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BU community mourns COM student’s death in fatal bike crash

The cyclist killed in a collision that occurred on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Saint Paul Street was identified as Boston University student Chris Weigl, officials said.

BU spokesman Colin Riley confirmed that Weigl, a first-year graduate student in the College of Communication was the victim. An avid photographer, Weigl was pursuing an education in photojournalism.

Boston Police responded to the call about the accident at about 8:36 a.m. Thursday after the bicycle and tractor-trailer truck collided at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Saint Paul Street, according to the Boston Police Department News blog. The 23-year-old cyclist appeared to be suffering from life-threatening injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Boston University President Robert Brown notified students of the accident and expressed his condolences to Weigl’s family and friends.

“The thoughts and prayers of all of us go to the family and friends who are experiencing this terrible loss,” Brown stated in the email.

The 900 block of Commonwealth Avenue was shut down to the public throughout the morning.

BUPD and a BU spokesman declined to comment on the accident.

Counseling for students, staff and faculty affected by the accident will be available, according to the president’s email. The university will work on the family to organize arrangements.

COM will hold a memorial for Weigl at 5 p.m. in its building, room COM 101.The Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism is organizing a candlelight gathering for 6 p.m. on Marsh Plaza, according to a press release.

“The gathering will serve as a way to remember the victims and help the healing of our community after this tragic event,” the press release stated. “We will raise awareness of safety as well as show solidarity for the members of our community who have been affected.”

The accident is the second fatal bicycle crash involving a student this semester. The first involved a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, Chung-Wei Yang. The 21-year-old cyclist was killed while riding his bike in Allston at about 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 in an incident that involved a MBTA bus.

Brown noted concerns about bike safety on campus in light of the two fatal accidents.

“We are very concerned about the dangers faced by members of our community who must navigate the streets on and near our campus, especially bicyclists and pedestrians,” the letter stated. “As we identify ways in which education and changes in practice can reduce risks, we will take all necessary and possible steps to do so.”

A number of local cyclists expressed concern over road conditions, especially on Commonwealth Avenue.

Patrick Kelleher-Calnan, a Somerville resident, who biked passed the scene of the accident said noted the high traffic and slope down Commonwealth Avenue that could cause hazards.

“I haven’t had too much trouble at this particular intersection, but Comm. Ave. has had a lot of issues. It’s relatively high traffic for both bicyclists and motor vehicles,” he said. “In general, a lot of these fatalities in the area involve large trucks and buses, and the reason for that is they have a very large blind spot and they are a type of vehicle that isn’t designed for pedestrian- or bicycle-heavy roads.”

Rebecca Albrecht, who lives next to Packards corner, saw authorities investigating the accident and said she feels for the family of the victim. She said she has felt unsafe riding her bicycle in the area due to the width of bicycle lanes.

“I don’t like how close they are to parked cars and they are too close to door zones,” she said. “When I ride these bike lanes I ride right along the white line but in some places here the pavement is wavy and lumpy and you have to come out into the car lane. I have said this so many times, I think that it is a very dangerous intersection. Im surprised people don’t get doored or hit more often.”

Chris Lisinski, Amelia Pak-Harvey and Brian Latimer contributed to the reporting of this article.

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