The tragic death of a young Australian tourist in New York City has highlighted the need for better road safety in the Big Apple, especially as it pertains to bike riding.
Madison Lyden, 23, was killed whilst cycling in Manhattan when she swerved into traffic after attempting to avoid an illegally parked vehicle in the bike lane.
Lyden, a Tasmanian who was travelling with her best friend on the “trip of a lifetime”, was hit by a garbage truck.
The driver of the truck, 44-year-old Felipe Chairez, was charged with drunken driving after he admitted to drinking two beers before driving.
But according to News Corp, the car that sparked the accident, an Uber vehicle, didn’t even get a ticket. The vehicle was illegally parked in front of a bus stop before it pulled out into the bike lane.
“Madison Jane Lyden is dead because her bike lane was blocked,” said Paul Steely White, director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
“It’s tragic, yes, but all the more unconscionable because this was a crash 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.”
Craig Richards, CEO of Melbourne-based Bicycle Networks, told news.com.au the driver should have been charged.
“If you’ve pulled into a bike lane and caused the bike to swerve out, I say at the very least that’s a traffic offence and I’m surprised it’s been let go,” he said.
“To ride a bike in New York City, especially in Central Park, is a dream come true for many Aussies.
“It should be something you talk about for the rest of your life, not the end of your life.
“What we really need — all around the world — is protected places to ride, so when we see bike lanes and we have cars parked on them, it’s not ideal.
“More than 80% of cycling-related deaths around the world are the fault of motorists, so we need places for cyclists to ride uninhabited.”