Why LAB Reform?

LAB Reform seeks to restore the League of American Bicyclists as the national cyclists’ advocacy organization.   That means staunchly defending our right to the road, vigorously promoting the best and safest practices consistent with the education program and it means having leadership that works for and is responsive to the members.

It means not accepting separate (segregated) bicycle facilities that introduce hazards to the people they are supposed to protect.  It means not accepting second class (or worse) status for cyclists whose greatest duty is perceived to be staying out of the way of “more important” traffic.

Above: Avoiding door zone — a safety measure LAB fails to emphasize.

LAB Reform was established in the fall of 2003 [1], after League directors, without consulting or informing members, reduced member control of the League in three significant ways:

  1. Increased by about a factor of six the number of signatures required to get on the ballot to run for the board.
  2. Increased by more than a factor of three the number of signatures required for a referendum to direct the Board of Directors on any relevant matters or questions.
  3. Operated in secrecy so that members could not know what the board was doing.

The moderate signature requirement overturned by the first two measures above eliminated a “safety valve” to protect the League from unethical directors acting against the interests of members. Instead, the directors insulated themselves to stop members from controlling their league.

In addition, at the fall 2003 meeting, the directors quietly removed requirements from the “Statement of Purpose” involving education, protecting rights of cyclists, organizing rallies and helping local cycling advocacy organizations. These were functions that they were not interested in performing. (The statement was essentially restored in 2006. However, the important safeguards for members’ rights are still missing. And, although we now have a fairly good statement of purpose, the board often acts contrary to the statement.)

Read about the details of the ByLaws changes here.

Note 1: Although we started using the name “LAB Reform” in 2003, reform efforts started earlier when the education program was severely weakened. Earlier efforts included an appeal to the board to return the League to its roots. See “Which Way LAB”. The appeal was rejected. Reformers sponsored candidates for the board in 2002 and early 2003. Three out of four reform candidates were elected. The fourth was beaten through cheating. (This was before — and likely why — the rules were changed to make the petition requirement onerous.)

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4 Responses to Why LAB Reform?

  1. omega says:

    Funny. I’m a League member, and I feel that the current board and staff of the League are serving my interests as a cyclist just fine.

  2. Fred says:

    Those who approve of “Car Culture” bicycle advocacy that requires that cyclists remain second-class citizens, required to “stay of of the way” will not be concerned whether the board is serving their interests.

    But those of us who believe that cyclists should be equal users of the road are not satisfied with reserved seats at the back of the bus.

    We also do not approve of outsiders taking the League away from us.

  3. Alan Hedegard says:

    Can we start planning for next years election NOW?

  4. Fred says:

    Hi Alan,

    I think it is too late to save LAB from the outside interests who have taken if over. Despite a good effort by three reform candidates who have fairly good connections with the cycling community, we fell well short of the extreme requirements for petitioning to get on the ballot. The ruling faction (i.e. politburo) designed the election regimen to keep out dissenters.

    It is time to start our own organization that will protect our rights and work to ensure our safety.

    — Fred

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