New York truck driver fined over death of Australian bike rider

The New York rubbish truck driver who crashed into and killed Australian bike rider Madison Lyden has walked out of court with $US1000 in fines.  

Madison Lyden, 23, was riding her bike along Central Park West when an Uber driver drove into the bike lane, forcing her to swerve into the path of a rubbish truck driven by Felipe Chairez.

Chairez recorded a blood alcohol reading of 0.04 at the time of the crash. He plead guilty to one count of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and one count of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol.

He was given a fine of $US500 for each charge, a one-year driver licence suspension and ordered to attend a victim impact panel and the Stop DWI Program.

However, the judge said that was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he was also guilty of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Fairfax reported that witnesses and video footage apparently show that the truck was driven within its lane, within the speed limit and at a reasonable manner.

To Australians, it seems murky why Chairez could be found guilty of some drink driving related charges and not others. It is also surprising that the Uber driver, who seems to be the one most at fault, did not face court

New York law does not allow for a criminal charge to be made against a driver who has not made contact with other people or vehicles.

Our thoughts are with the family of Madison Lyden and no penalty will ever make up for the tragic loss of life.

However, while her death was caused by a terrible set of circumstances, there is a serious lesson to be learned by people both in America and at home.

Driving a car in a bike lane is seriously dangerous and should be treated as such.

People who ride bikes are the most vulnerable road users and when someone drives into a space dedicated for us it should be an offence.

In mid-2018, the Victorian government made rule change to allow Ubers and other rideshare car drivers to use bike lanes. Bicycle Network opposed the change.

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