Well, that didn’t take long.
On Friday, Metblogs’ Will Campbell noticed a tweet from Mayor Villaraigosa about how much he enjoyed riding his bicycle as part of the Summer Night Lights program. Campbell spent the time to page through the Mayor’s flickr feed and even found a picture of Villaraigosa laughing it up mounted on a slick looking bicycle.
On Saturday, the Mayor was involved in a bicycle crash. The Times has the details:
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.
While I appreciate the tone of the LA_Now article posted by the Times, which focuses on the efforts to make the streets safer for cyclists; I have to take issue with the title of the piece. The piece, and many more like it, feature the title "Mayor Villaraigosa breaks elbow in bicycle accident." This wasn’t an "accident" and the Mayor did not "break his elbow." A dangerous driver decided that wherever he was going was more important than driving safely. The driver’s negligence caused a crash resulting in a broken elbow. Villaraigosa deserves the same respect any victim of negligent driving, and the blame for the crash and the damage should not be his to bear.
While the Mayor heals, many are already wondering what impact his crash will have on city policy which has been turning in cyclists’ favor recently. While that’s a worthy discussion, I’m content to give the Mayor the weekend off to heal and hopefully contemplate the many safety issues with the city’s streets. So rest up Mr. Mayor. But tomorrow, it’s back to work. Having ridden a mile "in our shoes" and learned a painful lesson about drivers’ attitudes towards cyclists; the bar has been raised.