It’s been almost a year since we lost our daughter, Madison Jane Lyden. She was smart, adventurous and beautiful. She was hit and killed while riding her bicycle along Central Park West last August.
On that day, she was forced into traffic because a livery cab was blocking the bike lane — the space that was supposed to be safe for our daughter. She was forced to swerve into traffic to avoid the cab. An inebriated garbage truck driver ran her over from behind after she had safely and legally merged into the traffic lane.
Madison was 23-years-old, and was supposed to be on the trip of a lifetime. She had traveled from Australia to the Philippines, Japan to the United States and was so excited to experience the magic of New York City in the summertime. Madison’s trip was to conclude in Bali. Sadly, she never made it.
It is impossible to convey the feeling of losing a child. Each time I hear mention of NYC, it feels like a knife going through my heart.
The Comfort of Strangers Last year, the local community came out in solidarity with Madison, and created a beautiful monument to her memory at the site where she was killed. It was deeply moving to see so many strangers come together and let us know she wouldn’t be forgotten.
We also initially found some relief in knowing that local elected officials had called on Mayor de Blasio to create a truly safe space for cyclists along the corridor where Madison was killed, so that no other family would have to endure what we lost last summer.
A couple of weeks ago, New York City’s local government received community endorsement for the safety redesign of Central Park West. We are so happy this has finally happened, to keep cyclists from harm’s way or worse .... death
One year after Madison’s death, we cannot believe the city has not yet implemented these changes. No improvements have been made to Central Park West this year, and with peak tourist and bicyclist season now here, far too many people remain unacceptably endangered on New York City streets.
Act Now, Mayor de BlasioWe know there is a plan to make Central Park West safer, and we encourage its implementation as soon as possible. These are common sense changes that would have kept our daughter safe. I know 400 parking spaces is a loss to the community, but is a car park worth a life?
A bike lane that was fully separated from moving traffic would have kept Madison safe. We have been watching from afar, with great sadness, as the number of bicyclists killed in New York City this year has increased dramatically. So much more can and hopefully now will be done to prevent this.
We can’t wait for another tragedy to act.
As we approach the first anniversary of Madison’s death, we are hoping the mayor of New York City will prioritize implementing these changes immediately, and make Central Park West safer for the hundreds of thousands of people who, like Madison, use that street to visit Central Park every year.
Hard as it might be, we will travel from Australia to spend time in August at the site where my beautiful baby left this life. Please Mr. Mayor, we beg of you, don’t let us see Central Park West in the same dangerous condition that led to Madison’s death. Seeing where Maddy was killed will be torture enough for us. Please let us see that life-saving changes have been made.