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Cyclists' Rights Links

Organizations that support cyclists' rights.  They are not necessarily affiliated with LAB Reform.

NC Coalition for Bicycle Driving

Ohio Bicycle Federation

Cycling Savvy "Empowerment for Unlimited Travel”

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PA Bicycle Access Council

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LAB Reform

Coalition to Reform LAB
Return Control to Members
and Restore Traditional Cycling Values

Why LAB Reform?

Since 1880, the League of American Bicyclists defended the rights and interests of knowledgeable, skilled and law-abiding cyclists.  Until the mid-90's, LAB offered many useful member services, usually through low-cost programs run by volunteers.  During the last few years, as directors with different loyalties seized control of the Board, LAB abandoned its role of protecting members' interests and it dropped most of the services to become just another Washington lobbying and fundraising group.  There have also been highly inappropriate actions taken by some of the directors.  Details -- History of LAB

Bill Hoffman Resigns from League Board

"I have decided to resign from the Board at the end of my current term."... "The LAB of today, in my opinion, is not acting in the interests of its most loyal members."... "LAB membership is 27% lower today than it was as recently as 8 years ago."  More ...


Results of the petition campaign

Three candidates that LAB Reform sponsored for the board of directors were rejected by the current board for reasons not explained to members. Therefore, we attempted to get them on the ballot by petition. Until 2003, it took 50 signatures to get on the ballot by petition.  However, in 2003, the League's bylaws were quietly changed to require signatures from 5% of the members (around 800-1000 signatures).  We find this requirement onerous.

As we tried to follow the petition requirements, we found League management to be extremely uncooperative.  Management dragged its feet on requests for more information about the process, interpreted requirements arbitrarily to our disadvantage and when time was running short, refused to allow an email announcement to members on the grounds that it was not an option explicitly spelled out in policy despite the fact that it was known to be technically feasible and despite the fact that the entire LAB election process is now done online.  This limited our appeal limited to cycling lists, clubs, instructors and individual cyclists that we know.

Some of the people we contacted told us that they could not sign the petition because they had quit the League due to concerns about unethical management practices.  Others said they are about to quit.

Despite these limitations, we ended up with well over 400 signatures.  This is considerably more than the number of ballots cast in any recent election.  A large portion of the signatures are from LCIs.  Many are from life members, former directors, and even former League presidents and director nominees.  These are among the League's most active and valuable members.  By signing the petition, they have voiced their displeasure over the election process.

We have been discussing tactics to follow up the petition. Some have even suggested forming a new organization to take up the cause the League has abandoned. The League ignores these concerns at its peril.

We thank all those who signed and especially those who helped us collect signatures. Please check back for future news about the reform campaign, and please let us know if you have any thoughts or ideas.

You can contact fredoswald_AT_yahoo_DOT_com.
--- LAB Reform

For other comments on the election, see:
The Politburo of American Bicycling
A Candidate's Experience
League petition drive comes up short of 5%
Here's a link to our campaign materials.


Why has the League abandoned our rights to the road?

In Ennis Texas (near Dallas) a cyclist named Reed "Chipseal" Bates has been arrested for "riding a bicycle on the roadway", later changed to "reckless operation" and jailed FOUR times.  Note, it is prima facie LEGAL under Texas law to ride on the roads he used.

So the League came rallying to his defense - right?  Wrong!  The League refused to get involved.  Andy Clarke claims there was a "perfectly rideable" shoulder.  League officials accuse Reed of being an extremist for not using it.  A "perfectly rideable shoulder" is like a perfectly usable seat -- at the back of the bus.

Clarke claims that the League offered to help.  (Unfortunately, they did not bother to tell Reed or his lawyer about their offer.)  Read Clarke's excuses here Then read what really happened here, including seeing what that "perfectly rideable" shoulder looks like.

Ruthless recklessness

Policies of the League's Bicycle Friendly Communities program are an attack on core principles of the League and on the rights and welfare of cyclists.  BFC has given its highest award to Portland, OR despite (or perhaps because of) its reckless program installing bike lanes in dangerous places.  What makes it worse is that Oregon laws require cyclists to use these hazardous facilities.

Chicago, which has many dangerous door zone bike lanes, has a BFC award despite falsifying the apparent sizes of cars & trucks depicted in scale drawings in its Bike Lane Design Guide, making them appear to be 20% smaller.  See one of the drawings from the Design Guide with the vehicles re-scaled to the correct size.

Chicago gives this irresponsible advice about door zone bike lanes:  "Keep track of traffic behind you so you'll know whether you have enough room if you must swerve suddenly out of the 'Door Zone'."  What they should say is simply "Stay out of the door zone."  If a bike lane is in the door zone, it is too dangerous to use.

Many other award recipients also have hazardous segregated facilities.  Indeed, having segregated facilities seems to be a requirement for receiving an award.  Even restricting cyclists' right to the road is not a problem for BFC.

Bicycle Friendly Fiendish Communities:  Why are they leaving out cyclists?


