Voting With My Feet — and My Wallet

My LAB membership expired recently. I did not renew because I am reluctant to send the League any more money, knowing it would be used to harm the interests of responsible cyclists. I also prefer to belong to organizations that I can be proud of.

The only worthwhile League program I see now is Smart Cycling, the education program. Unfortunately, education is the poor stepchild of “encouragement”. The worst of these encouragement programs is Bicycle Fiendish Communities, which, among its many evils, undermines the educational program.

There is a better education program that does not suffer the handicap of a board hostile to cyclists who act as drivers. See Cycling Savvy

I had kept my membership until now in hopes that reform candidates would win the League back to members’ control. For the 2010 election, we made a vigorous effort to collect petition signatures to get our three candidates on the ballot. However, certain League officials resorted to shameful conduct to obstruct the petition drive. You can see details at

Despite blatantly obstructive behavior by certain League officials, our petition candidates got about as many signatures as the top vote-getter in the actual election. If the election process had been run fairly, they undoubtedly would have won their seats.

More than 400 signatures was not enough to get on the ballot because of sneak bylaws changes made in 2003. (The bylaws changes followed another election scandal.) The latest board election makes it obvious that the hostile takeover of the League has succeeded.

The League is no longer a democratic organization. although it pretends to be one.

I’ve had enough. I’m joining the lengthening list of *former* League members some of whom asked “What took you so long.” We can keep in touch through forums that support our goals, such as Chainguard, bicycledriving and, of course, LAB Reform.

Fred Oswald

Update: Eli Damon published letters from two more recent ex-League members on his blog Cycles

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2 Responses to Voting With My Feet — and My Wallet

  1. Bob Bayn says:

    After the last election and the failure of an obviously strong reform effort to penetrate the defenses of the non-democratic board selection process, I, too, have declined to renew my LAB membership and my LCI certification. I look forward to the day that the Cycling Savvy education program is available in my locality, and I’ll do what I can to facilitate that.

    Bob Bayn ECI #685
    Cache Valley, Utah

  2. I am letting my membership in LAB expire. I stayed on through the last election cycle to see whether there was any prospect of the reformers being elected. However, this is not a sudden decision.

    I first met bicycle advocates (they hadn’t acquired that name then) in the 1970s when I was president of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations. The BAs prevented action at a board meeting for a full day. Then we ended the meeting, sent them away, and re-opened the meeting to do what was necessary.

    The second time I met such was just after I had been president of LAW and was still a director. The BAs from Ohio’s Miami Valley took over the League by underhanded means and consolidated their power by more underhanded means. Their effort then put the League into financial difficulties because other BAs weren’t attracted to the League in sufficient numbers. Then the League recovered a bit.

    And then another cycle of BA activism, with recovery and then another cycle. I saw that the BAs in power had gutted the Effective Cycling Program, but I let them continue it for one more cycle. Then in 1999 I canceled LAB’s right to use the Effective Cycling Program, since they hadn’t been using it for quite a long time. Over these years, Prof. John Finley Scott, UC Davis sociology, frequently referred to the BAs tactics as Stalinist. Both he and I had long been convinced that anti-motoring bicycle advocacy is a controlling ideology that does great harm to lawful, competent cyclists such as the older League’s core members.

    The events of the last ten years have demonstrated again the Stalinist actions of the anti-motoring ideologists, so that there is no reasonable hope, not a smidgin of hope, that they can be evicted from their conquest. Those of us who are, and who represent, lawful, competent cyclists must make clear that we are no longer dupes of those in power in LAB. Their ideology is not ours and is harmful to us and our associates. Making our separation clear is not just spreading some word; it ought to be made clear to those governmental agencies who believe that LAB is the voice of cyclists instead of the ideological lobbying organization that it is.

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