A bike broken Villaraigosa on YouTube, Blood In protests in Beverly Hills

It’s been 10 days since L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa set out on his first bike ride since taking office over 5 years ago.

And promptly fell off when a cab driver cut him off pulling away from a curb, landing on his helmeted head and shattering his elbow.

Yet it still continues to make news, here in Los Angeles and around the country.

After writing last week that bikes belong on the streets, the mayor posted a You Tube video, prominently featuring his arm in a sling and a badly swollen right hand, in which he thanks the public, caregivers and first responders for their help and support.

He also talks about the challenges of riding the streets of L.A. — which is exactly the concept local cyclists have long wanted him to grasp — although some accuse him of pandering to the bike lobby.

I had a little bit of a scare there, but I can tell you, I know first hand just how difficult it is to maneuver through our streets to navigate through a city that is built for the automobile, but in many ways, would be the best place for cyclists to be in.

He also says he’s glad that LAPD Chief Beck has made bicycle safety a priority. And most surprising of all, says city officials are going to work with the bicycle safety community to put together a Bike Summit.

Count me in.

Meanwhile, the story continues to spread, as Grist agrees that the mayor missed a chance to “deflate the myth that collisions between military-sized vehicles and cyclists are no big deal.” The New York Times also picks up the story, but kind of misses the point, saying Villaraigosa learned firsthand that “cars and bikes don’t mix.”

And the SF Gate questions the mayor’s apparent emphasis on more bike lanes over better enforcement.

It’s time to stop defending bad driving based on stereotypes of cyclists and start slapping drivers who endanger bikers and pedestrians with criminal charges. And sure, a few more bike lanes would be great.

Meanwhile, back at home, Ken Alpern calls on Villaraigosa and other city officials to preserve planned bikeways on Sepulveda Blvd and along the Expo Light Rail Line.

On the other hand, our mayor isn’t the only one who’s run into problems on a bike lately. Vancouver’s mayor — aka Red Light Reynolds — is nearly hit by a bus after blowing through a traffic signal.

………

Tuesday evening, cyclists will gather in Beverly Hills to protest the lenient sentence given to Celine Mahdavi for the hit-and-run collision that critically injured cyclist Louis “Birdman” Deliz on December 1st of last year.

After pleading no contest, Mahdavi was sentenced to just 90 days of community service and three years probation, and ordered to pay full restitution. According to a press release for the event,

Cyclists are calling it the last straw.  Bikeside LA President Alex Thompson said “this sentence is symbolic of the lack of respect cyclists get throughout the justice system.”

Many expressed frustration that Fox made no effort to restrict Mahdavi’s driving privileges, leaving decisions about the status of Mahdavi’s license at the discretion of the DMV.

A press conference will be held at the Beverly Hills Courthouse at 6:15 Tuesday evening; another will take place on Friday, which may coincide with the L.A. Critical Mass.

Event details:

Tuesday, July 27th, 6:15 pm
Beverly Hills Courthouse
9355 Burton Way
Blood In Press Conference
interviews to follow press conference
open mic available to attendees after press conference

Friday, July 30th, 8:15 pm
Beverly Hills Courthouse
9355 Burton Way
Press Conference
interviews to follow press conference
open mic available to attendees after press conference

………

More on Sunday’s Walk and Ride for a Safer Fourth Street, including support from Council Member Tom LaBonge for the city’s first bike boulevard. Streetsblog will hold a re-launch party and fundraiser on Wednesday, August 25th. You can help support ciclovia in Santa Monica on Tuesday evening, as the city plans for a 10/10/10 launch date along Main Street; Gary says let’s keep the ball rolling. Cynergy Cycles hosts a free seminar on Training for Hill Climbing on Wednesday evening. Riding from Claremont to Baldy Notch. OC’s Ladera Ranch Grand Prix is scheduled for August 15. There’s an exhibition on biking at the California State Fair through the weekend. How to review bicycle accommodations in roadway designs. The Santa Rosa paper offers advice to drivers and cyclists that mostly gets it wrong — including a “friendly toot on the horn” when cyclists don’t “move over in a timely manner.” In a clear case of blaming the victim, Anchorage considers amending its laws to make cyclists automatically at fault if they get hit crossing a roadway. Katy Perry and Russel Brand ride bikes in New York. An overview of Lance Armstrong and the Floyd Landis investigation. Warning you’re “on the left” sometimes brings out a suicidal urge in the people you’re passing — like the woman who responded to me on Monday by turning directly into my path. Maryland authorities decide to build a 4.7 mile bike detour around a bat refuge; I’m sure many cyclists appreciate that. Advice on how not to have your bike stolen, from someone who once did — steal one, that is. A British tabloid exposes a reporter — and president of the leading bike advocacy organization — as a serial red light runner; or did they? A BBC documentary looks at the death of cyclist Tom Simpson on Mount Ventoux during the 1967 Tour de France; maybe they’ll show it on this side of the Atlantic someday. An Ontario cyclist is charged with texting while riding after crashing into the back of a parked car. Here’s your chance to invest in a Wi-Fi equipped bike lock that can call you if someone tampers with it.

Finally, a writer takes all the work out of reporting just about any bike-involved collision with the perfect fill-in-the-blanks template for any media outlet.

4 comments

  1. [...] Mayor is now calling for a city Bike Summit to improve the city’s bike safety [...]

  2. [...] Mayor is now calling for a city Bike Summit to improve the city’s bike safety [...]

  3. [...] A bike bro­ken Vil­laraigosa on YouTube, Blood In protests in Bev­erly Hills (bikinginla.wordpress.com) [...]

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