The lack of safety for bicyclists in Los Angeles has long been a major safety issue for the bicycling community here. Bicyclists in the city have long complained of an inadequate number of bike lanes, hostile motorists and a “don’t care” attitude on the part of law enforcement agencies. The discussion about bicycle safety in Los Angeles will get interesting this week, after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was injured in a bike accident. The mayor was riding his bicycle on Venice Blvd., which is notorious for its lack of bike lanes. Apparently, a taxi suddenly pulled out in front of the mayor, who applied his brakes to avoid an impact and fell off his bicycle. He sustained an elbow injury and had to undergo surgery.
What happened immediately after the accident will be of great interest to Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers, and will confirm what Los Angeles biking groups have been saying for years. The mayor was accompanied by security, but no one managed to take down the number of the taxi or the name of the taxi company. The taxi fled the scene of the accident, and the driver hasn’t been heard from since. There were no witnesses to testify about exactly what happened. There has been no investigation into the accident at all.
Bicycle safety advocates will tell you that when something like this happens to the mayor of the city, it’s easy to imagine what the regular Joe riding by on his bike is subjected to. Bicycle safety in Los Angeles would have been a joke, except for the hundreds of injuries that occur in Los Angeles on the streets every year. Motorists pulling out in front of bicyclists, driving up close to bicyclists and honking loudly to scare them, yelling, taunting, teasing, throwing stuff at bicyclists – these are common on Los Angeles streets as any bicyclist will tell you.
The mayor has a great opportunity to bring attention to the problem of bicycle safety in Los Angeles. Los Angeles bike accident lawyers and bike safety groups here will be hopeful that he will step up and add his voice to ours.