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Cyclist Victim Identified in Fatal Harvard Square Collision

A tractor-trailer fatally struck a cyclist in Harvard Square last month.
A tractor-trailer fatally struck a cyclist in Harvard Square last month. By Aidan F. Ryan
By Ellen M. Burstein, Crimson Staff Writer

Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. identified the victim of a fatal traffic accident in Harvard Square last month as 55-year-old Darryl Willis. The District Attorney’s Office has yet to file charges against the driver of the tractor-trailer that collided with Willis as he rode a bicycle, per a press release.

Willis’s death on Aug. 18 marked at least the third fatal accident involving a cyclist in Cambridge since October 2015, when the city released its Bicycle Plan, which aimed to make all streets “bicycle friendly.”

The tractor-trailer was traveling westbound on Massachusetts Avenue, away from Harvard Square, when Willis was killed, per the press release. Following Willis’s death, Cambridge residents took to social media calling on the city to institute safety measures to protect cyclists in the often congested area.

Cambridge City Councilor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler wrote on Twitter that the city should “rethink” Harvard Square traffic in the wake of the accident.

“Anyone who has been in Harvard Square can tell you it’s almost always full of pedestrians and cyclists crossing irregular intersections that were designed before motor vehicles existed. We need to rethink and pedestrianize these streets to make sure this does not keep happening," Sobrinho-Wheeler wrote.

Last week, Cambridge announced it would fast-track a number of long-planned reforms in the wake of Willis’s death, including adding a separated bike lane to Mass. Ave. and reducing the number of traffic lanes between Harvard Yard and the kiosk that formerly housed Out of Town News.

Cambridge Police Department spokesperson Jeremy Warnick declined to comment on the investigation into Willis’s death, referring to the District Attorney’s Office.

Marcela Dwork, a press representative for the District Attorney’s Office, confirmed the office “is still investigating the facts and circumstances of the incident.” Dwork added that the office will provide further information as it becomes available.

—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.

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