EXCLUSIVE: Madison Lyden’s Mom to Central Park West Bike Lane Foes: ‘Shame on You!’

Madison Lyden was killed on Central Park West on Aug. 10, 2018. Her mother, Amanda Barry, is blasting residents of the Upper West Side who are trying to block a protected bike lane.
Madison Lyden was killed on Central Park West on Aug. 10, 2018. Her mother, Amanda Barry, is blasting residents of the Upper West Side who are trying to block a protected bike lane.

Saturday is the first anniversary of the death of Madison Lyden, an Australian tourist who was killed as she rode a rented bike on Central Park West on Aug. 10. Lyden veered into traffic to avoid a cab driver who had parked in the painted bike lane, only to be hit by a drunk sanitation truck driver. Her death led to new calls for the city to install a protected bike lane on Central Park West — a lane the city is currently building. But residents of 25 Central Park West have sued the city to stop the lane and preserve 400 spaces for parked cars. Streetsblog asked Lyden’s mother, Amanda Berry, to reflect on the loss of her daughter and the fight ahead to honor her death with more protection for cyclists.

My name is Amanda Berry.

I am Madison Jane Lyden’s mom. She was 23 years of age when she died. On Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, 4:45 p.m. (7:15 a.m. Australian time) my life changed forever.

A call from Madison’s dad, Andrew, woke me. His voice I will never forget, no greeting.

“Amanda…”

It was fear, fear and devastation in his voice that frightened me more than anything I had heard, my worst fear as a parent started.

“Amanda. Our little girl has been hurt in New York. You have to prepare yourself. It’s a life and death situation.”

Then he cried.

“An off-duty nurse that worked on Madison said they will call us in 15 minutes.”

I assured him she had to be OK; she had to be! Then I hung up, panicked and paced then thought to call Madison’s friend Pam, who was traveling with her. Running upstairs to find Adrian, my partner, I called and connected.

“Pam what’s happening? Is Madison OK?” only to hear Pam screaming hysterical.

“What did she say?” I said to Adrian

“I think she said she died.”

Adrian made her repeat it and he just looked at me and I knew. I fell to the floor screaming. Life that day changed for me, for us all. I am not the same person. Neither is her Dad. Part of us died that day with Madison.

Lyden with her travel partner Pam.
Lyden with her travel partner Pam, on the road.

Andrew arrived not long after to drive me around to our other daughter’s place, so we could both tell Paige that her twin had been killed.

I have been in shock and suffered PTSD since. Madison’s entire extended family, her brothers, her sisters, step-parents. I thought this was going to kill Madison’s grandmother, and it nearly did (her heart arrested twice after losing Madison).

I had received a message from Madison while I was sleeping hours before she died, saying. “I leave here Sunday morning Mumma and make my way to Bali and then two weeks till we can cuddle xxx” with a picture of Madison with the Empire State Building behind her. She was so happy and glowing.

To the entitled, wealthy, Central Park West apartment owners fighting this protected bike lane: SHAME, shame on you!! This news shocked me, it devastated me like a personal assault.

If this bike lane had been built years ago when it was first proposed, my daughter Madison would be here today without a doubt! Madison would be close to finishing her Masters in Psychology now.

I would like to thank the local community reaching out to me offering their condolences and support, also sharing their outrage at nothing being done sooner as Madison’s death was preventable. I have heard their stories of their losses, losing their little ones out the front of their buildings by entitled drivers — losing their children, family members and friends.

The carnage has to stop — 18 cycling deaths already this year, not to mention the injuries! Eighteen families and groups of friends living our nightmare, missing out on their children’s accomplishments, their wedding days, their highs and lows. All this can be stopped.

Can I ask you wealthy apartment owners one question: Is your car park worth a human life?

Madison was ours and we were hers.

Madison Lyden in the west during her last trip.
Madison Lyden in the west during her last trip.
  • PDiddy

    This amount of selfishness reminds me of a segment on Bill Maher’s show about, “The sick culture of wealth.” He talked about how rich people think it’s OK to over use water in California as the state is grappling with a drought and how a rich asshole dentist paid a ridiculous amount of money to shoot a lion.

    This is what rich people do. They use their clout to steal from the public. It’s not enough to have all the money, they have to steal all the things of beauty in the world from the common folk as well.

