Madison Lyden, Killed by Truck on Central Park West, Was Recent College Graduate on ‘The Trip of a Lifetime’

Madison Jane Lyden, via Facebook.

Madison Jane Lyden was bicycling on Central Park West on Friday afternoon when she swerved to get out of the way of a cab that had pulled out into the bike lane and was hit and killed by a garbage truck.

Lyden was in New York on vacation from her home in Australia, where she had recently graduated from Deakin University, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. She was originally from Tasmania. Her father, a local builder, had constructed a charity house called Madison House after his daughter, who had Type 1 diabetes.

“She was overseas on what both of her parents described to reporters as “the trip of a lifetime,” the Herald reported.

The Times talked to one of Lyden’s friends.

“It was not long ago that we celebrated our graduation together,” said one friend, Caity Ashton, who met Ms. Lyden when they were both students at Deakin University, according to The Geelong Advertiser newspaper. “I made a lifelong friend. She was incredibly intelligent and so full of life.” She added, “She was so beautiful both inside and out.”

The truck driver was charged with driving under the influence after beer cans were found in his truck. His blood alcohol level was .04, the legal limit for truck drivers, the Times reported.

Lyden had been biking with a friend when she was struck. Raymond Ng, a nurse manager at Mt. Sinai’s St. Luke’s campus, told us he attempted to help her before ambulances arrived.

“When I was on my way home I drove down CPW and upon crossing 67 or 68th Street, I saw an unresponsive young lady that was on the ground right in front of the minivan. Two bikes were noticed near the minivan (parked at the bus stop). I initially suspected the lady was struck by the minivan. There was a garbage truck parked several feet on the middle lane. I pulled over and rushed to assist. She didn’t have a pulse so we initiated CPR. Police rolled up first and I took their AED but unfortunately no shockable rhythm. The FDNY and EMS showed up and I assisted them to get the woman onto the ambulance. She was still in traumatic arrest. Her friend was crying and visibly upset / shaken. I believe PD escorted her to the hospital.”

NEWS | 40 comments | permalink
    1. Ken says:

      According to the NY Times, the driver who caused the chain reaction that killed Lyden — by pulling out across the bike lane where he was illegally parked in a bus zone — will not be ticketed. Why is this driver not being charged? Is the 20th precinct OK with this kind of illegal behavior that can cost lives?

      • Brandon says:

        Was he parked in a bus stop or pulled over to let a passenger out? What are.the cabs supposed to do — pulling into the bus stop is better for traffic than stopping in the travel lane.

      • Cousin Oliver says:

        @1) Yes…NY plate # is visible is in the original photos of the crime scene…

        Mellifont Demolition…

        Can’t help notice family is in construction business.

      • Jeff says:

        Not sure why the driver wouldn’t at least get a ticket, but there won’t be any criminal charges because NY state law makes it extremely difficult to punish drivers for killing people.

        Unless the driver acts in a “morally blameworthy” manner, charges won’t stick. See here:

      • Capt. Malin says:

        No, we’re not. The collision investigators have presented everything they have to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The D.A. will make the decision on whether to prosecute for a crime… a decision that may take weeks. If the operator is not charged by the D.A., then the NYPD will issue summonses.

      • B.B. says:

        Standing at a bus stop to discharge or collect passengers is *NOT* against NYC traffic laws. Long as one does so quickly and it does not interfere with service.

        ““No person shall stand or park a vehicle other than an authorized bus in its assigned bus stop when any such stop has been officially designated and appropriately posted except that the operator of a vehicle may temporarily stand therein for the purpose of expeditiously receiving and discharging passengers provided such standing does not interfere with any bus about to enter or leave such zone”

        Parking however is illegal.

    2. AZ says:

      This is absolutely tragic. With the explosion of cyclists and tourists going in and around Central Park, one must wonder why Central Park West does not get reconfigured like Prospect Park West. Having buses, parked cars, and taxis/FHVs all competing for curb space across a bike lane no longer makes sense. The avenue could surely be made one way to accommodate a redesign.

      Another thing that comes to mind is that now that Central Park is permanently closed to parks, two way bike and pedestrian traffic should be accommodated on the drives. This would have avoided the need for a north bound cyclist, particularly one unfamiliar with NYC bike infrastructure and dangers, to be put out. Like I’m sure many others do, I commute via Central Park only one way because of this. I would love to be able to use the park to go north and south without needing to go all the way around to do so.

