A truck driver was charged on Saturday with drink driving after a Tasmanian woman was killed while she was on holiday in New York City.
Madison Jane Lyden, 23, from Tasmania, was riding a rental bike in the cycling lane on Central Park West when she was hit by a sanitation truck, driven by Felipe Chairez.
A NYPD spokesman told Fairfax Media that Chairez, 44, from New York, is facing three serious driving charges: driving while intoxicated, driving while ability-impaired and driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
He was due to face court for arraignment on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses yesterday described the devastating scenes as the tragedy unfolded.
According to one witness, Madison's friend who was cycling with her, ran to her aid and tried to comfort her after the crash.
“She was shouting, ‘Baby, baby, baby, wake up,’” the witness told The New York Daily News.
Ms Lyden was riding in the bike lane with a friend when the accident happened during busy Friday afternoon traffic. When an Uber pulled into the bike lane, Ms Lyden swerved and veered out of the bike lane where she was allegedly hit by the truck.
“She flew and hit the concrete on her head,” the witness said.
She was not wearing a helmet, which is not uncommon in New York as there are no legal requirements to do so.
Her friend tried to resuscitate her until the ambulance arrived. Ms Lyden suffered severe trauma injuries and was taken to the Roosevelt Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Jorge (who declined to give his last name), a doorman on 65 Central Park West, was across the road when the accident happened.
“It was in the middle of rush hour, there were cars going and cars coming,” he said. Then he heard honking and screaming.
“The truck went on top of her," he said. “I saw people screaming. They were saying, ‘Please wake up, people, please, call 911’,” he said.
Visibly upset, Jorge said he had never seen anything like it in his life.
Melissa Kennelly was walking by when she passed the accident and saw two cars with trash strewn between them.
NYPD spokesman George Tsourovakas said Ms Lyden was riding northbound when the black Toyota, reportedly and Uber, pulled into the bicycle lane from its stationary position shortly before 5pm on Friday.
“The cyclist, we believe, swerved out and she was struck by a private garbage truck, which was also travelling northbound on Central Park West,” Mr Tsourovakas said.
Ms Lyden grew up in Lauderdale on the outskirts of Hobart before moving to Geelong to study, graduating in psychology from Deakin University.
City of Greater Geelong chief executive Martin Cutter on Saturday expressed deep sorrow over her death.
“Madison commenced with the city as a learn-to-swim teacher, lifeguard and receptionist in March 2017, working at our Leisurelink, Waterworld and Kardinia Pool facilities around Geelong,” he said.
“Madison was a valued and respected team member and she will be greatly missed.
“The city is offering all appropriate support services to our staff who might be affected during this very difficult time.”
Her father Andrew Lyden's building firm, Lyden Builders, has built several charity houses.
One of his projects, for Diabetes Tasmania, was named 'Madison House' in honour of his daughter who had type 1 diabetes.
A DFAT spokesperson said officials were providing consular assistance to the family.
“For privacy reasons we will not provide further comment," the spokesperson said.
A transportation advocacy group said it was “a crash waiting to happen” because “lazy and entitled drivers” are parking, dropping people off and idling in bike lanes.
Transportation Alternatives said Ms Lyden’s death “underscores the need for every major street in New York City to have a safe, protected space to travel by bike”.