A ghost bike on Central Park West

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  • Street safety advocates gathered Sept. 17 to dedicate a “ghost bike” in memory of Madison Jane Lyden, a cyclist who was struck and killed on Central Park West near 67th Street on Aug. 10. Photo: Michael Garofalo

  • A family friend described Madison Jane Lyden, the 23-year-old tourist killed last month in a cycling collision on Central Park West, as “the most bubbly, vibrant person you've ever met." Photo: Michael Garofalo

Safety advocates renew call for protected bike lane along the avenue a month after cyclist’s death


A solitary bicycle, painted stark white, now rests on Central Park West at 67th Street in memory of Madison Jane Lyden, the 23-year-old Australian tourist struck and killed by a garbage truck nearby Aug. 10.

Adorned with photos, eucalyptus branches, a stuffed koala, an Australian flag and other mementos of the young woman from Hobart, Tasmania, the “ghost bike” is one of dozens installed throughout the city where bicyclists have been killed.

Twenty-four candles flickered on the ground in front of the ghost bike during Tuesday’s memorial dedication — one for each year of Lyden’s life, plus one extra. “That one is for us to all carry Madi’s light,” said Carolyn Bischof, a family friend who spoke at the ceremony. She described Lyden as “the most bubbly, vibrant person you’ve ever met.”

“You could hear her speaking three blocks down,” Bischof remembered, warmly. “She had no volume control.”

As Lyden rode north Aug. 10, a livery vehicle blocked the painted bike lane on Central Park West, forcing her to pull into the adjacent traffic lane, where she was struck and killed by a private sanitation truck.

Lyden’s death has prompted renewed calls from bike activists and local politicians for the city’s Department of Transportation to replace the painted bike lane on Central Park West with a protected lane, a step supporters say would almost certainly have prevented the collision.

“Had we had a two-way protected-bike lane, the first car never would have been able to pull over in the first place,” said Helen Rosenthal, who represents the neighborhood in the City Council and has led the push for a street reconfiguration in the wake of Lyden’s death.

Earlier this month, Community Board 7’s transportation committee passed a resolution requesting that the DOT explore the implementation of new bike lane protections on Central Park West; the full board will vote on the resolution Oct. 2. “We are against any bike lane that’s not protected,” Roberta Semer, the board’s chairwoman, said at the memorial ceremony.

Officials with the Department of Transportation have confirmed that the agency is looking at the feasibility of installing the protected lane.

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