Bicyclist Killed By Garbage Truck on Central Park West; Driver to Face DUI Charges

Photo by Nicolas Lawson.

Madison Jane Lyden, a 23-year-old Australian woman, was hit and killed by a garbage truck on Central Park West between 66th and 67th Street while riding a bike on Friday afternoon.

Lyden was riding north on CPW in the bike lane around 4:40 p.m. when a black Toyota livery vehicle pulled into the lane, the police said in a statement. Lyden swerved into the vehicle lanes and was hit by a private carting truck that was traveling north, police said. Both vehicles remained on scene and the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is investigating the crash.

In a phone interview with WSR, Capt. Timothy Malin of the 20th Precinct said, “Our preliminary investigation has found that the actions of the bicyclist did not contribute to the collision. The actions of the TLC [livery] vehicle driver did contribute to the collision. Whether that driver receives summonses or is arrested depends on the District Attorney’s office.”

Malin added that the garbage truck driver, Felipe Chairez, 44, was arrested at the scene and will face charges of driving under the influence – several beer cans were found in the truck – and for driving a carting vehicle on a no-truck route.

The crash “is an exemplar for why protected bike lanes are safer,” wrote Nicolas Lawson, who rode by the scene on a bike and sent the photo below of the livery cab. “The current bike lane is a transient zone for cars going to and from the curb and not a safe place for cyclists.”

Lawson wrote that he is not generally a fan of bike lanes, but believes that “in high commuter and tourists corridors I think they are a must.”

“On the same ride home I saw a pickup truck force a Citibike commuter into a parked car at 60th and less than a half a mile later I came across this.  From there to 93rd st I counted how many times I was forced into the middle traffic lane by cars parking, picking up, or turning. Four times in a mile I made the same decision that cost this person their life.”

“The 10 minutes I save by taking CPW over CP east drive in order to spend more time with my family is looking a lot less valuable.”

Photos below by a tipster who wished to remain anonymous.

If you witnessed the crash or know Lyden, please email us at westsiderag at gmail.

This story has been updated with additional information from police and a witness who saw the aftermath.

NEWS | 67 comments | permalink
    1. Laura says:

      Terribly scary and plain awful. Shame on both drivers, at the very least. Vehicular manslaughter at best.

    2. Raymond Ng says:

      Was driving along the route and spotted a bicyclist down. Got out of car and assisted in the resuscitation effort until PD, FD, and EMS showed up.

    3. Jonathan Mohrer says:

      Although the garbage truck driver may be the one ultimately “at fault”, anyone who rides a bike up cpw deals with the obstacle course thrown up in the bike lane by cars pulling over to pick up and discharge passengers. The bike lane uptown is certainly better than the reverse direction , no lane, where the cyclist needs to fend for themselves , but it remains a very challenging situation, more than this unfortunate tourist was equipped to deal with

    4. Jeff Berger says:

      This is the worst bike nightmare. Bikes don’t belong on the sidewalk, and cars do not belong in the bike lane. All drivers, including livery drivers, need to learn that bike riders have the right of way in the bike lane. If you have a passenger, drop them off outside the bike lane, not inside. If that is too much, then be aware of bikers in the bike lane.

      And while we are on the subject, especially on CPW, bike lanes are not for parking or stopping. If cars and cabs can learn that bikes have the right to be on the road and to respect the bike lanes, those of us who care about not adding to the carbon emissions of NYC can do so safely.

      • Robert Goodman says:

        A sad and terrible event. Yet this is true. Car drivers and passengers often have to stop behind or go around other vehicles that need to pick up or discharge riders. Bikes can stop too.

      • Luke Apt says:

        Cars don’t belong in boke lanes—100%. Nor do bikes going the wrong way. I’ve been forced into traffic many times on that stretch of CPW by bikes heading diwntown in tye uptown lane. I’ve been biking in Manhattan for over 50 years—the last 5 have been the most dangerous, and the two main causes are Ubers and othwr bikers.

      • Jake van Hoensbroek says:

        And if you live on CPW, where do you get dropped off if you are in anyway less mobile, or if you have packages?

        • Josh says:

          Jake, your comment makes absolutely no sense. If you live on CPW and have a mobility issue that prevents you from getting from a cab to the sidewalk without being dropped off IN the bike lane, why are you getting dropped off on the East side of CPW when you would therefore have to cross four lanes of traffic to get home? Nice try, bub.

        • Luke Apt says:

          The bike lane is on the east side of the street. All of the apartment buildings on CPW are on the west side of the street.

