The grieving family of an Australian woman who was killed while cycling in New York City after being hit by a garbage truck has broken their silence.
Madison Jane Lyden, 23, from Geelong, Australia, was sightseeing near Central Park shortly before 5 p.m. local time on Aug. 10 when the accident occurred. She was cycling in the Central Park West bike lane when a car pulled up in front of her, causing her to swerve into the adjacent car lane.
She was then hit and run over by the garbage truck. The 23-year-old, who didn’t have a helmet on at the time, as taken to a nearby hospital but could not be revived.
Madison’s family members from Lauderdale, Tasmania, spoke to reporters on Aug. 13 remembering the “beautiful girl” who was “loyal and loving.”
“Our girl was on the trip of a lifetime and I think she’d only spoken to me on the previous day or the day before and said ‘Dad, can you believe your little girl’s in New York City?'” Madison’s father Andrew Lyden said, reported the ABC.
“For her to be taken from us in such a horrific way is gut-wrenching. Words can’t describe how heartbreaking this is.”
Her mother Amanda Berry said Madison had just completed four years at university and was applying for masters this year. She was travelling the world with her best friend “having the adventure of a lifetime.”
Her twin sister Paige Lyden said she didn’t know “where to begin on what Madison meant to me and our family.”
The family has also posted a personal announcement on their family business page to express their sorrow over Madison’s death.
Personal announcement- We are a family business and this weekend we have been hit with the devastation of losing our…
The garbage truck driver Felipe D. Chairez, 44, has since been charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while ability impaired, and operating a commercial vehicle with an alcohol reading of 0.04-0.06 per cent or less, reported ABC, citing police.
Chairez had spoken to police at the scene of the incident and officers noted that he appeared intoxicated. They later found two empty beer cans in the truck, New York Daily News reported.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the tragic scene on Aug. 10 and told reported that he will make sure there will be a full investigation.
“This is another example, from my point of view, of the danger of reckless driving, and we’re going to make sure there’s a full investigation and we’re going to make sure that there are real consequences for anything that happened here that was illegal,” he said, reported Newscorp. “A 23-year-old, that’s very painful.”
According to a report by Vision Zero, a program aimed to make streets safer, the number of bicycle fatalities on New York City streets has remained constant with 23 fatalities in 2017 and 18 deaths in 2016. On average, 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes, according to the program.
“This status quo is unacceptable. The City of New York must no longer regard traffic crashes as mere ‘accidents,’ but rather as preventable incidents that can be systematically addressed,” the program website stated.
“No level of fatality on city streets is inevitable or acceptable.”