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Mayor Villaraigosa breaks elbow in bicycle accident

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa broke his elbow in a bicycle accident Saturday evening, a spokesman said.

The mayor was riding in the bicycle lane on Venice Boulevard in Mid-City at about 6:50 p.m. when a taxi abruptly pulled in front of him. The mayor hit his brakes and fell off the bike.

He was transported to Ronald Reagan/UCLA Medical Center, where he was treated for the broken bone.

By 10 p.m. he had been released and was resting comfortably at Getty House, the mayor's official residence.

The mayor's accident comes as bicyclists in the city have increasingly been complaining about safety issues and pressing city officials to do more to make cycling safe.

Bicycle advocates have called for more dedicated bike lanes and appeared repeatedly before the City Council to argue that a specific share of funds from Measure R, the 2008 sales tax for transportation projects, should be set aside for bicycle- and pedestrian-related initiatives.

Bicycle activist Stephen Box filled out paperwork last week to run for City Council in the district represented by Councilman Tom LaBonge that includes Hollywood, Koreatown and North Hollywood. Box, who was run off the road by a bus while cycling on Sunset Boulevard several years ago, said Venice Boulevard already has bike lanes but needs considerably more attention from city officials.

"Venice Boulevard is notorious for having all of the trash cans block the bike lanes. Venice Boulevard is notorious for having motor homes block the bike lanes. And Venice Boulevard is notorious for having fast traffic that uses the bike lane to squeeze through even when bicyclists are in the bike lane," he said.

Police Chief Charlie Beck has made overtures to bicyclists, promising to make their safety a bigger priority and sending some of his officers to ride in the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride in June. The LAPD issued a directive instructing officers that a motorist can be held responsible for causing a bicycle accident even if he or she did not make direct contact with the rider -- and can be arrested for fleeing the scene, Box said.

-- Andrew Blankstein and David Zahniser

Comments () | Archives (135)

Could not have happend to a better guy!

To bad he didn't break his neck

All I can say is that both bike riders and automobile drivers should both be careful, follow the traffic rules, and just show a little courtesy and respect towards one another. After all, how would you treat a member of your own family if one of them were a a bike rider or auto driver? The point is that we all members of this society and must try to avoid hurting one another, if possible.

If it wouldn't have been a taxi, it would have been a pothole.

Just think of all the random people you meet up with in a day; the guy who smiled at you when you passed him on the sidewalk, the waitress who brought you a pizza and a pitcher of beer, the dude who sat next to you in church... Ever wondered what they were really thinking? Are their real thoughts as dark and ugly as most of the 101 comments I have read here today? It's a scary and depressing thought.

I understand both viewpoints, the anger towards bicyclists who do not obey the rules and the anger towards the car drivers who do not respect bicyclists and put them in danger. I think it all has to do with people's attitudes and personalities. If someone is naturally self-centered and immmature, he will be that way everywhere, and no amount of laws will change him, because laws cannot change who we are inside. We all need to respect others and admit when we make mistakes. Believe it or not, I have even met people who don't want to share elevators! "Oh, great," someone once said loudly as I was entering the elevator, "Why does it have to stop at every single floor?"

At another time a woman yelled at me on the bus for standing too close to her. The bus was so packed we couldn't even breathe. I think sometimes we all have to be willing to suffer in order to prevent fights and accidents. It's just part of living in a city that has about three more times the people that it can support. I don't blame anyone for that, but there is no excuse for being unreasonable. I hope the mayor gets well soon, even though he has done a terrible job as mayor. I just don't have the heart to accept the old "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" mentality. I'd rather give people a fair chance and not send them to hell until the very end.

Karma has struck the Mayor.

As for Bicyclist, i often ride my bike around my neiborhood i never have had any problems with a motorist, This is why, i actually know how to ride my bike, use the BRAKES and use commen sense when riding in the streets and i obey all laws. Several cyclist brake laws everyday and I'll bet more cyclist run red lights and stop signs in a day then cars do. i see it everyday i have seen cyclist not stop for one red light from eaglerock all the way to Downtown.

If Cyclists want more bike lanes. then you have to pay your fair share of taxes, People who own cars pay DMV fees, Cyclist pay ZERO.

When riding use your BRAKES, COMMEN SENSE, & follow all the Street LAWS when riding and you will probably never have a problem. simple.

All I can say is that both bike riders and automobile drivers should show a little courtesy, follow the traffic rules, and have a little respect for one another. After all, if a bike rider or an automoble driver was a member of your own family, how would like others to treat him or her? The point is that we are all members of this society and we should constantly strive to avoid hurting one another, if possible. Lastly, all riders and drivers have the "right" to use our public roads, because we all pay the taxes to support, build and maintain them.

the comments I have as a driver of 45 years and former bicycle rider in Los Angeles is that in a bike lane, I watch out for bikers, but I have yet to see any bike rider
stop at stop signs..even 4 way stops. When bikers are on
cell phones or texting, they are oblivious to everyting else, including the bike lane barrier line. I see them with dogs on leash or off leash running along side with no
control. I understand that the city council is going to debate cell phone texting pedestrians..do you want to know
why they do it? Just watch the new Verizon commercial on
signal strength...total distraction! Now you have the ipad
which can fit on the steering wheel. I have seen driver, reading a digital book, placed where the GPS device usually
is placed, driving distracted. When I contacted the police
to complain, I was told that as long as the law is on the books, it's enough of a deterrent!!

Maybe he will be more careful next time. Just maybe he should take a second look at the taxi drivers in the city.

