Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Sympathy for the Careless Driver

11:32 AM EDT on July 22, 2010

One of the stories that's been percolating all week on the Streetsblog Network stars Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a new role: urban cyclist. On Saturday, Villaraigosa was riding in a bike lane on Venice Boulevard (his first bike trip as mayor), when a cab driver cut him off, forcing him to brake suddenly and fall off his bike. Many advocates for better cycling conditions, including Streetsblog LA's Damien Newton, wondered whether the broken elbow Villaraigosa suffered might prompt the mayor to tackle street safety problems with more urgency.

On Monday, Villaraigosa told reporters that he wouldn't abandon his newest form of transportation, but neither would he hold the cab driver accountable. "He was very concerned when he realized it was me," Villaraigosa said. "He was careless, but that's not illegal. He certainly
didn't do this on purpose."

That response didn't sit well with Network member BikingInLA:

That’s where the Mayor is wrong -- and where he’s done a hugedisservice to everyone else on the roads, especially his new friends inthe cycling community.

Because what the driver did was illegal. He pulled awayfrom the curb without making sure the bike lane he was parked next towas clear. And as a result, caused a cyclist to be injured.

It’s called failure to yield. And it is against the law.

Yet our mayor just told everyone within reach of his words -- and inthis wireless world, that’s just about everyone -- that cutting off abike is really okay. Careless driving is no big deal.

The cab driver who cut off Villaraigosa is probably a well-meaning, hard-working guy, and no one wants to punish nice people. But if public figures and elected officials can't talk about careless, sloppy driving as a public safety risk, many millions of nice people won't think twice about actions that endanger, injure, and yes, kill other people on our streets.

Also on the Network: On Transport notices that top honors in Money Magazine's "Best Place" awards went to a town that doesn't seem to have much sense of place at all. Charleston Moves reports that a measure to restrict bike parking in that city's downtown was thankfully abandoned by city hall. And Richard Layman laments that the press doesn't report on traffic-inducing land-use decisions until it's too late.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Understanding Car Culture ‘Denialism’ Can Help Safety Advocates Respond

Opponents of change sow confusion with fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations (moving goalposts), conspiracy theories, and selectivity (cherry picking). We can fight back.

March 4, 2024

PROWAG Can Make Cities More Accessible — So Here’s What You Need to Know

America has waited more than 12 years for the Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines to be implemented. Here's why they matter.

March 4, 2024

Monday’s Headlines Don’t Throw Money at Roads

States are flush with cash from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but they've opted to spend most of it on roads and bridges, and very little on transit.

March 4, 2024

Experts Urge Feds To Get Impaired Driving Tech Right — And They Need Your Help

A new vehicle safety tech requirement could save 10,000+ lives a year, a new working group says – but only if we implement it in a thoughtful way that wins public acceptance.

March 4, 2024

NYC Debuts Public E-Bike Charging for Delivery Workers

Finally, they’re taking charge! The city’s first public e-bike charging station opened in Cooper Square on Thursday — the start of an overdue six-month pilot that is part of a “Charge Safe Ride Safe Action Plan” for delivery workers that Mayor Adams announced last year.

March 1, 2024
See all posts