        • Nicole says:

          You have the driver turn left on the side street nearest your destination or you ask them to take a route that ends heading south, stopping in front of your building. Sometimes, that means going a little out of the way. It’s the same for every two-way avenue without a median).

      • js says:

        Jeff.
        Important to note that explosion in ecommerce delivery – Amazon, Fresh Direct etc- has added to traffic and contributes to carbon footprint.
        So walking to local shops is the best thing for the environment.
        Overdevelopment on the West Side have increased vehicle traffic and congestion.

      • Dissident says:

        Why, when addressing the detrimental effects of automobile emissions, this exclusive focus (exhibited in at least two posts in this thread by Jeff Berger, for example) on carbon emissions and their alleged contribution to “climate change”? What about all the toxic pollutants that are invariably released with automobile emissions? Are the respiratory and carcinogenic effects of said pollutants, for example, not considerably more direct, well-established and immediate than the link between carbon emissions and climate and the ultimate implications of said link? Is the latter not ultimately a matter of extrapolation about events much farther into the future?

    5. Lana says:

      I noticed so many time the garbage trucks drivers are driving like man men 😔

    6. Matt H says:

      Looks to me like the livery driver was pulled up curbside at a bus stop to start this all off. Then pulled out across the bike lane without yielding or even, you know, looking. This is so friggin’ screwed up.

      The city council’s for-hire vehicle cap can’t come soon enough.

    7. PedestrianJustice says:

      Tragic and avoidable.

      Please, everyone — drivers, walkers, bikers: Take three seconds, THREE, and think before you move into traffic. If that van’s driver had spent three seconds checking each mirror and the bike lane, she would be alive this morning.

    8. Jake G says:

      These bike lanes will kill many and critically injure hundreds of people before they are finally removed 10 years from now.

      The bike lanes are THE MOST terribly designed solution to a real problem I have ever come across. The design is so bad that one wonders how on earth anything like this could have EVER been approved.

      The problem with the design is that it creates a very false sense of security for riders and basically invites pedestrians to get run over. They reduce visibility all around by forcing parked cars halfway out into the road.

      What needs to happen is that the sidewalks need to be extended and thus protect bikers with a curb! The bike lane needs to become part of the sidewalk. A separate curb or poles ON THE SIDEWALK will separate bikers from pedestrians.

      These bike lanes no doubt will be removed, but many will die and many pedestrians will be critcally injuired by bikes before it happens.

      • Chris says:

        The separated bike lanes you’re talking about have a proven track record of saving lives and reducing injuries for everyone – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. This death occurred in an unseparated bike lane that runs between parked cars and moving traffic.

      • Richard says:

        Bike lanes removed!? You can’t be serious; as a cyclist, pedestrian (and occasional motorist), I can tell you we need MORE bike lanes, not less!

        Studies have proven they make the streets SAFER for not just cyclists, but pedestrians, as well. Plus, they narrow the traffic lanes, effectively easing the speed of speeding cars and trucks. In a dense urban area like NYC filled with pedestrians, that’s a good thing.

        A day will come, and soon, when we will wonder what the heck we were thinking when, over decades, we gave up our precious, crowded streets to the automobile. What can we do to get more – and better – bike lanes installed? Sign me up!

    9. MPIERCE says:

      This wasn’t even a green graffitied lane. Also appears to have been a bus stop as well. These lanes are accidents waiting to happen. If City wants bikes to be an alternate transportation modality than must have protected bike lanes. Less costly to have these lanes then City end up being sued. As well lost of life, massive injuries and loss of tourists coming to City.

    10. your_neighbor says:

      I constantly see livery drivers pull into the bike lane right in front of me to discharge passengers on CPW – even when there is a full bus stop where they can pull all the way to the curb 50 feet away. This makes CPW very dangerous for both bike riders and motor vehicles as bike riders have to be super careful passing passing vehicles parked or standing in the bike lane.
      A little driver education or some extra signage would go a long way towards making CPW safer.

      As a side note to the poster who wrote that going south on CPW is even more dangerous – well of course it is – there is no bike lane on that side. Columbus Ave has a great protected bike lane going down to 66 St for that purpose. Also the drive inside of Central Park brings you all the way to Central Park South with a very easy entry at 72nd St so no real excuses for using CPW southbound.

      • Matt H says:

        To be fair, livery drivers shouldn’t be picking up or discharging passengers at bus stops either. That’s a violation too.

