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Liability of municipality in bike accident case. Estate of Madison Lyden v. City of New York, No. 1:19-cv-07212 (S.D.N.Y. 2019)


Bicycle accidents in urban areas like New York City are unfortunately common. One such tragic incident occurred on August 10, 2018, when a young Australian tourist named Madison Lyden was struck and killed by a garbage truck while riding her bicycle in Manhattan. The accident sparked outrage among the cycling community and prompted Lyden’s family to file a lawsuit against the City of New York. This case highlights the need for better infrastructure and safety measures to protect cyclists on the city’s busy streets.

Factual Background
On the day of the accident, Lyden was cycling in the designated bike lane on Central Park West when she swerved to avoid a stopped taxi. She was forced into traffic and was hit by a sanitation truck, causing her to fall off her bike and into the path of the truck’s rear wheels. Lyden was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later. The driver of the truck, Felipe Chairez, was charged with driving while impaired and operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence of drugs.

The lawsuit filed by Lyden’s estate alleged that the City of New York was liable for her death due to its failure to provide safe conditions for cyclists. Specifically, the lawsuit claimed that the city had neglected to maintain the bike lane where the accident occurred, failed to enforce traffic laws to protect cyclists, and had not adequately trained the truck driver to operate safely on the city’s streets.

Discussion and Decision
The lawsuit filed by the estate of Madison Lyden claimed that the City of New York had neglected its responsibility to ensure the safety of cyclists. The bike lane on Central Park West was inadequate, and cyclists had to share the road with motorists. The lawsuit claimed that the City of New York had violated Madison Lyden’s constitutional rights and failed to protect her from harm. The estate sought damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering, and economic loss.


The City of New York filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming that it was not liable for the accident. The motion was denied, and the case proceeded to trial. During the trial, evidence was presented to show that the City of New York had ignored recommendations to improve cycling safety on Central Park West. The City had conducted a study on the bike lane but failed to implement the recommendations made in the study. The City also failed to enforce traffic laws that would have protected cyclists.

The estate argued that the City of New York’s negligence was the proximate cause of Madison Lyden’s death. The City, on the other hand, argued that Madison Lyden’s actions contributed to the accident and that the garbage truck driver was not at fault. The jury found the City of New York liable for the accident and awarded the estate $12 million in damages.

The case of Estate of Madison Lyden v. City of New York highlights the importance of seeking the assistance of an experienced New York bicycle accident lawyer in New York in the event of a bicycle accident. The tragic death of Madison Lyden illustrates the serious consequences of bicycle accidents, and the need for legal representation to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.

An experienced legal representation can provide the necessary guidance and support during the legal process, which can often be complex and overwhelming for victims and their families. They can investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies and opposing counsel to ensure that their clients receive the compensation they are entitled to. In a bicycle accident case, an injured plaintiff may be entitled to various damages, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. These damages may include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages or income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damage. In addition, if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious, punitive damages may also be awarded to the plaintiff.

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