Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Educational Issues & the Bike League

One of the big issues with the League of American Bicyclists is that as an organization, it has a number of consistency issues.

One of the biggest contradictions are their BikeEd programs (which are taught by League Certified Instructors, such as myself) and their Bicycle-Friendly Communities program. Materials endorsed by the League as part of instructor training, and even some of what is in the course curriculae for BikeEd courses, directly contradict some of the values of the Bicycle-Friendly Communities program.

For instance, the BFC program rates places higher for having bike lanes, sidepaths, and bicycle trails, without an assessment of the engineering quality of the facilities. Meanwhile, via BikeEd, one teaches/learns that a lot of bike lanes are well-intentioned but poorly designed, and sometimes are problematic from a public relations point of view. Many trails and sidepaths, due again to their engineering, actually put bicyclists in the path of hazard compared to behaving vehicularly, and riding on a roadway.

Of course, many cyclists and would-be riders would rather see lanes and sidepaths and trails, via a mistaken belief in their greater safety. Meanwhile, BikeEd exposes instructors to contrary statistics that, when taught, get scoffed at. People do not want to believe that segregated facilities are often of greater hazard than sharing the road.

This is probably why the LAB keeps giving BFC awards to states with bike laws on the books which are contrary to good practice — things like mandatory sidepath rules.

It’s depressing, really.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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