11 August 2018

Her Last Ride

While riding here in New York City, I avoid curbside bicycle lanes.  I especially avoid them if they are alongside parks where motor vehicles aren't allowed. A terrible incident that occurred yesterday reminded me of why.

Madison Jane Lyden, 23 years old, was visiting from Australia.  She rode a rented bicycle in the lane on Central Park West just south of West 66th Street.  A livery cab pulled into it, in front of her.  She swerved to avoid it.  

A private sanitation truck rumbled up behind her.

Madison Jane Lyden isn't going home.  

When I lived in Manhattan, I cycled up Central Park West often.  That was in pre-bike lane days.  I always knew that the intersection with 66th Street was hazardous.  It's the where the southernmost traverse across Central Park enters regular New York City traffic.  Often, drivers are lulled after driving across that traverse, where they don't have to contend with the vagaries of Manhattan street traffic and are thus not ready for a change in traffic signals, pedestrians crossing--or cyclists.

Traffic is further congested when there is a performance at Lincoln Center, three blocks to the west, or in any of the other nearby performance and exhibition venues such as the West Side Y.

I am guessing that Ms. Lyden would not have been familiar with those traffic patterns.  Even if she were, I don't think she would have been prepared for a livery cab pulling into the bike lane--or for a private sanitation truck barreling behind her.

Let alone a garbage truck operated by an intoxicated driver.  

Madison Jane Lyden so enjoyed riding downtown that she decided to do some exploring.  She pedaled uptown.  It shouldn't have been her last ride.