priority, including for its contracted RIDE services, and the MBTA was deeply concerned to see what transpired within the video posted to social media,” wrote Lisa Battiston, in an emailed response. “Upon being made aware, MBTA staff immediately reached out to the RIDE contractor to investigate further, ensure all rules of the road are abided by, and that this absolutely doesn’t happen again.”
In a follow-up email, Battiston identified the contractor as VTS-Veterans Transportation Services.