Road Rage Accused Opposes Figueroa Bike Plan

Louis Mraz, the Mount Washington motorist accused of running down a cyclist in Highland Park, used Monday's Mount Washington Homeowner's Alliance meeting to speak out against the "Figueroa for All" initiative.

Louis Mraz, the Mount Washington man for running down a cyclist in Highland Park in June, is not keeping his feelings about bike riders to himself.

During Monday's Mount Washington Homeowner's Alliance meeting, Mraz spoke out against the recently launched initiative, which is an effort to make the Northeast L.A. thoroughfare safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Mraz, MWHA's vice president of land use, opened his Land Use Report by asking if anyone at the meeting “remembered the 1940’s” when Figueroa had one lane for cars and one lane for the Red Car. Mraz then told attendees that he’d read about a proposed plan – the Figueroa for All initiative, although Mraz didn’t mention it by name -- on the NELAlist forums.  Mraz cautioned that the plan would return Figueroa to the same, 1940’s  traffic pattern but with one lane for bicycles and only one lane for cars.  In Mraz’s opinion, cyclists should be rerouted to less-trafficked streets.

Mraz reported that “thirty people” had met at The Flying Pigeon bike shop and told those at the Alliance meeting to keep an eye on the issue.  Otherwise, he warned, Figueroa could become “jammed with bikes."

, Mraz was arrested on Friday, July 8, on charges that he intentionally ran down a cyclist who was riding on Avenue 50 near Buchanan Street.

Winona Wacker, the cyclist who was allegedly run down by Mraz, shortly after the incident took place in May.

“He laid on his horn, then yelled back at me, ‘You wanna test your weight against mine?’” Wacker said. “[He] continued blowing his horn, hit the gas and then sped up to run me down.”

Wacker said a Good Samaritan stopped to attend to her by the side of the road, and then sped along to retrieve the motorist's license plate number.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, an eyewitness corroborated Wacker's account.

Mraz, , told LAPD that he accidentally side-swiped Wacker after trying to avoid her.

He is due to go back before a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge on Monday, Sept. 19.

Cherryl Weaver September 13, 2011 at 07:19 PM
It is so sad to me that a more open attitude regarding sharing the road with Cars, Bikes, Motorcycles and Pedestrians. The laws of the road are clear that we are to share the road. The mentality that the bigger the vehicle the more rights they have on the road has got to stop. A little respect and understanding could go a long way to make our roads safer for everyone.
Nimby pimp September 14, 2011 at 04:12 AM
Louis needs a hug.
Stella Meridian September 14, 2011 at 07:26 AM
This article is hilarious! "'Cyclist a threat to the community' says man accused of running over cyclists". What a sad man.
Josef Bray-Ali September 14, 2011 at 08:10 AM
We just did our 2nd meeting, and spent a lot of time talking about safety, improving local retailers and restaurants prospects with special events, surveying businesses for support, and doing some sort of photographic exhibit. His reference to the 1940's is funny - since the Arroyo Parkway was mostly completed around that time. If you want to speed, why not use the freeway? North Figueroa is a street built to service walking traffic and street cars. It used to house a diverse retail and office mix. It's decline is pegged very closely with suburban sprawl and the turning over of every conceivable inch to cars. This bit about bicycle choking off the street is simply too much. If everyone now driving on N. Figueroa instead took the bus, walked, or rode a bike (not that this is possible in this ear of 20 mile commutes!) there would quite literally be no traffic, almost no noise, and very little air pollution. If we are lucky, all of Figueroa For All's opponents will come wrapped so nicely.
kelly thompson September 14, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Wow amazing that this man is even given a forum for his bikerage rant. As a non active member of the Alliance I am especially disappointed that the MWHA would even support this kind of behavior. I have always though of the Alliance as being an advocate for a greener Los Angeles. I am truly shocked that the Alliance are not working along side and even hoped they would take the lead in this initiative to create a safer more pedestrian friendly all around positive movement for our neighborhood. I strongly urge the Alliance to re examine there choice in whom they associate with and choose to represent them.
mark September 14, 2011 at 05:26 PM
I hope the court takes away his license. If they do we could all be nice, pitch in, and get him a bike. Maybe a little exercise would help him get rid of all his pent up rage.
Bob Bailey September 16, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Only when the bike riders learn what a stop sign means will it be safe for all of us. I work in my yard and watch bikers run the stop sign on the corner. I did ask one and he showed me a one fingered high sign. This was no child.
bobo September 16, 2011 at 09:09 PM
If you ride a bicycle and want to be treated the same as a car, then you need to follow the same rules. You can't pick and choose when you want to take up a car lane, and run stop signs the next.
David Huntsman September 18, 2011 at 02:49 PM
C'mon guys, as if motorists ever stop for STOP signs... Nobody does unless forced to by a police presence. Here's some lovely video of motorists doing exactly what you are accusing cyclists of: http://youtu.be/qNyYnlyxnlY and http://youtu.be/gkX9neYgEEE and http://youtu.be/vSmVxHT-_3g
Elijah H October 31, 2011 at 11:00 PM
And the rationalization for prickish behavior begins... Doesn't make someone who would do this any less of a prick. I happen to stop at stop signs, and most motorists in my neighborhood do the same - but of course, people tend to see what they want to see. You see a world filled with pricks, I see a neighborhood of (mostly) decent people.
David Huntsman October 31, 2011 at 11:24 PM
Not sure what you are saying. The videos are responsive to accusations made against cyclists, and show that motorists behave the same as their accusers. Is that rationalizing? Ok, fine. Anyway, I'd like to see your neighborhood where (you want to believe you see) most motorists stop at STOP signs.


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