    In this case, they are stealing our very ability to stay alive. Fighting a safety project tooth and nail so they can have free parking. Instead of embracing a lifestyle that 70% of NYC residents live everyday, they fight it viciously. We are plebs, and they are the aristocrats that lawmakers have to cater to.

    We can’t be content with politicians like DeBlasio. We need more Corey Johnsons and AOCs in office. Vote out the blue dog democrats who would have you think that centrism actually gets us anywhere.

  • Joe R.

    “they have to steal all the things of beauty in the world from the common folk as well”
    That includes raping our planet so they can add another zero to their bank accounts. Why do you think it’s so hard to get off fossil fuels? Even the wealthy know damned well they’ll run out, and we’ll need to be on alternatives eventually. However, they want to suck every last drop of oil out of the ground before they let us switch so they can get as rich as possible.

    Fights like this are just disgusting. All we’re asking is to be able to use our bikes without getting killed. Even that they have to deny us for their own selfish comforts.

    This is why the rich will increasingly have to live in gated communities for their own safety if they don’t change their ways. Everyone who’s not rich is hating them more and more.

  • Vooch

    Should be made a flier and placed on car windshield’s on CPW…..

  • Zach Katz

    Uh, let’s not forget that poor and middle class people are very often just as selfish about their cars/parking.

  • Frank Kotter

    Ms Barry,

    I can only offer my sincerest condolences and apologies that my community let both of you down in myriad inexcusable ways. I am so sorry.

  • Twofooted

    Just print it and mail it directly to the litigants at the Century condominium.

  • KeNYC2030

    The unfortunate reality is that it took this high-profile death for city officials to finally decide that CPW needed to change. If instead the relentless drumbeat of cyclist injuries had simply continued, year on year, cyclists would continue to be “protected” by a painted stripe, as they are on countless other streets in this city. Or if the victim had been an immigrant delivery worker rather than a lovely young Australian tourist full of hope and promise, I doubt there would have been the political will to remove 400 parking spaces to create a far safer street.

    “We live in a political world
    Where mercy walks the plank
    Life is in mirrors, death disappears
    Up the steps into the nearest bank.”

  • AJ

    I can at least understand wanting to protect the utility of an expensive investment you made when you don’t have much else. It’s misplaced but I understand the instinct. But the Century board opposing the loss of free parking is class warfare, plain and simple.

  • Joe R.

    Also, there are some poor and middle class people who actually need their vehicles for work.

  • William Lawson

    Heartbreaking. And so infuriating. These CPW scumbags are going straight to hell for placing parking spaces above human life.They won’t win, the bike lane is a done deal.

  • Vooch

    Joe,

    that’s a argument for exclusive use of parkways and bridges for only vehicle with commercial plates from 0700 to 1900 all workdays

    🙂

  • JayHightman

    Tears again have come to my eyes, for my beloved daughter Robyn Hightman was killed on the streets of NYC around 9:30 am on June 24th, 2019, the first day of them working as a bike courier. They rode much of their life and had just ridden to NYC from Richmond, VA, 350 miles in 3 days. She was the 12th to die this year, it took 6 more in NYC before Mayor De Blasio unveiled a $58.4M bike safety plan amid a surge of cyclist deaths. Now, more than a year after Madison was killed, not much has really changed. I can fully relate to Amanda Berry, as the shock, grief and ending of most of my dreams affects me every day. I do not know where I will be in a year, but find it difficult to see myself in a different place.

    https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/06/28/end-legal-murder-in-nyc-hundreds-mourn-cyclist-robyn-hightman-in-memorial-ride
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a3a07934350c70fb76a436a0dca25017e31588f33af6c1152c182e3906524e28.jpg

  • wklis

    The automobile gods’ disciples will say (paraphrasing):

    Kneel before the almighty automobile gods! Kneel you heathen pedestrians and pagan cyclists.

  • J. m Robinson

    I have a lot of tears reading this sad story. Even after all of this, cyclists are still being killed on the streets of NYC without anyone being charged.Fedex, UPS, USPS, Uber, Lyft and Taxi drivers still park in the bike lane so nothing has changed as far that goes. It’s so outrageous. The people in power don’t really care it seems.

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