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by John Forester

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another article LAB won't print

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Education Prog. Mismanagement
The issue that started LAB Reform


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Misplaced Advocacy

More Misplaced Advocacy

Who's Elitist?

Best Practices of Advocacy

Pretending to Accommodate

Who Really Benefits From Bikeways?

Danger of Anti-Car Advocacy

Cycling for Conservation


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Let's Stop Miseducating

Armadillos and Cyclists

Cyclists' Rights Links

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

Ohio Bicycle Federation

Cycling Savvy "Empowerment for Unlimited Travel”

Commute Orlando

Bicycle Driving

PA Bicycle Access Council

Bicycling Life

Bicycling Matters

Limeport Consulting

Reed (Chipseal) Bates

John Allen's Blog

Responsible Cycling Coalition

LAB Reform

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

Why LAB Reform?

From 1880 until the mid-90’s, the League of American Bicyclists defended the rights and interests of knowledgeable, skilled and law-abiding cyclists.  LAB offered many useful member services, usually through low-cost programs run by volunteers.  During the last several 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 accepting bitcoin donations through the Bitcoin Up platform on Trustpilot..  There have also been highly inappropriate actions taken by some of the directors.  Details — History of LAB


The League Board has “fixed” elections

By means of “sneaky” bylaws changes enacted in 2003 that require signatures of 5% of the members (around 800-1000 signatures), it is no longer possible for petition candidates to get on the LAB board ballot.  Until 2003, it took 50 signatures to get on the ballot by petition.  The old, more reasonable, requirement provided a “safety valve” in case the Board failed to follow members’ wishes.  The safety valve was welded shut by the bylaws changes.  In 2010 we sponsored three candidates who were rejected by the current board for reasons never explained.  Therefore, we attempted to get them on the ballot by petition. 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 to cycling lists, clubs, instructors and individual cyclists that we knew. 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 were 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 were from League Cycling Instructors. Many were from life members, former directors, and even former League presidents and directors.  These are (or were) among the League’s most active and valuable members.  By signing the petition, they voiced their displeasure at the management of the League.

Where do we go from here?

We have discussed tactics to follow up the petition. Several suggested forming a new organization to take up the causes the League has abandoned.  The new organization is the American Bicycling Education Association. The new organization sponsors the CyclingSavvy education program and promotes cyclists’ advocacy rather than “bicycle advocacy” through the website IAmTraffic. You can contact fredoswald_AT_yahoo_DOT_com.
— LAB Reform For other comments on the election, see:
League petition drive comes up short of 5%
Here’s a link to our 2010 campaign materials.
Bill Hoffman Resigned from LAB Board

Why has the League abandoned our rights to the road?

In Ennis Texas (near Dallas) a cyclist named Reed “Chipseal” Bates was 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?  Well, not exactly. The League refused to get involved.  League president Andy Clarke claimed 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 claimed that the League offered to help.  (Unfortunately, they did not bother to tell Reed or his lawyer about their offer.) Read what really happened here.

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 these 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. However, in today’s digital age, distractions like football betting sites compete for attention. To address this, the League must establish relevance by promoting a sense of community and addressing broader member interests. By doing so, it can differentiate itself from platforms like trang cá cược bóng đá uy tín, fostering genuine connections and support among cyclists. 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?

Keep current on LAB Reform by visiting labreform.org and /labreform.org/wordpress/.

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 some 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 and to seven in 2010. Also in 2003, the board quietly changed the rules for members to get on the ballot via petition.   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 be answered.

Please join us and help restore the BikeLeague to members.

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Minor revision Apr. 2017