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Disclaimer: Unfortunately, the events depicted here are fiction or fictionalized. The opinions do not represent the views of the current Board of the League of American Bicyclists. We need to replace several board members and reform the League so we can read true stories like these.
LEAGUE’S COMMUNITY AWARD PROGRAM REVAMPED, RENAMEDThe “Bicycle Friendly Communities Program” has a completely new mission. Responding to concerns that the old program was friendlier to bicycle planners and consultants than to cyclists, the program has taken most of the materials from the Cyclist Friendly Communities Program developed by the Ohio Bicycle Federation.
We are especially grateful to the Ohio Bicycle Federation for sharing this material with us. The revamped BFC program will urge community officials to understand and encourage operating bicycles as vehicles. The program is consistent with the League’s Best Practices of Cycling Advocacy® initiative.
Knowledgeable volunteers from the Ohio Bicycle Federation developed an
extensive Web-based “Toolkit” of reference and educational materials for
communities to use. This is a terrific resource that we will build
upon. Until the League adapts the Toolkit for its own web site, we urge
anyone interested to visit the OBF site at
Another valuable source of information is the web site of the North Carolina
Coalition for Bicycle Driving,
REFORMING BICYCLE TRAFFIC LAWSThe safest way to operate a bicycle is by driving on the same roads, following the standard rules of the road, and with the same rights as other drivers. This is the basis of the League’s BikeEd program.
Unfortunately, some state laws and many local ordinances mandate unsafe operation. Among the worst laws are those mandating use of sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes and state laws that allow non-uniform local ordinances.
Now the League is starting to do something about this problem. A committee of volunteer cycling experts is researching the bicycle traffic laws in all 50 states and evaluating each one according to a set of “Model Bicycle Laws” they developed. Preliminary ratings for the first few states have just been published here. A summary will be published in the next issue of the League’s magazine.
In the ratings, each state receives a “grade” based on safety and fairness to
cyclists. Ratings so far range from a “B” for Nevada, N. Carolina and the
Uniform Vehicle Code, to a dismal “F minus” for S Carolina, New York and
Michigan. The ratings will help state advocacy groups working for
CORRECTING CYCLING MISINFORMATIONMost people in our society are badly misinformed about bicycle operation. A large part of the problem is official and semi-official misinformation. The League Education Committee (EdCom) is doing something to correct this problem. As a start, they have just published a “White Paper” on bicycle driving that will be published on the LAB web site and sent to the media. The White Paper will be sent to newspapers and radio stations, particularly to correct distorted cycling news stories.
EdCom is also responding to reported incidents of misinformation. In a
recent effort, EdCom is helping Cannondale Bicycle Company correct misstatements
in its “Bicycle Owner’s Manual”. Among the mistakes these dangerous
instructions: Ride in designated bike lanes, on designated bike paths
or as close to the edge of the road as possible. Cannondale will
instead follow the example of Breezer Bikes and replace this portion of their
manual with the excellent booklet Bicycling Street Smarts
LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM REESTABLISHEDThe League is appealing to members with legal expertise to help establish a legal advice service for members unjustly issued a traffic citation (ticket) or to help seek recovery for damages or injuries from a crash. The League urges cyclists to ride in accord with the standard rules of the road. We will not help fight a just ticket for a real infraction, only for unjust legal harassment.
The League had a similar program back in the 70’s that was cut during the
leadership crisis in the 90’s. Now that the League is back in the control
of members, important services are being restored.
BIKELEAGUE MAGAZINE IMPROVEDRecent articles on reforming bicycle traffic laws, legal defense of cyclists and on removing dangerous “bikepaths” beside the road are clear evidence that the BikeLeague has returned to its core values of protecting the rights and interests of cyclists and of supporting the best practices of cycling. Several members have complimented the new editor, Julie Wordsmith, for significant improvements in the quality of the content. The magazine is now much more informative than it has been in years. Several League members have told us “The magazine is finally worth reading again.”
CORRECTING ERRORS IN SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOLThe League has called on the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to correct several serious errors in the bicycling portions of the Safe Routes to School program. League president Ima Wheeler, in a press release, reminded the agency that no route is safe for children who have not been taught to ride properly and that almost any route can be safe for a properly trained cyclist.
