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Area where BU bicyclist killed hectic, locals say

A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus was involved in the accident that killed a Boston University bicyclist on Monday night near the corner of Harvard and Brighton Avenues, an intersection that bikers and workers said is prone to accidents.

Authorities are investigating the bicycle accident that killed a 21-year-old Boston University student at the intersection of Harvard Avenue and Brighton Avenue Monday night. PHOTO COURTESY OF MATTHEW J. LEE/THE BOSTON GLOBE

While there is no confirmation that the bus directly hit the student, an MBTA bus was involved in the incident, said Suffolk District Attorney spokesman Jake Wark.

“Because it’s early on in the investigation, there is no clear cut set of facts,” Wark said.

Wark said investigators are conducting interviews with witnesses and tracking down surveillance tapes.

Collision reconstruction experts are working on tracking down the steps of the crash, which could take a few weeks, Wark said. The driver has not yet been charged with any offense.

“The facts and the circumstances from start to finish are under investigation both by Boston police collision reconstruction experts and by prosecutors experienced in motor vehicle fatalities,” Wark said.

The MBTA has removed a Route 57 bus driver, who has worked for the T for six years, from service while the investigation is ongoing.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email on Tuesday that the driver of the bus was tested for drugs and alcohol, following standard procedure.

“There’s been no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of last night’s bus driver,” he said.

Boston University spokesman Colin Riley confirmed Tuesday morning that the biker was a BU student.

“This is just a terrible tragedy,” Riley said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and friends.”

Boston bikers and workers in close proximity to the scene of the crime said they were not surprised the biker was hit in the area he was.

“It’s a really busy intersection,” said John Griese, a biker and sophomore in the College of Engineering. “It’s like, one of the busiest intersections there. Obviously there’s going to be a lot of traffic, so I can see why it would be more dangerous than somewhere else, especially if you’re not being careful.”

Griese said the accident spurred him to look up helmets online.

Eddie Cohen, an employee at Pizza Days located on Brighton Avenue between Harvard Avenue and Linden Street, said MBTA buses are notoriously hazardous on the road.

“Intersections in all of Boston are kind of dangerous,” he said. “But the buses, especially the buses on Mass. Ave., are kind of insane. So I guess I wasn’t really surprised about that.”

Dave Gettleman, the owner of Spike’s Junkyard Dogs on the corner of Brighton Avenue and Linden Street, said the intersection of Harvard and Brighton Avenues is always busy.

“It makes me not want to ride a bike nearby,” he said. “You have to be careful, it’s a busy area. There’s a lot of traffic. It’s very sad what happened.”

When police officers arrived at the scene, the Boston Fire Department and the EMS were already at the scene, said Boston Police Department spokesman David Estrada.

The police report did not indicate whether the victim was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, Estrada said.

The accident occurred at 6:36 p.m., said BPD spokeswoman Neva Coakley on Monday.

Police officers from District 4 in Brighton responded to the accident, and at the scene they observed a male victim who was seriously injured, Coakley said on Monday. The victim of the accident was transported to Beth Israel Hospital and was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Pesaturo said on Monday that the BPD and the District Attorney’s office have taken over the investigation, with MBTA Transit Police assisting.

The fatality follows two other incidents involving MBTA buses in the city over the course of 2012.

A Boston College graduate student was killed in June after an MBTA bus hit her on Huntington Avenue, an incident Pesaturo said was not the fault of the driver.

“As far as the June incident on Huntington Avenue is concerned, investigators found no wrongdoing on the part of the bus driver,” Pesaturo said. “That bus driver has returned to work.”

In August, a Route 57 bus hit BU School of Management alumnus Steve Binnam Ha after witnesses saw him walk across the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Babcock Street when the bus had a green light.

“Witnesses said the bus was traveling through a green light at the time,” Pesaturo said about the August incident. “The bus operator did nothing wrong.”

Pesaturo said the incidents in June and on Monday night do not demand a reevaluation of MBTA drivers.

As of Tuesday night, the name of the victim had not been released.

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