Last weekend, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa experienced firsthand why city cyclists are constantly complaining about disrespectful drivers on the streets.
Villaraigosa, who began to actively promote biking in L.A. after attending the Copenhagen climate conference in December, was out for a Saturday ride to the beach on Venice Boulevard when a taxi suddenly pulled out in front of him. Villaraigosa slammed the brakes, flew over his handlebars and broke his elbow in eight places.
Now, he’s become a more outspoken bicycle activist. Right after the accident, he wrote in the Huffington Post about how “bicycles belong on L.A.’s streets” even though the city was unfortunately designed mostly with cars in mind. He says the city is working to improve bicycle infrastructure and enforcement of traffic laws. Hopefully, after this incident, he is even more sympathetic to cyclists who keep the city greener and reduce smog, but put their lives at risk while doing so.
We’re glad to hear that Villaraigosa is now back to his normal routine. But if only there were a nationwide Mayoral Bike to Work Day. Not that we want more mayors to break bones, but it would be useful and eye-opening for all of them to witness the kind of reckless driving that too often makes city streets unsafe for cyclists.