So am I to assume that the righteous motorists who're venting about the lawless ways of cyclists are rigorous in their adherence to traffic laws? Obeying all posted speed limits? Always signaling when turning? Not texting or phoning while driving, or otherwise driving while distracted? Riiiiight.

Bicyclists have a legal right to use the road. Sure, there are jerk bicyclists, but their numbers are dwarfed by the number of jerk drivers. Until being a jerk is outlawed (and thereby, of course, eradicated), and until the laws are changed to prohibit bicycles on LA streets (nope, not gonna happen), suck it up, motorists, and quit your whining, play by the rules, and try not to kill or maim anybody. It's really not that complicated.

I'm a cyclist myself and just like how there are good drivers and bad drivers, there are also good cyclists and bad cyclists who don't follow the rules of the road. Its convenient for the trolls to lump the two into the same category.

I hope the mayor is doing better today. I hate to see anyone injured from doing a simple and effective thing as riding a bike. Maybe now he'll start to see the perils of riding our streets. My suggestion to you Mr. Mayor is to,

- Slow the traffic down to where they're driving the posted speed
- Give out hefty fines for texting or talking on a phone while driving
- Start building some bicycle infrastructure in this city

And all this time I thought you never rode a bike!

As someone who both rides a bike and drives a car, I wonder just what those signs mean that say, "Share the Road."

How do you share the road with a vehicle that can't go the minimum speed? Bikes can be counted on to run stop signs and just about any other laws that aren't convenient.

Sharing the road, as equals, does not work as things are now.

If it wasn't a taxi it would have been a pothole.

This is why I dont ride my bike to work...3 miles away from home....safety!!!!!

How is it that there is more sympathy here for drivers than for cyclists? This really makes me sad.

Actually roads were built for horses and pedestrians, then improved for bikes and cars are really johnny-come-lately to the roadways, but why let facts get in the way of your simple-minded bigotry?

Bike lanes don't keep you safe; good driving by you (and me) the cyclist and particularly by motorists are what keep you safe.

I'm so tired of the "physics" argument that cars are big and bikes are small so cars win. Semis and buses are even bigger, but we don't allow them to drive over our SUVs with impunity.

I hope that now with a high profile accident like the mayor's bike riders will now be given more consideration by making LA more biker friendly. New laws have to be enacted to respect bike riders right to share the roads especially those big SUVs with a single passenger and all it's blind spots. If they can require hybrids to make a little noise, how about a little noise for the lowly bike rider?

The Tea Party steered their members to this site? The mayor took his spill in the part o' town where I was born and raised, and let's hope that (1) his elbow heals quickly and (2) we cyclists get our due support. Folks, try it, you'll like it. Having said all that, I did get a coupla laffs at the hate-speech... Form over content ;-) Stephen Box for Council.

Jim8, I find that the "Share the Road" signs infuriating to, but from a different point of view.

I find them a little too vague and hippie-dippy. I have heard of cyclists being admonished for "not sharing the road" when they are riding perfectly in the manner prescribed by the law, that is, taking the lane when they need to avoid the car door zone.

I wish the signs would state more clearly what the law is. The law says that a bike can take the whole lane when necessary should be treated as slower traffic, to be passed safely if you can. If you can't, chances are it's a small residential street that you have no businesses going over 12-15 mph on anyway.

It's moot anyway, I can't recall the last time a bike slowed me down. I'm always losing time to the congestion caused by all the cars in a city that seems not to care about making other ways of getting around easier.

I can't believe the idiotic diatribe coming from some of these writers. The Mayor of Los Angeles has been in an accident! Mr. Mayor, I am sorry you were injured and I hope you have a speedy recovery and return to the City's business soon. Many of us "Anglo-Republicans" think you're doing a darn good job and appreciate having you in Los Angeles. For those that feel otherwise I would urge them to get informed. This Mayor has easily surpassed accomplishments made be past Mayors. Antonio may not be a perfect human being but then who is? As Mayor though, Antonio deserves to be rocognized as one of the best. He is. For those that doubt this I again encourage you to get informed. Antonio Villaraigosa is the real deal. A great Mayor and a pretty good human being. Thanks Tony. Get Well.

crashes are not accidents

To everyone who accused the reasonable motorists in this discussion of being "bike haters": come on, really?

What kind of logic dictates that a four-thousand-pound piece of metal and a thirty-pound piece of metal can peacefully coexist, when the latter doesn't even approach the speed limit on most roads and can easily disappear in a blind spot, even if checked for? Never mind that, as many have pointed out, the vast majority of cyclists don't observe the most elementary rules of the road (I've yet to see a cyclist who does, frankly).

I'm all for people getting their daily exercise, dose of self-satisfaction from showing everyone they're "green," alternative method of commute - whatever. But I'm also for their safety and for keeping my conscience clean of accidentally running over someone because he/she wants to prove that us jerk drivers need to share the road.

I think my ultimate question is this: knowing that LA drivers aren't the most careful, law-abiding, and safety-obsessed people around, why the hell would you even WANT to share a road with us? To me, the equation seems pretty simple: if you want to keep your limbs intact, stay on the sidewalk.

As a commuter cyclist in LA, I am glad that this happened to someone in power so he can truly know what the roads of LA are like. Cyclists DO belong on the roads, as we are moving vehicles. We might not be moving as fast as cars (although sometimes we do), but we move far too quickly for sidewalk safety.

The city needs to promote cycling safety (how to turn, what side of the road to ride on, stopping at stop signs/red lights, etc) and enforce it, but also needs to educate drivers on how to share the road.

For all of you who hate cyclists on the road, just think how they are improving traffic! One more cyclist means one less car which means you get to where you are going faster!

So, Mr. Mayor, do something to make LA safer, greener, and maybe even a little friendlier.

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