    11. The Carting trucks in this city are a menace.Theyare overwhelmed with the number of stop’s they are supposed to make and do all sorts of illeagal and wreckless manuevers to finish their routes.If you are a pedestrian or a cyclist Do Not expect them to yield in a crosswalk,stop at lights late at night and they will cross multiple lanes of traffic without looking.Zero enforcement from NYPD. Such a horrible tragedy.

    12. Ms New York says:

      This is a bad spot , I got hit by a bicycle on Fourth of July on this same street, walking my dog.

    13. Bernard says:

      I am begging all NYPD to ticket anyone that stops in bike lane, I have ride in side walk for this reason to scary all vehicles disrespectful in that Avenue
      I work in Central Park midtown I do commute all weekly using my bike now I feel to ride in side walk or in the opposite direction of park drive to avoid being mashed by garbage truck drunks

      • Joe says:

        Yes! Please ticket both vehicles and pedestrians in the bike lane. They are a hazard, and as this case shows, can cost a life.

    14. Kay Sheehan says:

      This is a sad story. My sympathy to the family involved. CtiBike is my primarily mode of transportation. Best way to get around the city. However, it’s definitely “heads up” out there. Vehicles and pedestrians often do not respect the bike lane and, sadly, that doesn’t appear to be a NYPD concern. Cars/vans routinely double park.People step in to the lane without looking. CPW bike lane should at very least be moved to the curb with the parking lane between bikes and moving traffic.

      • BillyNYC says:

        In some places they are like on Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue and I totally agree but I’m not for bike lanes, not in this city, we don’t have a space for that!

        • Jeff Berger says:

          We have plenty of room for protected bike lanes. We just need to change our view that cars get precedence. We need to give equal space to bikes and pedestrians. One car lane in each direction, one bike lane one pedestrian lane. It will simply take courage to accept that the “cars are the future” mentality of the 1950’s are over. High gas prices and climate change mean we have to rethink how we all get around. Especially in an island like Manhattan.

          • Ally says:

            Totally agree. It seems insane that we have plenty of space for cars, but not enough space for bikes. Why have we decided that cars (which are bad for the environment, take up tons of space in a crowded city, and are far more likely to hurt people than a bike or a pedestrian) have precedence over all other modes of transportation?

    15. PaulCons says:

      This:

      “What needs to happen is that the sidewalks need to be extended and thus protect bikers with a curb! The bike lane needs to become part of the sidewalk. A separate curb or poles ON THE SIDEWALK will separate bikers from pedestrians.”

      • Sheila says:

        I just returned from Berlin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm…all places that have special bike lanes on the sidewalks. I rode for 15 km in Helsinki and felt safe throughout the ride. NYC must follow such a a plan.

        • J says:

          Sheila,
          Respectfully those are all smaller cities, with much less density.
          Also Berlin Helsinki Stockholm do not have the same level of “instant gratification” Uber and Amazon usage, which has certainly added to NYC’s increased traffic.

          • Josh says:

            The greater density is all the more reason why the infrastructure is needed. A bike lane that is the width of a vehicle lane has the potential to move many more people than a motor vehicle lane unless it is a bus only lane.

    16. Richard says:

      A terrorist mows down 8 cyclists and injures 11 others on the Hudson River Greenway and BOOM… large, dangerous and ugly concrete barriers are erected in literally DAYS up and down Greenway. Meanwhile, 44 cyclists were slaughtered on our streets by careless, thoughtless motorists last year and what was done? Nothing.

      Unbelievable.

    17. sally says:

      Would be wise to have a helmet requirement for bike riders, and stiff fines for not wearing one, akin to seat belt requirement for drivers, as there is in many European cities.
      Perhaps restrict parking even more, turning the parking lane into a wider bike lane, with no stopping for cars permitted, opening cheap city-owned parking garages on the outskirts of town. Some perfectly healthy people will have to learn to walk again. The swerving into a bike lane, or driving recklessly around a cyclist who is minding the traffic regulations, should be explicitly punished by loss of driver’s license.

    18. Oona says:

      I stopped bike riding in the New York city streets years ago simply because it became too dangerous and I was once almost purposely hit buy a bus driver on Broadway and 79th Street. I must say the bus company sent an investigator to my house right away and I told them the bus driver tried to hide his number on his sleeve but the passengers got up and yelled it out the window. I didn’t want the bus driver to be fired just to take it easy with bike riders from now on.