The League is failing in its responsibility to look out for the interests and well-being of its members (CYCLISTS) ... by failing to criticize bad laws and dangerous facilities would be bad enough without giving rewards.  The League should be ACTIVELY out there putting a foot down on badly designed facilities, negligent AASHTO guidance, discriminatory laws and enforcement.

Who's really Looking Out for YOU?  It's LAB Reform.  Please support us by telling others about us.  Link to this site in any web pages you write.  Mention us wherever appropriate in club newsletters and in blogs and mail lists.

(No, we aren't asking for money.  The League does more than enough of that.)

LAB Reform Goals:

  1. Regain members control of the League by restoring their right to elect ALL directors
  2. Restore access to the ballot and Bylaws via the petition and referendum
  3. Remove the veil of secrecy over the actions of the board and staff
  4. Allow members a reasonable process to remove unethical directors
  5. Promote the best and safest practices of cycling
  6. Stop promoting unsafe facilities
  7. Protect the rights of cyclists
  8. Revive member services

Why So Much Negativism?

We are sometimes accused of "negativism", especially by those who hope this claim will make you not pay attention to LAB governance problems.

If you haven't been following LAB governance problems, you may have the impression that everything here has an unnecessarily negative or strident tone.  That's not our intention, but the LAB leadership's errors are so serious that we could not find a way to "sugar-coat" them.  Indeed, we wouldn't bother with this effort if the problems weren't serious.

For every criticism we've made against LAB, we've offered a practical and workable alternative.  Indeed, LAB has already adopted a few (too few) of our proposals (details elsewhere on this page and throughout this site).  But there is much more that needs to be fixed before LAB Reform can "go away".  Among the most shameful LAB programs is Bicycle Friendly Communities, which has given awards to cities that build dangerous facilities, ban cyclists from important roads or maliciously prosecute cyclists for simply being on the road.

Please see the LAB Reform Vision


Serious Issues Remain About the Governance of the League

When outside interests seized control of the League a few years ago, the League largely abandoned its duty to protect our interests, thereby alienating its most dedicated members.  League membership declined about 14 percent between 1996 and 2002, a period when certain board members claimed their leadership "... nearly doubled the League's membership".  We suffered a further decline of ten percent in 2004-2005.  The membership decline continues.  We often hear from people who refuse to join the League, or have quit because of mis-management and ethical issues.  We even know a life member who is so disgusted with the League that he quit.

A large part of the "membership problem" is the fact that fewer than 10 percent of cycling club members belong to the League.  These are the people who should form the membership core.  We believe these club members would be the most loyal members of the League if the League would be loyal to them.

There are serious problems with League advocacy that is often harmful to members and that fails to promote the best and safest cycling practices.  The Bicycle Friendly Communities Program is especially troubling.

We have interesting articles by John Forester and John Schubert.  Forester lays out Policies for Restoration of the League of American Bicyclists.  Schubert issues a challenge to the "good" members of the board to reform the League.  What does it take to get the board to finally begin to listen -- and admit serious mistakes?

We need your help to keep the reform process moving

We frequently update the LAB Reform web site with new information and new articles to keep our supporters informed.  These will also include links for informative articles about cycling -- things that should be in the LAB magazine.  We often make small (or not-so-small) updates to various pages, sometimes without changing the main page, thus some material may be newer than the date at bottom of this page.  If you provide your email address we can send an occasional message to tell you when significant new information is posted or when news breaks.

We should send out more email than we do, but we are volunteers with many other responsibilities and we never want to bother people unless we have something really important to say.  You are invited to add yourself to our email membership (you can easily quit at any time) without worrying about receiving junk from us.  Below is the entire history of our previous mailings to our list.  You can see how seldom we send mail.

9/28/03, 10/05/03, 2/20/04, 9/16/04, 9/29/05, 12/17/05, 6/22/06, 12/9/07, 9/29/10.

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Please send the following information by email to fredoswald_AT_yahoo_DOT_com.
Name, address, phone, email, your local cycling club(s),
Your level of interest, any special skills or other info., etc.

Keep current on LAB Reform by visiting www.labreform.org.

Did you know?

Until the mid-1990s, League directors were member elected, and their home phone numbers were published in the League magazine.  Then four board positions were taken away from member election and moved to appointed positions, in an attempt to form alliances.

When the bicycle industry lobby got three of its people on the LAB board they insisted that board members' direct contact information be withheld from the membership.  This was never voted on; the administration simply did it.

The four appointed positions grew to five in 2003.  Also in 2003, the board quietly changed the rules for members to get on the ballot via petition.   What was once a reasonable "safety valve" to protect the League against a self-serving board is now extremely difficult.  The result of appointed members and an unreasonable petition requirement is that the board is answerable to the membership in theory only.

Today, concerned members can contact their board members only by letter or e-mail.  They won't necessarily get answered.


Please join us and help restore the BikeLeague to members.

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© Copyright 2004-2011 LAB Reform.  Material may be copied with attribution.
Some material was reproduced either under fair use guidelines or with permission of the original author.
For comments, questions, contact fredoswald_AT_yahoo_DOT_com.
Revised 3/27/11

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