League of American Bicyclists

League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) is a non-profit membership organization which promotes cycling for fun, fitness and transportation through advocacy and education. [ [http://www.bikeleague.org/about/index.php League of American Bicyclists * About Us ] ] A §501(c)(3) nonprofit, the League is one of the largest membership organizations of cyclists in the United States. [ [http://www.bikeleague.org/members/magazine.php League of American Bicyclists * League Membership ] ]


Founded in Newport, Rhode Island on May 30, 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen, it soon became the leading national membership organization for cyclists in the United States. The League was also governing body for bicycle racing in the U.S. during the late 1800s. Membership peaked at 103,000 in 1898.Citation | last = Stanford Braff | first = Carolyn | author-link = Carolyn Stanford Braff | title = The Perfect Time to Ride: A History of the League of American Wheelmen | journal = American Bicyclist | volume =Nov-Dec 2007 | pages = 18-23 | date = Nov-Dec 2007 | year = 2007 | url = http://www.bikeleague.org/members/pdfs/american_bicyclist_nov-dec_07.pdf | issn = 0747-0371 ]

The League was a prominent advocacy group for the improvement of roads and highways in the United States [ [http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/fall93/p93au1.htm Highway Existence:- 100 Years and Beyond - The Federal Highway Administration at 100, Autumn 1993, Public Roads ] ] long before the invention of the automobile. The Good Roads Movement in the late 19th century was founded and led by the League, which began publishing "Good Roads" magazine in 1892 (10 years before the founding of the American Automobile Association).

In 1894, the League voted to prohibit membership by black people. Since the League was the governing body for bicycle racing at that time, the League's action effectively banned blacks from most races in the United States. [ [http://www.majortaylorassociation.org/LAW.htm Major Taylor - League of American Bicyclists Rights a Wrong ] ] In 1999, the League disavowed the 1894 action. [ [http://www.majortaylorassociation.org/LAB_text.htm Major Taylor Association - Full text of the LAB resoloution ] ]

The League continued to play a leading role in cycling issues into the 20th century. One example was the promotion and distribution of John Forester's Effective Cycling education program to clubs and educational institutions across the United States from the 1970s through the 1990s.

In the late 20th century, the organization was criticized for its name: League of American Wheel"men." Also, the term "Wheelmen" was becoming an increasing obscure term. In response, the League began doing business as the League of American "Bicyclists" in 1994. [ [http://www.bikeleague.org/about/history.php League of American Bicyclists * History ] ]


LAB claims to serve as the voice for cyclists at the national level, and organizes an annual National Bike Summit to bring professionals and advocates in Washington, D.C., together with government representatives. A major supporter of the event is the Bikes Belong Coalition (BBC), a §501(c)(6) trade association for the bicycle industry which lobbies Congress for funds to build bicycle usage in the U.S.

In addition to BBC, LAB works in partnership with other organizations such as America Bikes ("leveraging federal transportation dollars for bicycling", primarily with BBC money), Thunderhead Alliance [http://www.thunderheadalliance.org] (lobbies for government money to encourage bicycle usage while receiving substantial industry funding), FHWA, NHTSA, NCUTCD and NCUTLO in order to "create a more bicycle-friendly America".


The League offers cycling education for adults and children in many locations across the U.S. Originally the education consisted of a single Effective Cycling (EC) course developed by John Forester and given to the League in 1976. Later, citing poor attendence and blaming the 30-hour length of the EC course, the League developed a curriculum consisting of multiple shorter courses. Forester did not agree with some of the changes to the program and withdrew permission for the League to use the EC name. [ [http://www.johnforester.com/Articles/Education/ECHistory.htm History of the Effective Cycling Program] ] The name of the League's program was then changed to "Bike Ed". [ [http://bikeleague.org/programs/education/ League of American Bicyclists * Bike Education ] ] In 2008, the program was renamed "Smart Cycling".

In addition to sponsoring the biennial "Bicycle Education Leaders Conference", the League is active in "Safe Routes to School" programs at a national level.