      It’s difficult 4 Walker’s now to cross the street and for people getting out of cabs not to get hit by bicyclists in the bike lane. No tourist should ever be rented a bicycle in New York City without a helmet. I’ve seen a few and warn them but they sort of laugh it off not realizing how many ghost bikes I have seen in my years of biking.

      I like the suggestion of making a curb so Walkers and people getting in and out of taxis would be safe and the bicyclists would have a little more safety. Until then I’ll just stick to the parks.

    19. Been There says:

      The bike lane on CPW is not safe, and is barely better than no lane at all.
      However, there is one thing a cyclist can do in that case, ride slowly and carefully and, if cut off or otherwise endangered, STOP.

      That would have saved this unfortunate woman.

      By the way, to Jonathan Mohrer who bemoans the lack of a downtown lane? There’s a protected lane on Columbus, one block over.

    20. BillyNYC says:

      New York City should abolish private garbage pick ups I do with themselves no one ever checks the history of these drivers what are you expect it’s all mob!!!!
      And why do we need private pick ups pick-ups?
      I have been saying this for years these guys are out of control their trunk when they’re driving I see at night they’re on drugs it’s a total scam they’re doing to these commercial stores. It’s time to abolish them. I had my Street safety bumps put into our block because of these trucks racing up the block at 1 o’clock in the morning unfortunately one truck 4 years ago struck a bicycle delivery boy 3/4 of the way up the block and he landed and Teddy Roosevelt Park….shredded. The driver was arrested he was DWI and he is serving 50 years for an unlicensed gun and numerous other charges.

    21. UpperWestsider says:

      I never take Uber because they’re only insured 100,000/200,000 they should be TLC insured for 5 million like all the other luxury Limousine companies.

    22. Charles Hunt says:

      Simple:

      No motor vehicle in urban core except delivery trucks in designated late night-early morning hours and buses.

      Leaves room for buses to efficiently move those who cannot walk or bike.

      Easy peasy.

    23. deelync says:

      Thanks to De Blasio for bike lanes that are not safe! They create traffic and all kinds of hazards. Bicyclists are always in danger of getting hit by a car door, or a car using the bike lane to drop off passengers. And UBER and Via drivers are constantly looking at their phones/ipads waiting for another ride…they do not watch the road…PLEASE do something about this hazard.

    24. Maria Giraldo says:

      I was in the area when this tragedy happened,I can not understand what a garbage truck was doing there at that hour of the afternoon!!!this people drive around like maniacs, this is so sad. Thought about my daughter about the same age of this girl.

    25. Adam Cherson says:

      Was the cyclist wearing a helmet? I’ve not seen this fact mentioned anywhere yet. Also, your story fails to state the livery vehicle was a Uber.

    26. Glen says:

      I have been doing CitiBike to work, and have seen so much distracted driving out there that I’ve resigned myself to the Hudson River Bike Path. I drop the bike near the river and walk inland to wherever I need to be.

      • StevenCinNYC says:

        That seems much smarter and safer to me. Why risk your life with traffic, especially on a narrow unprotected bike lane on CPW. The Riverside bike path is a much better option and runs the length of the City.

    27. StevenCinNYC says:

      There’s a very simple solution: remove this unprotected bike lane. There’s no need for it. Central Park is right there and there are protected lanes on Amsterdam and Columbus, plus there’s another protected bike path in Riverside Park. CPW is a two-way street and doesn’t have room for a bike lane. It makes no sense. Instead of pointing fingers at drivers and cyclists, fix the structural problem of having a bike lane where it doesn’t belong and is inherently unsafe.

      • Pcnyc says:

        CPW’s bike lane is not safe; riding every day around the UWS, I avoid it because there’s simply too much activity going on all THROUGH the lane..and too many vehicles using it as a loading zone. DOT needs to provide a clearer solution.

      • Ally says:

        So…how does one get into Central Park then? You can’t enter on every cross street. I ride up this stretch (in the bike lane) frequently to get to the entrance on 67th street.

    28. Rob says:

      (1) The City needs to install a 2-way protected bike lane along the park, just like those along Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. This will also narrow the street to make it safer for pedestrians to cross.

      (2) The City needs to charge for parking on the remaining CPW spaces to encourage high turnover. The price should be set at the point where there is always one or two open spaces on every block. Only this, with strong enforcement, will end the scourge of illegal double-parking.

      • dannyboy says:

        Rob, re: #2

        Curbside spaces can be better kept open by designating “No Parking” zones.

        I always try to keep our neighborhood safe by design and not by charging fees. Charging fees only ensures that those with money take things away from those without.

