TransAlt Hosts Memorial Ride For Madison Lyden Past Spot on Central Park West Where Garbage Truck Driver Killed Her

Activists are calling on Mayor de Blasio to do more to protect cyclists in a dangerous area (what else is new?).

Madison Lyden's bike.
Madison Lyden's bike.

Exactly one week after an Australian tourist was knocked off her bicycle and killed by a garbage truck driver on Central Park West, New York cyclists will ride past the crash site as part of a memorial protest on Friday afternoon.

TransAlt, which is organizing the 4:45 vigil/group ride, said it is calling on bicyclists to show up in huge numbers to protest not only the “horrific loss of Madison Jane Lyden” but to remind city officials that her death “was both predictable and preventable.”

“Join us to demand that Mayor de Blasio take action NOW and protect cyclists,” the street safety group said in a statement. “There are New Yorkers out biking somewhere, right now, and in too many places, in an unprotected bike lane.”

Central Park West is just such a place, with a painted lane from Columbus Circle to the top of Central Park — including the spot on W. 67th Street where Lyden was crushed after she was forced out of the bike lane after being cut off by a livery cab.

The killing sparked outrage that went beyond the ever-growing circle of activists outraged that the city’s Vision Zero program has not gotten close to the numeric goal of its name. Lyden, after all, was the ninth cyclist to die on the roads so far this year.

After the crash, de Blasio visited the scene and said, “This is another example … of the danger of reckless driving. A 23-year-old, that’s very painful. … Here is someone who was doing everything she was supposed to be doing.”

Mayor de Blasio is very rarely seen on a bike, but he certainly enjoyed this protected bike lane. Cyclists want more. Photo: Eric Phillips
Mayor de Blasio is very rarely seen on a bike, but he certainly enjoyed this protected bike lane. Cyclists want more. Photo: Eric Phillips

So far this year, cyclists have submitted thousands of complaints against taxi drivers for double-parking in bike lanes, blocking crosswalks, driving recklessly or cutting off cyclists, according to data provided to Streetsblog by Reported, a smartphone app created to simply the complaint process.

The mayor’s commitment to street safety is sometimes troubling. His administration has added scores of miles of protected bike lanes, and bucked a Queens community board earlier this summer to build more lanes in Sunnyside. But back in March, he also dismissed cyclists’ outrage at lack of double-parking or bike-lane infraction enforcement by the NYPD, saying,  “There’s always the question of where we put our officers to have the maximum impact. If someone is blocking, for example, a bike lane for 30 seconds while they take out their groceries or they let their kid off, I don’t think they should get a ticket for that.”

Indeed, the driver of the cab that blocked Madison Lyden, leading to her death, did not receive a ticket.

Memorial Ride for Madison Lyden, Central Park West at 67th Street, Friday, August 17, 4:45 p.m. For info or to RSVP, visit TransAlt’s Facebook page.

  • JL

    Why the reluctance of the NYPD to even issue summons to drivers in these situations? I don’t know that they have anything to gain by choosing sides. What are they guarding against?

  • William Lawson

    idk but you can get an idea of actual NYPD policy on bike lanes here….basically the officer is admitting that his supervisor instructs them to give a pass to commercial vehicles in bike lanes. It’s a top-down policy. I think he makes the statement in the 2nd of the videos.