A bicycle accident in Mid-City injured Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he was riding down Venice Blvd. According to the LA Times, a taxi pulled out in front of him and stopped short, forcing Villaraigosa to slam on his brakes, flinging him over his handlebars. Villaraigosa was riding in the bicycle lane.
Mayor Villaraigosa suffered a broken elbow and received treatment at Ronald Reagan/UCLA Medical Center. This incident comes on the heels of increased complaints from locals concerned with bicycling safety. They have been calling for a stricter enforcement of bicycling safety laws and more bike lanes, arguing that at least a share of funds from Measure R–a 2008 sales tax designated for city transportation projects—go to building more and maintaining existing bicycle lanes on roadways.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has promised in the past to make bicycling safety a higher priority for local bicyclists and pedestrians. According to the Los Angeles Times, the LAPD issued a directive, which instructed officers that the driver of a vehicle could be liable for causing an accident even if there is no contact with the bicyclist.
The taxi did not make contact with Mayor Villaraigosa’s bicycle. Sarah Hamilton, a spokesperson for the mayor, insisted that the taxi driver did not break any laws. “The taxi driver could have exercised more caution, but what he did was not on purpose and it wasn’t illegal. He just wasn’t proceeding with caution,” Hamilton said.
The driver of the taxicab stayed on the scene and gave his information to the mayor’s security detail, who was escorting Mayor Villaraigosa on his ride. Fortunately, the mayor was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which likely prevented head injuries.