    29. I was struck by a bus on Amsterdam in 2009, which is relevant because I was there due to the extremely dangerous bike lane on CPW. I was afraid of this happening, mostly because of cyclists heading south on the north-only bike lane, but also because of that very intersection (I worked for ABC News at the time).

      The problem I think the city faces is that building protected bike lanes will require a complete rewiring of the city’s surface transit system. I’ve gone to Amsterdam (the city) to bike and the whole set up of the city lends itself to bikes. New York really doesn’t. The protected bike lanes in midtown are awful. Pedestrians wander into the “protected” lanes because the sidewalks are too crowded, causing collisions. Cyclists head the wrong way all the time, causing other cyclists to swerve to avoid them, causing collisions with said pedestrians. The city, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians have to learn how to behave, or this will just keep happening.

    30. Parker says:

      Another devastating accident involving a private trash collecting company in NYC. ProPublica has been reporting extensively on the risks these companies are posing on the streets of NY:

      https://www.propublica.org/article/trashed-inside-the-deadly-world-of-private-garbage-collection

      The city has to step up with better oversight of these companies and drivers.

    31. Derek says:

      If it’s so dangerous then don’t ride your bike in the city. Seems simple enough to me.

    32. MFinbikeintheMFinroad says:

      Paint the bike lane green. At the very least, a small percentage of cars will realize it’s there and be a small percentage more carefull. That would be a small step but would make a difference. Next, get rid of a lane of traffic and turn it into a protected lane with bus stops. Inside the park, you have to go south on this side, so we need a north going lane here. Those who say stuff like “there is already a protected lane on Amsterdam” have never ridden in the city. Bike riders are not going to ride two long blocks west in order to go north, especially not tourists.

    33. Pedestrian says:

      Such a tragedy. I hope the prosecutor throws the book at the driver.

      As to the bike lanes, they give cyclists a false sense of security. Often they are nothing more than painted lines on heavily traveled streets…nothing to protect cyclists from traffic. Not really planned or designed for effectiveness.; installed as political theater.

    34. Lin says:

      This is a terrible tragedy. In this case the truck driver was totally at fault. However, laws for bikers seem to be nonexistent. In this city bikers do not follow rules of driving. Many times even go the wrong way in a bike lane. This dodsn’t apply here and I am very sorry for the biker but to be more general, most bikers rarely stop at red lights, drive in the wrong direction and can be very rude to pedestrians on sidewalks. I have seen parents/nannies with their children on sidewalks with “wheels” usually riding way ahead of them, uncaring or oblivious to pedestrians including elderly and disabled. When will NYC have stricter bike/roadway law enforcement which will in effect protect pedestrians and riders alike? We began bringing in Citibike without forethought having already had problems with bikes, pedestrians and traffic. Again, I know the rider wasn’t at fault here and the driver was under the influence but if we had consistent rules and law enforcement maybe this rider from another country would have had a better chance.

    35. Lesly levy says:

      We have bike lanes for a reason yet most motorist use them to double park in. This occurs everywhere but is a major issue on west 77th between columbia and Central Park west. We cyclist are then forced to ride onto the Main Street. Why is this not being monitored.

    36. sturosen says:

      There is no question that an unprotected bike lane provides little in the way of increased safety for cyclists. At the very least, they need to be colored (green is best) to provide more awareness to drivers, but ideally need to to be separated through the use of bollards (such as those found down the block from this accident, on Columbus and 66th street).

      The CPW bike lane is, perhaps, the most dangerous in Manhattan — even though one would think it is safe due to its location adjacent to the park. The biggest problem is the cabs/ubers negligently zipping in and out of the bike lane to unload passengers. A cyclist has to be very aware and experienced to know how to respond to these situations — unfortunately, Lyden did exactly what one should not do (ie swerve into traffic). Couple this with cyclists illegally using the bike path as a North-South lane as well, and pedestrians stepping in to lane against the light, the CPW bike lane is an accident waiting to happen.

    37. cma says:

      So sad and avoidable. I rarely see bikes on cpkw; have assumed most people would rather ride IN park, not outside, even though it’s a few more minutes, it is SAFER. As for downtown lane on East side of Columbus, I constantly yell at unthinking or uncaring bikers while I am at the west side bus stop to “use the bike lane, you asked for it, you got it; use it or lose it”. Some, unaware, do say thank you; others flip the bird. Yeah it bothers me to see flagrant disregard of the lane, that now causes more traffic down town, with trucks double parked opposite each other…more unthinking and/or not caring.