Councilmember's Proposal Wins Attention at Mayor's Bicycle Summit

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Photo by GarySe7en via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants a statewide bicycle helmet law that would require all cyclists, regardless of age, to don one while riding. Among the many positive topics broached, that was the recurring theme for him at his first bicycle summit yesterday. His reasoning is based on what spun him into a bicycle advocate: when he shattered his elbow in a bicycle incident last month, the results could have been worse if he were not wearing a helmet.

But cyclists were not savvy to the helmet idea, instead cheering a proposal from City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl.“California is long overdue for a ‘Three-Foot Passing Law,’” he said. “I’d like to work with you, Mr. Mayor and the cycling community to come up with a legislative strategy to get this passed at the state level.”

And that's exactly what Lance Armstrong supported on Twitter. He retweeted a Montreal-based Biking to Work tweet that read "L.A. talking about a three foot passing law for driving past cyclists. Love it!" A link in the tweet led to LAist's bicycle summit post from Tuesday.

"Helmets are not required for driving or walking - both activities arguably with similar or greater injury risk than that of bicycling," noted L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee member Joe Linton in his review of the meeting. "Bicycle helmet requirements also tend to result in less bicycling, hence inadvertently result in less "safety in numbers" and overall decreased physical activity and public health."

Despite frustration over Villaraigosa's insistence on a new helmet law -- after all, he just did go through a traumatic event -- many cyclists are happy that progress is being made for their mode of transportation.