With broken elbow, mayor volunteers at shelter

SOUTH LOS ANGELES Villaraigosa was wearing a sling Monday after he crashed his bicycle on a weekend ride. The mayor spoke out about the crash and explained how it might impact his job.

Lu Parker, the mayor's girlfriend and a local television reporter, adjusted the mayor's sling Monday. It was her project that he came to visit at the /*South Los Angeles Animal Shelter*/.

Parker's first project was fixing up the dilapidated lobby of the animal shelter. Volunteers, including the mayor, helped paint the lobby. Murals were painted on the walls and ceilings.

Villaraigosa said a taxi driver abruptly pulled out of a space on Venice Boulevard Saturday into the bike lane at about 6:;15 p.m. The mayor grabbed his brakes and went over the handlebars, landing head first on the ground and breaking his elbow. He was wearing a helmet.

"I'll have about eight weeks of recovery and then therapy after that," said Villaraigosa. "It was the size between a tennis ball and a grapefruit, so I knew it was serious."

Inside the shelter, the mayor met a little dog with a broken leg in a sling. They bonded.

The mayor's accident comes at a time when bicyclists are complaining about laws not being enforced, and about there not being enough bike lanes in the city.

In this case, the cab driver stopped after the accident and was questioned by one of the mayor's security officers. The other police officer took the mayor to the hospital.

The mayor hasn't ridden a bicycle since his inauguration nearly six years ago. He is right-handed, and broke his right elbow. There will be ordinances and proclamations to sign.

"They said it's legal for me to sign with an 'X' as long as there's somebody's watching," said Villaraigosa.

The mayor had a nerve block on his elbow, so he's not taking pain medication.

When there are proclamations or ordinances to sign, he can still sign with his left hand.

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