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L.A. cab driver involved in Villaraigosa's bicycle fall didn't break traffic laws, mayor's office says

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday that no traffic laws were broken when a taxi driver abruptly pulled out in front of him, causing him to fall from his bicycle and break his elbow over the weekend.

Villaraigosa thinks that the driver “wasn’t careful,” moving in front of him without using his signal, mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said. But he does not think any charges should be filed.

“The taxi driver could have exercised more caution but what he did was not on purpose and it wasn’t illegal,” she said. “He just wasn’t proceeding with caution.”

The accident occurred on Venice Boulevard, between Hervey and Hargis streets. Villaraigosa was riding with a member of his security detail when he hit his brakes suddenly, flipping over his bike. The mayor did not make any contact with the taxi.

The taxi driver stayed on the scene after the accident and gave his information to the mayor’s security detail, Hamilton said.

Villaraigosa was transported to UCLA Medical Center on Saturday night and had surgery on his elbow the following day. Because he was wearing a helmet at the time, he did not sustain a head injury during his fall, Hamilton said.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
 
Comments () | Archives (24)

Well may be charges don't need to filed but the taxi driver certainly deserves a hefty traffic ticket for moving violation. Otherwise, this sends a wrong signal to thousands of bicycle riders in the city.

Your earlier story stated that the taxi driver did not stop, that there was no information on the driver, and that the mayor's security officer did not get its license plat number. Which is it?

Boo to all those nasty people who laughed and cheered the mayor's accident. Whatever your politics are, how can you be so mean to another human being? What if you fell over and broke your arm and there was no one else around to help you except the mayor? Wouldn't you be grateful for his help?

So it's ok NOT to signal at all, despite what the California Driver Handbook says, which is 100' before a turn? This type of action provokes accidents everywhere, from pedestrians to bicyclists and motorists. And just did. Then we've all suddenly just become telepathic and simply do not need to signal.
Taken directly out of the California Driver Handbook:

"Always signal:
• Your left or right turn during the last 100 feet before reaching the
turning point. Caution!—Even though you signal, do not automatically
assume that the space you want to occupy is clear."

There's more, but apparently no one pays attention to this any longer, even the mayor. As usual, setting a great example. For reckless driving. The cab driver must've been a compadre...

It’s called unsafe lane change and it is the drivers responsibility to be aware of his surroundings. The Mayor seems to be choosing his stance as to what is right and wrong. If it were any one of us as cyclists, we would seek a legal path in this incident. By the Mayor not stepping up to the plate and letting this incident pass without due process it will be more difficult for the general public to pursue such incidents through legal means - drivers will say - this is just like the Villaraigosa accident, 'I did nothing wrong.'

So using a turn signal to signal a turn/lane change/etc is no longer required by law? Sounds like the driver could be cited for failing to signal.

How would the mayor know if any laws were broken? He seems to break them all the time and says the same thing.
Last time I checked, not using a signal was illegal.

Drivers are required to check for bike and car traffic before they effectively 'cut someone off' Mayor was lucky that he wasn't hit, many of use (including this rider) have had doors open on to us, cars pull out suddenly and trash thrown on us from open car windows. I just hope the Mayor did have his front light turned on as is required for evening riding.
Austin Beutner was another bike accident victim in the Administration. Glad to offer free bike safety class to all city workers with the help of LA Bike Coalition, Bike Kitchen,Bikerowave and Midnite Ridazz. Sharing the road ain't always a cinch, but its the best means of enjoying this great city of ours.

It is sad to hear that Antonio never learned the basic of riding a bicycle.
He es dangerous to himself and to others,
Get some rest and medical care now, mayor, later, when the bicycle path SFV-Downtown along the Los Angeles river is ready, in its inaguration day, you need to lead the pack...

So pulling in front of another vehicle without using a signal is not illegal IF THAT VEHICLE IS A BICYCLE! Bike riders are supposed to obey all traffic laws. Apparently, this does not apply to motorists in any case where a bike is involved.

Ticket the driver; using signals is the law. Recall the mayor; he should better.

So the taxi driver cuts him off by abruptly pulling in front of him without signaling? I would say that 's an illegal maneuver. Then if it's not the driver's fault then it must have been the mayor's by riding in the bike lane, following the traffic laws.

Mr. Mayor, as someone that did mountain biking for 15 years let me give you a small advice. Hit both brakes or at least the rear one. If you hit just the front one you will fly over the rail as you did this time.

What's the mayor's ride? Riordan was a pretty serious cyclist in his day and used to hit the road quite frequently, putting in some heavy mileage.