      Ideas like these need to be implemented proactively if NYC is to truly hope to achieve Vision Zero. To this end, the city look at the bicycle map, as other cities have, by stress level of the rider. If the would do so, I’m sure action would already have been taken on Central Park West.

      • Matt H says:

        Hear hear for exploring ways to make bicycle traffic on the park drive bidirectional.

        It could be a bit of a mess on the weekends, when the drives are way over-capacity already, but at least on weekdays I could see this working out.

      • Kathleen says:

        @Ken…a well written, well represented argument for more common sense in this wildly diverse and dense city. Thanks for being a voice of reason.

      • Kathleen says:

        Sorry, my first comment should have been directed at @AZ.

      • David says:

        AZ – please re-read your comment (you said “Central Park is permanently closed to parks “; perhaps you meant a to say it’s “permanently closed to cars”…

      • kin soo says:

        Vision zero was just a politicking game for the mayor. I’m not sure he has even given this news even 20 seconds of thought.

    3. Sam Koo says:

      I feel so sad. Somehow I feel responsible as a longtime UWSder.
      How do I help Madison House?

    4. Leigh says:

      This is an example of how unsafe biking still is on the city street and how often tourists assume that because they are on vacation a bike ride will be “fun.” It’s absolutely NOT her fault in any way, but all these Citi-bikes were dumped on heavily trafficked city streets with no helmets, no safety education for bikers OR drivers. No matter how many bike lanes are introduced I would never ever bike on the streets of NYC nor would I allow anyone I loved to view it as a fun or alternative means of transportation. Ever! It’s so sad that she lost her life because biking is encouraged but safety is not.

      • Jay says:

        Are you kidding me? This young person is dead because of careless driving. Full stop.

        I can’t think of any accidents that were the fault of a bicyclist. So, maybe you should look at the root cause of these tragedies; careless people driving.

        The streets of New York City should be safe for bicyclist and crossing pedestrians. The way to do that is for the police department to start respecting the rights of bicyclists to share the streets by ticketing ticketing and towing vehicles that block the lanes (including their own).

        • sturosen says:

          As a daily cyclist, I cannot disagree more. I often see cyclists move laterally across street lanes, or — like this cyclist — move from a bike lane into a traffic lane to avoid an obstacle, abruptly, without looking and without hand signaling. Not to blame this or any cyclist, but what can a driver do when a cyclist abruptly pulls out into traffic? I am not sure the garbage truck driver in this case would have avoided the hit even if he had zero beers.

          Cyclists need to ride defensively. If it means coming to a full stop to avoid an obstacle, rather than swerving around it, so be it. But better safe than sorry.

      • Amy says:

        agreed. I see these tourists meandering from lane to lane on their Citibikes and think: no New Yorker would ever consider doing that, because we know how unsafe it would be. Not that I’m blaming this poor young woman’s decision-making at all. If we have the bikes they shouldn’t be actively unsafe to ride without warning language.

      • michael says:

        I will second this. It is very sad, and I have no wish to victim blame, but there are some real realities:
        1) The bike lanes on the street have generally made travel more dangerous because there is no safety enforcement.
        a) Bike traffic, designed to go in the same direction as the avenue (or on CPW, uptown), is used to travel both directions. Pedestrians and dogs repeatedly get hit.
        b) Electric and gas powered two wheeled vehicles repeatedly use the bike lanes at absurd speeds.
        c) There is little regard for traffic lights and/or pedestrian crosswalks. Bikes generally blow right through red lights.
        2) I have repeatedly seen people get hit crossing Park Drive West by bicycles speeding through the light at the Delacort Theatre. When you speak to the conservancy they are equally frustrated. This is incredibly dangerous.

        Why is there no enforcement? She is not the first to die, to be hospitalized or to be injured. How many more injuries and deaths before they start enforcing rules?

      • Susan M says:

        the parks and drives are for the bikes
        We all live in NYC to make a living the opptys are fabulous but its overly congested , its for trucks
        emt, cars , people, elderly , dogs , its not for bikes
        we will never see the end of this until the bikes go where there is space is for them
        We have the best spaces
        Every evening my life is almost ended by dangerous bike riders many really dont follow any rules ,
        this lost life is unforgivable

      • Looju says:

        It wasn’t a Citibike.

    5. Jan says:

      When will our city realize that bikes and dense NYC
      Will never coexist well. PLEASE get rid of the bike lanes!

