Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently reached out to the bicycle community via YouTube and announced — more than a week after he broke an elbow in a bike accident on Venice Boulevard — that he would help organize a summit about the future of pedal power in L.A..
'We're going to work with the bicycle safety community to put together a bike summit,” he said.
He did not say when the summit would be held. The main point of the video was to thank those who came to his aid and those who wished him well following the July 17 crash. At 6:17 p.m. that evening, near Culver City's unofficial restaurant row, a taxicab apparently cut in front of Villaraigosa and caused him to take a spill.
It appeared to be an eye-opener for the mayor, who wrote at the Huffington Post following the collision that ” … it's time to recognize that bicycles also belong on L.A.'s streets.”
Bicycle activists had been clamoring for years for more consideration by the city. They've complained, among other things, that collisions between bikes and cars aren't taken seriously, and that hit-and-runs on bike riders are allowed to happen without consequences for drivers.
That already started to change in recent months, with the Los Angeles Police Department making strides to meet with bicycle community leaders and even changing its policy on vehicle-versus-bike collisions so that traffic officers instead of beat cops investigate them.
The New York Times this week notes that the mayor now seems to be in the bicyclists' corner.
“I had a little bit of a scare there but I can tell you that i know first hand just how difficult it is to maneuver through our streets — navigate through a city that is built for the automobile but in many ways could be the best place for cyclists to be,” the mayor said in the video.