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Mayor Villaraigosa undergoes surgery for fracture after bike accident

July 18, 2010 |  8:21 pm

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa underwent surgery Sunday on his right elbow, which he broke Saturday in a bicycle accident on Venice Boulevard, his office reported.

The surgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center "was a success and the mayor is expected to make a full recovery," said Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Villaraigosa.

She said the mayor "will make every effort to resume a full schedule this week.

Los Angeles police said Sunday they did not know who was driving the taxi that reportedly stopped in front of the mayor, causing him to fall off his bicycle. The mayor's office said he was in the bicycle lane between Hervey and Hargis streets in Mid-City about 6:50 p.m. Saturday when the taxi suddenly pulled in front, causing him to hit his brakes and fall.

The taxi was not at the scene when police arrived, said West Traffic Division Sgt. Murrel Pettway. Officers interviewed Villaraigosa and other witnesses but did not get a license plate number or the name of the cab company, Pettway said.

In such an incident, officials said, a law enforcement officer would have to witness the accident to issue a citation. The mayor was accompanied by his security detail, Pettway said, but it was unclear if there would be any further investigation.

On Sunday afternoon, Villaraigosa posted a brief Twitter message on the mayor's website:

"Last night I broke my elbow in a bicycling accident. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. It means a lot to me!"

The accident is likely to escalate discussion of bicycle safety on Los Angeles streets. In response to other incidents, 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.

Bicycle advocates have called for more dedicated bike lanes and increased safety measures, while many drivers accuse bicyclists of making dangerous moves that threaten the safety of others.

-- Carla Rivera and Gale Holland