      • Alta says:

        This is like saying the solution to a high fat diet is getting rid of all pants without elastic waists.

        The streets are too crowded, so we need more bike lanes, not less.

      • Cee says:


        Get rid of the cars. Bikes are much safer than cars, and most of the drivers don’t even live here.

      • jimmy says:

        Population density is an argument for more bikes and fewer cars, not the other way around. Time to address the free parking issue and make the streets safe for people again.

      • Mr. Rogers says:

        Your comment is one of the most feckless unconstructive things I’ve read on comment boards about cycling in NYC. Educate yourself first and then write something valuable!

      • Juan says:

        The best solution is neither bike lanes, more buses or car restrictions. The best solution is improving the subway, because it does not compete with these other means of transportation for extremely limited space.

        The subway is much better than it was in the past but if it ran more consistently and was more accessible, more people would use it and there would be fewer people at street level.

    6. Kay says:

      Why is the livery driver walking away?

      • Anon says:

        What did the livery driver do that was illegal? As posted above it is legal to pull into the bus stop to discharge a passenger. When je started pulling out he didn’t hot the bike nor did the bike hot him leading me to believe there was some distance between the livery and the bike.

    7. Glen says:

      I am terribly sorry this happened to the young lady and in no way should be taken as her fault the accident happened. However these tourist bike rental places should have helmets to go along with the rental. I am sure there is some inexpensive plastic liner that could be used for sanitary reasons (lice). As for the Citibike folks, you should know better.

    8. your_neighbor says:

      Why can’t the DOT move the parking lane over five or six feet to create a buffered bike lane between the sidewalk and the parked cars?

    9. Cintra says:

      My condolenses to that bike victim & her family. I sometimes think how amazing it is where cars can just pull out from a parking curb area & not look. I use to be a bicyclist for over 20 years. I’ve had many incidents of parked car’s car doors opening, which caused me to fall or fly over the door. I’ve also have cars pulled out in front of me while riding. I’ve always considered myself to be a Very careful bicyclist. Of course, there are also stupid & reckless bicyclist out there.
      I drive a car now, and consider myself to be a very careful & courteous car driver.

    10. UWSHebrew says:

      I hate people who drink and drive. I wish the laws were much tougher, like instant one year in jail minimum if you are found to be drinking and driving. Same goes for texting and driving.

    11. AR says:

      why isn’t there a bike lane adjacent to the sidewalk on CPW is beyond me.. especially considering how many cyclists ride in and out of the park. There are always cars swerving into the bike path to drop off pedestrians or to stop and sit in their cars.

    12. AC says:

      To Leigh’s point, and I’m an UWS resident of 50 years plus (I learned to ride on the streets of Manhattan), riding in NYC is still unsafe despite all the improvements. And this accident is a clear example:

      All three parties are responsible
      1) Uber Driver pulls into a bike lane.
      2) Tourist swerves into traffic
      3) Truck driver, even if he wasn’t DWI, was going to hit the tourist.

      My point? The above three scenarios happen EVERY day. We’re lucky this doesn’t happen more often. Ride bikes recreationally is still unsafe in NYC.

    13. B.B. says:

      Isn’t or wasn’t DOT working on a scheme for a protected bike lane or lanes (north and south bound) for CPW?

      IMHO the thing must be complicated because of several factors.

      Parking allowed for NYPD and or Trump Hotel from Columbus Circle well into low 60’s on east side of CPW.

      If you move parking to turning lane and create a protected bike lane on CPW (east side) along curb/gutter that will effectively reduce much of CPW to one lane going north. This would put buses and everyone else into that narrow lane.

      On Amsterdam and Columbus the bike lanes are on opposite sides from bus service. As on First and Second avenues as well.

      Like it or not some way would have to be found to accommodate various trucks (UPS, FedEx, Fresh Direct, USPS, etc.. that need to make deliveries along CPW.

      Perhaps an easier solution would be to officially allow what many do already; bike the wrong way up the West Drive instead of using CPW.

    14. Judas says:

      things happen get over it, we live in a over populated city where you need to be aware of your surroundings not blame everything on drivers or the city for not creating bike lanes, this city is not built for bikes.

      • dannyboy says:

        This is you comment to an article titled “Madison Lyden, Killed by Truck on Central Park West, Was Recent College Graduate on ‘The Trip of a Lifetime’”?