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Bicyclist killed by truck was MIT graduate

23-year-old was Myanmar native

CAMBRIDGE - A bicyclist killed in a collision with a truck Tuesday was a 23-year-old native of Myanmar who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year, school and law enforcement authorities said yesterday.

Phyo N. Kyaw, who lived in Cambridge, was struck and fatally injured about 7:40 p.m. at Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street, a busy intersection teeming with bikers, pedestrians, and motorists near MIT, said Jessica Venezia Pastore, spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney’s office.

Kyaw was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

State Police accident investigators are trying to reconstruct whether there was criminal negligence in Kyaw’s death. The driver of the truck has not been charged.


Cambridge police said that in the past two years, there have been 27 accidents at that intersection.

Kyaw received his degree in chemical-biological engineering from MIT in 2010. A native of Myanmar’s capital city, Yangon, he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and was involved in MIT’s Camp Kesem, an overnight summer camp for children with a parent who has died of cancer, according to the university.

“This death, so tragic and so close to home, touches and concerns our entire community,’’ MIT chancellor Eric Grimson said in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to Phyo Kyaw’s family, friends, and classmates. We share their sense of loss and grief.’’

MIT officials said student support and mental health services are being made available to all members of the campus community. Those affected by Kyaw’s death are encouraged to contact MIT’s mental health services, at 617-253-2916.

At the scene of the fatality yesterday, students and commuters described the intersection as busy.

“This is terrible,’’ MIT graduate student Xin Zhao said. “I’m shocked, actually. I don’t think this area is extremely dangerous.’’


Joel Dashnaw, a Jamaica Plain resident who regularly rides his bike to work in Cambridge, said bicyclists in urban areas have to be vigilant about obeying the rules of the road and being aware of what is happening in front and behind them. “I am surprised and a little horrified,’’ he said.

Cyclists making the rounds yesterday said they are used to the heavy traffic and do their best to follow the rules of the road. But accidents between bicycles and vehicles do happen, they concede.

Meghan Irons can be reached at Follow her on Twitter@MeghanIrons.