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

Sympathy for the Careless Driver

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

Wednesday’s Headlines Are in a Good Place

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Get on the bus! Advocates Urge Mayor Johnson to Save Chicago Greyhound Terminal

According to the letter, rehabbing the station would cost less that $40M, a small fraction of the price tag of many other local transportation projects.

July 23, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024
See all posts