The issue that started LAB Reform was
Gross Mismanagement of
the League’s Education Program between 2000 and 2003. This crisis has
ended, thanks to two good people. (It took two to undo the mess caused by
one misguided individual and a negligent board.) But even now, many of the
League’s advocacy efforts undermine education.
The education program was based on the book Effective Cycling by John
Forester. The program was also called Effective Cycling until Forester
withdrew permission for use of the name in 2000 because (in his own
words): … my intent was to develop the skills of LAB as the prime
national organization advocating and defending the status of cyclists as drivers
of vehicles, because cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers
of vehicles. LAB’s change from its historic role as the defender of
cyclists’ rights to its present role (whatever that happens to be, if one can
discern it) and its refusal, demonstrated many times, to continue in its
historic role is the basic reason for my withdrawal from LAB of the rights to
the EC Program.
LAB still does not provide “League Cycling Instructors” with enough good
teaching materials. Hence, we offer the educational materials below.
Except as otherwise noted, the articles are by Fred Oswald, a certified bicycling safety instructor.
For an excellent ‘bicycle driving’ class, check out
Cycling Savvy, A Cycling
Education Program of the American Bicycling Education Association.
Safety Tips For Adults. This has quite a bit of good “Drive
Your Bike” information but unfortunately, some mistakes too. The
illustration of a left turn shows a good signal but very bad lane position
(too far right — you should not share the lane when turning). The
speaker warns that bike traffic laws vary but fails to say that non-uniform
laws are bad. She suggests finding out what local laws require
(implying she would follow them even if they mandate unsafe operation).
One Got Fat,
a bizarre 1963 ‘Bicycle Safety’ video that depicts a group of children,
dressed as monkeys, riding to a picnic. The monkeys get picked off one
by one, with a safety message behind each ‘crash’.
Most of the safety messages are pretty good, especially considering the
date of the film. Unfortunately, ‘pretty good’ is not good enough.
The explanation given for the cause of the first crash (about 3 minutes from
the start) is dangerously wrong! The ’cause’ claimed (not signaling) is
a very minor error. Nothing is said about making a left turn from the
right edge of the road without looking for passing traffic. Did the
producer think it’s OK to swerve in front of a car without looking or yielding
so long as one signals first? (Probably not, but one wonders.)
Drive Your Bike, (17 Mb) 1954 film that although preachy, presents
mostly a good message. However, it emphasizes signaling for turns
without mentioning the much more important duties of looking for and yielding
to any traffic that may have the right of way. It depicts making a
left turn from the right edge of the road and encourages riding too close to
the edge of the road.
Young America Films, Bicycle Safety (1950), another mixture of good
and bad. The instruction for a left turn is great (look, merge to center
then turn) but it starts from bad lane position (at extreme edge of road).
Did you know?
Primacy, the state of being first, often creates a strong, almost unshakable,
impression. For the instructor, this means that what is taught must be
right the first time. For the student, it means that learning must be
right. Unteaching is more difficult than teaching. If, for example,
a maintenance student learns a faulty riveting technique, the instructor will
have a difficult task correcting bad habits and reteaching correct ones.
Every student should be started right. The first experience should be
positive, functional, and lay the foundation for all that is to follow.