Private Trash Hauler Kills Madison Jane Lyden, 23, Biking on Central Park West

A livery driver obstructed the unprotected bike lane on Central Park West, forcing Lyden into motor vehicle traffic.

The unprotected bike lane on Central Park West at 66th Street, via Google Maps
The unprotected bike lane on Central Park West at 66th Street, via Google Maps

A private trash hauler struck and killed Madison Jane Lyden, 23, as she biked on Central Park West shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday.

Between 66th Street and 67th Street, a livery driver pulled into the northbound bike lane and obstructed Lyden’s way, reports the West Side Rag. As she biked around the obstruction, the garbage truck driver struck her. Lyden, who was visiting New York from Australia, was declared dead at Roosevelt Hospital.

The truck driver had several cans of beer in his cab and will be charged for driving under the influence, Captain Timothy Malin, commanding officer of the 20th Precinct, told the Rag.

Industrywide, private carting companies are notoriously dangerous, both for workers and for the public at large. Private carters have now struck and killed at least 44 people in New York since 2010, but the industry is mobilizing against reforms to impose safer conditions.

Mayor de Blasio has previously said that it’s okay for drivers to block bike lanes for pick-ups and drop-offs. He came to the crash scene on Friday after a nearby event with Parkland shooting survivors and told people to drive carefully but did not say anything about obstructing bike lanes:

Like other streets next to parks, Central Park West is ideal for a protected bike lane because one side of the street has very few intersections. If Lyden had been biking with physical protection from motor vehicle traffic, she likely would still be alive.

In a statement, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White said that a fatal crash on Central Park West was “waiting to happen”:

Every day in this city, bike lanes meant to protect people on bikes are used as drop-off lanes, parking lanes, and idling lanes for lazy and entitled drivers. As a city we should be ashamed, because this death could have been prevented. More and more people are traveling by bike in our city, and they need safe, protected space. And while we have more protected lane-miles today than ever before, this preventable death underscores the need for every major street in New York City to have a safe, protected space to travel by bike.

Streetsblog will have more on this story as it develops.