LAB Reform

Some members of League are concerned with various decisions made by the Board of Directors in recent years, and have formed a group calling for reforms. The stated goals of LAB Reform are: [http://www.labreform.org/]

# Regain control of the League for members by allowing them to elect ALL directors
# Restore access to the ballot and Bylaws via the petition and referendum
# Remove the veil of secrecy over the actions of the board and staff
# Allow members a reasonable process to remove unethical directors
# Promote the best and safest practices of cycling
# Protect the rights of cyclists
# Revive member services

Bicycle-friendly communities

As of September 2008, the League has formally recognized 96 communities across 32 states as bicycle-friendly communities for "providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and encouraging residents to bike for transportation and recreation." [cite web |url= http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/pdfs/bfc_master_list_sept_08.pdf |title= Bicycle Friendly Community Master List: September 2008 |accessdate= 2008-09-30 |date= September 24 2008 |format= PDF |publisher= League of American Bicyclists] These are the cities:

*Boulder, Colorado
*Davis, California
*Portland, Oregon


*Corvallis, Oregon
*Fort Collins, Colorado
*Jackson, Wyoming
*Madison, Wisconsin
*Palo Alto, California
*San Francisco, California
*Seattle, Washington
*Stanford University
*Tucson, Arizona


*Arlington, Virginia
*Austin, Texas
*Bellingham, Washington
*Chicago, Illinois
*Colorado Springs, Colorado
*Durango, Colorado
*Eugene, Oregon
*Folsom, California
*Gainesville, Florida
*Minneapolis, Minnesota
*Missoula, Montana
*Olympia, Washington
*The Presidio of San Francisco, California
*San Luis Obispo, California
*Santa Barbara, California
*Santa Cruz, California
*Scottsdale, Arizona
*Steamboat Springs, Colorado
*Tempe, Arizona
*Wood River Valley, Idaho


*Ada County, Idaho
*Albuquerque, New Mexico
*Ann Arbor, Michigan
*Arcata, California
*Arvada, Colorado
*Ashland, Oregon
*Auburn, Alabama
*Bainbridge Island, Washington
*Beaverton, Oregon
*Bend, Oregon
*Bloomington, Indiana
*Boca Raton, Florida
*Brentwood, California
*Brunswick, Maine
*Burlington, Vermont
*Carmel, Indiana
*Carrboro, North Carolina
*Cary, North Carolina
*Chandler, Arizona
*Charlotte, North Carolina
*Charlottesville, Virginia
*Chattanooga, Tennessee
*Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
*Columbia, South Carolina
*Denver, Colorado
*Flagstaff, Arizona
*Gilbert, Arizona
*LaCrosse, Wisconsin
*Lawrence, Kansas
*Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky
*Liberty Lake, Washington
*Longmont, Colorado
*Louisville, Kentucky
*Mesa, Arizona
*Milwaukee, Wisconsin
*Mountain View, California
*New York City
*Oceanside, California
*Orlando, Florida
*Oxford, Mississippi
*Park City, Utah
*Port Townsend, Washington
*Redmond, Washington
*Roseville, California
*Roswell, Georgia,
*Sacramento, California
*Salem, Oregon
*Salt Lake City, Utah
*San Jose, California
*Santa Clarita, California
*Schaumburg, Illinois
*Shawnee, Kansas
*Sitka, Alaska
*South Lake Tahoe, California
*South Sioux City, Nebraska
*Spartanburg, South Carolina
*St. Petersburg, Florida
*Sunnyvale, California
*Vancouver, Washington
*Washington, D.C.


ee also

*Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists
*San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
*Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates

External links

* [http://www.bikeleague.org/ LAB website]
* [http://www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org/ Bicycle Friendly Communities] , another LAB website
* [http://www.labreform.org/BFC.html Bicycle Friendly Communities, A Misdirected Program] , a LAB Reform website
* [http://wbgu.org/community/documentary/Bicycling/Bicycle_index.html wbgu.org] WBGU-PBS local documentary "Bicycling Through The Past"

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