Wheeler pointed out a glaring error on the cover of the NHTSA publication
that shows a child riding on the wrong side of the road. “This is one of
the most serious mistakes any cyclist can make”, she said. “It is
unconscionable that such an obviously dangerous practice is shown right on the
cover.” Wheeler also presented a list of other errors in the booklet and
threatened that the League may withdraw support for the program unless these
errors are corrected.
SAVE THE DATES: NATIONAL BIKE SUMMIT®, MARCH 1-3Don’t miss the National Bike Summit®, convened by the League of American Bicyclists, March 1-3 in Washington, DC. Join cycling advocates; League Cycling Instructors, bike industry leaders; transportation, public health, and environmental professionals; key legislators; and government officials for the National Bike Summit® in our nation’s capital.
This valuable three-day educational forum on improving bicycling policies will focus on the League’s Best Practices of Cycling Advocacy® initiative with emphasis on preventing the dangerous mistakes too often made in the past. It also includes an important day for educating decision-makers on Capitol Hill about best practices.
Beginning this year, the Summit is affordably priced so that ordinary cyclists can attend, not just those with a rich expense account. This is more evidence that the League is now being run for the benefit of members, not an elite group of outsiders.
The Summit features seminars covering bicycle driving and bicycle transportation issues. The League will coordinate scheduling meetings with your Members of Congress, with full background on bicycle driving issues. At the close of the day, we will host a reception on the Hill for Summit participants, legislators and staff. On Friday afternoon, League Cycling Instructors will lead a ride around historic Washington, DC, and our national monuments with the members and staff of the Congressional Bike Caucus and the Senate Bike Caucus.
To make the event more useful to state and local activists, we have issued a
“call for papers/presentations” to help us identify the critical issues
currently facing the bicycling and walking community. The deadline for
submission of proposals for papers and presentations is December 12. This
year a special invitation is offered to volunteer experts from the ranks of
League members. In previous years, these experts had been snubbed in favor
of mis-informed activists from organizations the League was soliciting for
ATTENTION FLORIDA CYCLISTS: DEMAND REMOVAL OF DANGEROUS ‘BIKE PATHS’ ON FLORIDA A1A NEAR DAYTONA BEACH. SUPPORT CYCLING EDUCATION INSTEAD
The state of Florida has one of the worst bicycle safety records in the nation despite (or perhaps because of) spending millions of dollars on bicycle planners and consultants and building facilities to separate bicycle and motor traffic. The League concludes that most of this money was wasted. Indeed, many of the facilities are more dangerous than nearby roadways, especially to people untrained in driving bicycles.
We are specifically calling for removal of the most dangerous facilities, bicycle sidepaths, such as the one shown at right. The photo shows a two-way sidepath on one side of the street. The path is located north of Daytona Beach on Florida Route A1A. Hazards created by the path include frequent intersections with cross roads and driveways, many sharp curves on a path that parallels an arrow-straight road and slippery sand on the surface. (Sand is a problem because of lower elevation than the roadway and it is near the beach).
Various studies of accidents involving cyclists show that riding on a sidewalk or sidepath has a collision risk between two and nine times as high as does riding on the adjacent roadway, depending on factors including the speed of bicycle and motor traffic, traffic density and frequency of driveways and cross streets.
Bike lanes also create hazards for novice cyclists (they very people they are supposed to protect). Bike lanes, typically are separated from the “motor lanes” by a painted stripe. This stripe encourages motorists to stay to the left and cyclists to stay right, even when the rules of the road require otherwise. This often leads to accidents because both parties are confused. They also threaten the rights of cyclists to ride anywhere but in “their place.”
The good thing about bike lanes is they are easy to remove; simply grind off
the paint stripe and teach people where to ride. The League urges Florida
to conduct a public education program, using TV and radio public service
announcements, posters, signs and to distribute widely the booklet Bicycling
Street Smarts, which has been adopted as the state bicycle drivers’ manual.
GIVE THE GIFT OF BETTER BICYCLING TO A FRIENDLance says, “I am proud to be a member of the League of American Bicyclists especially now that it is promoting Best Practices®. I look at it as an investment in our future. After all, the more that people are biking correctly, the better they show by their good example that cyclists are drivers who belong on the roads. I wish I had learned proper bicycle driving when I was developing as an athlete. The knowledge would have saved me several painful accidents.”
Reproductions here of copyrighted League of American Bicyclists materials were produced under fair use guidelines.
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Last Revised 6/ 3/07