This article has more information about our candidates and why they are the
best qualified to lead our League forward.
Below you can see information about the candidates we supported.
My name is John Brooking. I came to cycling from a desire to find a more sustainable method of transportation to work and around town. I cycled informally for transportation in high school and college, but spent a number of years post-college relying solely on my car to get around. I returned to cycling in 2002 when I moved closer to my job and was seeking to better align my transportation with my environmental and political convictions. I have since discovered that I also appreciate being part of the larger cycling community, enjoy the satisfaction of being able to get anywhere in the local community under my own power, and even have become a bit of a traffic engineering geek! Our family of four has owned just one car since 2005.
I have been a member of the League since 2007, and have been a League Cycling Instructor since 2009. I have discovered that my greatest area of passion in bicycling is teaching adult bicyclists how to ride with confidence on urban streets with car traffic and without dependence on special bike infrastructure. Accordingly, as a board member, I would concentrate on continued improvement of the Smart Cycling program, especially in assistance to LCI’s to creatively structure and market their classes.
Bicycling education suffers from the perception among the general public that riding a bike as a vehicle in traffic is variously too dangerous, too difficult, or not necessary, despite the fact that following the rules of the road is legally required and is the best and safest approach. Because of these misperceptions, one of the biggest problems facing most LCI’s is simply getting students.
One area of concern that I have for the League is the evaluation of some of the special bicycle facilities in the Bicycle Friendly Communities program. As we all know, traffic facilities can vary widely in their adherence to published standards, and even facilities that technically adhere to minimum standards (such as “door zone bike lanes” and “coffin corners”) can still place bicyclists in danger. In addition, Non-standard “experimental” facilities should not be counted in the program.
This concern has been raised many times, but I feel the League must increase the transparency of the process to show that it makes a distinction between the varying quality of facilities it considers in the evaluation process, lest communities be rewarded for the simple quantity of facilities regardless of quality. A proliferation of poor-quality facilities which induce cyclists to traffic behavior inconsistent with the established rules of the road is not in the best interest of either beginning or experienced cyclists, and is in conflict with the League’s mission of improving riding conditions for all bicyclists.
My vision for the League is of an organization that educates beginning cyclists in how to safely access all destinations for recreation and transportation, supports educators with a solid curriculum and logistical support for applying their knowledge in their communities, and visibly supports the rights of cyclists using the road through education of law enforcement officers and legal assistance to bicyclists.
My bicycling advocacy includes the following:
I ask your signature on a petition so that I can run for a League Board seat. In order to maintain a strong and member-oriented League, members must not only be willing and able to participate in governance but strongly encouraged. The present method of Board elections does not accomplish that since new candidates are vetted by existing Board members and a large number of Board seats are appointed by the present Board. Imagine if the U.S. Congress behaved that way! I am therefore attempting a petition candidacy.
I have been a bicyclist for most of my adult life on the east coast (Lancaster, N.Y, as a child, Long Island, NY 1978-1987, Honolulu, Hawaii 1987-2001, Los Alamos, New Mexico since 2001). I have been an active advocate on the state and local level for almost twenty years, and an LCI for six. I am willing to serve in a leadership role in the League. My credentials are at the end of this letter.
I would be a voice for membership and would work to maintain the League as the most effective and knowledgeable membership-driven advocacy organization for bicyclists in the United States. We must vet new and existing ideas about bicycling advocacy (affecting programs, policies, law, infrastructure design, i.e., all the E’s) and promote the best ideas to bicyclists, law enforcement, legislatures, regulators, and transportation designers.
We must maintain the League’s excellent educational programs by supporting and expanding our LCI network, at the same time expanding our educational reach through close cooperation with other key programs such as Safe Routes to Schools (i.e., programs such as the Hawaii Bicycling League’s BikeEd program). We must ensure that our Bicycle-Friendly Communities program continues to grow and become a powerful tool for encouraging communities to become more bicyclist friendly. Among the improvements I would like to see is more involvement in the BFC process by our LCIs so we can carefully vet BFC applications using our own “boots on the ground” to review local conditions. Lastly, and definitely not least in importance, we must maintain and expand cyclist’s rights according to our Equity Principle.
The League must support local and regional cycling advocacy organizations when they need focused national help, such as bringing national attention (and resources) to defeat anti-cycling bills and defend cyclists in strategic cases such as Selz vs. Trotwood, Ohio.
My history of Board, Advocacy, and Public Service
I am an active member of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike), where my focus is on educating people about good cycling technique and advocating for cyclists’ right to the road. I have been a League Cycling Instructor since 2008. I served on the Amherst Public Transportation and Bicycle Committee for six years.
I first learned to ride a bike, in the common sense, at the age of six or seven but I learned to DRIVE a bike in 2005. Due to a visual disability I cannot acquire a driver’s license. I once thought of this limitation as a severe one. I made some trips by foot, bike, and bus and relied on friends and family members with cars to give me rides for some other trips. For the most part, however, the difficulty I had in traveling prevented me from living what most people would consider a full life.
In the summer of 2005, I was looking for another way to get to my choir practice. I had been going with my wife in her car. I dug out a copy of John Forester’s Effective Cycling, which I had never read and knew nothing about. From this book, I learned that I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without the excessive thinking, planning, and worrying that I had formerly associated with bicycle travel. It was the most revelatory experience of my life.
I travel almost exclusively by bicycle. I have found that good cycling habits provide me with more freedom and flexibility than I could ever achieve through driving a motor vehicle. I have cycled in nine states and the District of Columbia, on a wide variety of roads under a wide variety of conditions. I have made trips of up to 200 miles. One of my 200-mile trips was to Fryeburg, Maine for my instructor certification. My typical annual cycling distance over the past several years has been about 2,500 miles.
Over the past year, my life has been made very difficult by police officers in two nearby towns who disapprove of my controlling a narrow lane and even of my cycling on major roads at all. I have been stopped and threatened numerous times, arrested once, had my property seized twice, and charged with disorderly conduct twice and unlawful wiretapping once (because of the camera I had on my helmet the last time I was stopped). More information about my saga is accessible from my blog.
This experience has made my right-to-the-road mission extremely personal. These police officers left me in such a vulnerable state while traveling that I was virtually imprisoned in my home. It became impractical for me travel except within Amherst and for particularly important trips. My options for these important trips were either cycling with the risk of another disastrous police encounter, finding someone to drive me in a car, or in rare cases taking a bus.
My case is not unique. Over the past fifteen years, the League’s efforts to overturn the widespread myths and biases regarding cycling, which partially motivated the abusive treatment I received from police officers, and defend cyclists’ right to the road have grown increasingly lethargic. The League completely ignored my pleas for help and did not even communicate the problem to other League members to aid me in gathering support.
In another case that is similar to mine, the League went so far as to spread
misinformation about cyclist Reed Bates in an attempt to publicly discredit him
and his supporters. I want to see the League return to its historic
mission of educating the public about cycling and defending the right to
travel. I want to see a League that is open, responsive, and loyal to its
members. This is why I am running for a director position.
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