The cab driver who cut off Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when the mayor was riding his bicycle last year may have done the city a huge favor.
After the incident, in which he fell from his bike and broke his elbow, Villaraigosa started talking a lot more about the importance of bicycles to the city's future.
And on March 2, he signed a kind of astonishing bicycle master plan, which had been unanimously approved by the city council the day before. It calls for the creation of 1,680 miles of interconnected bike lanes in the city where transport has been defined by the automobile for generations. Significantly, this is a network designed not for recreation, but for actual transportation.
The plan, which was created with significant input from the city's well-organized bicycling community, would mean 100 miles per year of new lanes over each of the next five years, and 40 miles a year thereafter. Funding will come, in part, from a half-cent sales tax dedicated to transportation upgrades, overwhelmingly approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.