So, driving without thinking is not illegal.
If the cops won't cite this driver, what chance do the rest of us cyclists have?

WRONG.
A bike lane is still a traffic lane. Pulling out into a traffic lane so as to cause a vehicle (bicycle) to slam on the brakes has got to be illegal-- I'll let someone else look it up. This is cyclism: treating bicycles as lesser vehicles, separate and unequal.

Suppose a taxi pulled out into traffic causing a car to slam on the brakes, swerve, flip, and crash-- would the taxi driver immune from prosecution or suit?

I remember almost failing my driver's exam for making a pulling into a right turn lane across a bike lane without looking over my shoulder and signalling first.

NOTE: This shows a classic problem of bike lanes on city streets-- parallel parking. Lucky the Mayor did not get doored.

No wonder this guy never passed the California Bar. Intent is not controlling in a motor vehicle violation. I hope the City Atorney counsels Anthony about the California Vehicle Code.

I concur on the signaling issue. If the cabbie changed lanes without signaling, he did in fact commit a violation. You must signal lane changes as well as turns. Maybe the mayor wishes not to threaten the cabbie's job--but if the cabbie wants to drive for a living, he ought to be compelled to drive safely. Should he in the future hurt or kill me or mine, it may be because he got off so easily this time.

By the way, I have been passed on the RIGHT by scofflaw motorists, when riding my bike in the Venice Blvd. bike lane. More than once, in fact. Actual enforcement of the traffic laws for all--cyclists, drivers--would go a long way to making LA safer all around.

And more fiscally efficient: contrary to drivers' cherished myths, car and fuel taxes pay less than half the cost of building and maintaining roads. This means that cyclists, who don't need al those wide roads and who don't wear them out, are overpaying in general taxes to subsidize drivers' lifestyle choice. So is anyone else who drives little or not at all. (Buses require much less road surface per passenger than do cars, and trains even less, of course. Wide expensive roads are a subsidy for automobilists.)

Also, regarding this statement: "Because he was wearing a helmet at the time, he did not sustain a head injury during his fall"--unless the helmet was destroyed or at least damaged, it is not true. I have crashed bikes (and once motorcycle) while helmetless and suffered no head injury, because my head didn't hit the ground or anything else. I do wear a bicycle helmet most of the time, but I still have to say that the statement is not prima facie true, absent evidence of a head impact. My wife has gone over the bars after a dooring without causing her helmet even the lightest scratch--so in that crash it did not prevent anything.

Facts are one thing, propaganda is another.

"Because he was wearing a helmet at the time, he did not sustain a head injury during his fall"

Very true, the head issues were there long before the fall.

WAKE UP MAYOR ! USE THIS TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR PEOPLE ON BIKES IN THIS WASTE OF A CITY! NOW YOU SEE FIRST HAND SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Now that the Mayor sees first hand how car drivers recklessly ignore people on bikes and encroach upon them then the city should start a public info thing to warn drivers or just start a new initiative and begin issuing tickets to drivers who disregard people on bikes. Issues a few thousand tickets to get the word out that drivers cannot disregard people on bikes or act violently towards them.
I sometimes ride daily and each day avoid some kind of collision with drivers not paying attention or just being flat out agressive in their cars. Each day, every day without fail it happens. People are just not paying attention or have rage issues with bike riders.
Another issue is pedestrians and cars. This broke city should start a campaign for walkers and start issuing tikcets to car that don't stop at cross walks when someone is standing there or cars that encroach upon people in cross walks at intersections while people are crossing the street. It's dangerous and scary when you are crossing a streets and a car starts turning while you are still in the cross walk.
The Mayor needs to get out more.

Not proceeding with caution IS illegal when driving. You should always be aware of your surroundings, signaling and cautious.

I say there should absolutely be charges. Or minimally a hefty fine.

Something very fishy is going on here. The story today is completely different from the story published yesterday. This is just so Antonio Villaraigosa- odd, secretive, and ultimately senseless. The Times of course just dances to whatever political tune Antonio wishes them to dance to. You couldn't get a straight answer out of city hall if someone's life depended on it.

And hell yes if the Taxi driver caused an accident that's going to cost the taxpayer big money he should be cited and made to pay up. L.A. left wing power structure- prepared to be kicked to the curb!

I think the Mayor needs some bicycle riding lessons. The taxi never even hit him. The Mayor must have hit the front brakes too hard, which a cyclists isn't supposed to do.

I think the Mayor needs some bicycle riding lessons. The taxi never even hit him. The Mayor must have hit the front brakes too hard, which a cyclists isn't supposed to do.

WARREN, the answer to your question is NO! Villaraigosa is a worthless liar and that's how it is.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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