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