LAB Reform's Successes
Without LAB Reform it is likely that LAB elections would still
have just one "choice" (the board's candidate) with no opportunity for a
challenger to get on the ballot and with most members not knowing that there
was any alternate point of view. It is also likely that the education
program would have quietly faded away.
LAB Reform started in response to problems that the management and board caused
and then refused to correct. Instead of listening to members, the small
faction that seized control of the League acted to isolate itself from member
oversight by operating in secrecy and by weakening member oversight. The
reform movement (starting before we began calling ourselves LAB Reform) has had
some positive impact on the League.
Progress inspired by LAB Reform includes:
- Electing three candidates to the board in 2008 and defeating the
board-endorsed candidates. Two of our candidates are active members of LAB Reform.
- Electing two reform candidates to the board in 2002 (Joe Stafford and
Fred Meredith), one in 2003 (John Allen).
It took unprecedented interference by the
faction to defeat another reform candidate in 2003.
- Fixing the mess in the League's education
program in which new instructors were poorly trained and several
unqualified instructors were approved to teach BikeEd.
(See Note 1.)
- Improving election procedures in response to the protest and controversy
stemming from the 2003 election scandals. Note however, these are
only temporary improvements that can easily be undone by the board at any
time. The improvements include:
- Published rules regarding use of the membership list and the receipt and
counting of ballots. (See Note 2.)
- In the 2007-8 election uncensored candidates' email messages were
forwarded to League members.
- Multiple candidates (at least two) nominated for each Board seat.
(See Note 3.)
- Posting notices and minutes of Board meetings on the website.
(See Note 4.)
- The League is beginning to publicly support cyclist's rights. For
example, donating $1000 to the Prokop case in California and a donation appeal
to members that highlighted the need to protect our rights.
(See Note 5.)
- At its March 4, 2006, meeting, the Board restored the
'Statement of Purpose' in Article I, Section 2
of the bylaws to a condensed version close to what it had been prior to
- Also at the March 4, 2006, meeting, the Board was much more receptive to
Fred Oswald's proposal for a Law Reform
Committee than it was when a similar proposal was made in 2003.
This committee is evaluating state laws for their consistency with safety and
fairness toward cyclists. It assigns a grade to each state for its laws.
(See Note 6.)
- Some letters to the editor are now appearing in the League's magazine (now
titled American Bicyclist) after many years' absence.
- The new
"Bicycle Friendly States program" seems to have avoided copying some of
the abuses of the "Bicycle
Friendly Communities program". In particular, they ask about "rights
and responsibilities", they discourage some restrictive laws that are contrary
to safety and they encourage police training. (See Note 7.)
More reforms in League operation and governance are needed:
- All directors must be elected.
- Protection against abuse of power must be added to the Bylaws. The
current election reforms are easily rescinded rules.
- Major Bylaws changes must be approved by members.
- Member rights in the Bylaws must be restored, including:
- Reasonable signature requirements for petitioning to get on the ballot.
- Reasonable signature requirements for a member-initiated referendum.
- The League spends too much, including for its high-rent offices in
Washington, D.C. This makes it dependant on outside donors.
- The League must stop promoting all separate bicycle facilities,
especially those that are unsafe.
It is extremely unlikely that these crucial steps will be taken with the
current roster of directors. As their terms expire, the directors standing
in the way of these reforms must be replaced with directors responsive to the
members. For appointed directors, this may require waiting until they
reach their 3-term limit, unless they can be pressured to resign sooner.
As more reform-minded directors get elected, we will be able to exert more
influence on the Nominating Committee, which has enormous power to shape the
makeup of the Board.
We need your help to get OUR League back!
Unfortunately, much of the League's advocacy work is completely contrary to
the principles behind the education program, and even LAB's own policy
statements. This makes the League schizophrenic: It teaches the
best practices of bicycle driving while supporting separate facilities that
encourage the worst mistakes of novices, as well as contributing to the
perception that cyclists cannot operate in reasonable safety on normal roads.
We have a serious concern that the rules favor the incumbent because they
require prior notification and the providing of a sample before a challenger
is allowed to use the mailing list.
This is a return to the practice that was abandoned over 10 years ago.
Traditionally, more effort was made to obtain at least two candidates for
each seat. Without true competition, elections become nothing more
than Soviet style ratification of the Party's chosen candidates.
We believe LAB Reformís posting of notes taken by its members at meetings
prompted this welcome change. Although we commend LAB for this action,
we note that there is a long delay between the end of a meeting and the
approval, and subsequent posting, of the minutes. We think two months
is a reasonable time to allow the Secretary to prepare and circulate draft
minutes, have the directors circulate comments and corrections, and then
vote by email to approve the final version so the minutes can be
posted. An alternative is to post the draft minutes with a notation
that they are 'subject to change.' We also need to see minutes from
telephone "meetings" and executive committee meetings.
We hope this is more than lip service done to blunt our criticism. We
also note that John Forester contributed several times as much (18 times as
much!) out of his personal funds.
In 2007, another promise was broken to run an article about law reform in
the LAB magazine. Since then they seem to have "forgotten" that they
Unfortunately, Bicycle Friendly States still encourages segregation with
little recognition of hazards (it mentions standards, but the standards are
weak and often ignored).
Please join us and help restore the BikeLeague to members.
to join LAB Reform.
© Copyright 2005-2008 LAB Reform.
Material may be copied with attribution.