A recent article in the LA Times reports that the mayor – Antonio Villaraigosa – broke his elbow a few Saturdays ago when a taxi cut him off while he was cycling on Venice Boulevard.
Maybe I’m being a bit callous and rational, but I can’t imagine a better spokesperson for bike safety than a mayor with a broken elbow.
I’m also really glad that he didn’t crack open his head and damage his brain, otherwise he wouldn’t be smart enough to make the changes that he needs to make to ensure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen to everyone in LA who decides to “try cycling.” That he was wearing a helmet (and being followed by a body guard in a car) is perhaps the only reason why he isn’t just another road statistic, like so many other damaged cyclists who have been the victim of cars.
Motorists who are afraid to “try cycling” often blame cyclists for all the damage cyclists endure trying to trade in their metal tanks for a bike. Taxis and other commercial vehicles routinely engage in driving behavior that puts every cyclist sharing the road with them in danger. But until a famous person is a victim of these inadequate road infrastructures, the urgency often gets lost in the haze of smoggy car culture.
This blog questions the green credentials of the mayor, as well as the way the incident is being reported in other news sources and blogs.
Needless to say, sunny and flat Los Angeles is hell for cyclists – who normally treasure sunny and flat – because of its mortal traffic and herculean distances between home and work and other activities. Will it get better now that the mayor has sacrificed one of his body parts to car ubiquity?