During a highly-publicized bike summit held on August 16 in downtown Los Angeles, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for a mandatory bicycle helmet law for all bicyclists across the state. The law would require helmets on bicyclists of all ages, and would be in addition to the law requiring helmets on juvenile riders, which is already in effect.
Motivated by the recent death of a San Fernando Valley biker and his own July bicycle accident, which caused him to badly break his elbow, Villaraigosa has pledged to make L.A. a more bike-friendly – and bike-safe – city.
At the meeting, which was attended by more than one hundred bicycle activists and community members, Villaraigosa discussed the need to improve bicycle safety. “We need to change the driving culture where some drivers don’t pay attention to the rights of bicyclists,” he said, as he and city council member Bill Rosendahl promoted a law mandating a three-foot separation between bicyclists and drivers on state roads when cars are passing bicycles. Villagairosa also stated that he plans to produce a series of public service announcements on bicycle safety and bicyclist rights.
The mayor also discussed his plans to make L.A. a more bike-friendly city, such as the allocation of funds from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects in L.A. According to Villagairosa, ten percent of revenue from Measure R will go to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, including the creation of 1,600 miles of “bikeways” throughout the city, 200 miles of which will be built in the next five years.
Source: LA Weekly, “Bike Summit: Mayor Villaraigosa Calls for Mandatory Helmets for Cyclists”, Steve La, 16 August 2010.