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trakbils.gif (1395 bytes)My campaign
for LAB Regional

This page was first posted as part of  my 2003 campaign for New York-New England Regional Director of the League of American Bicyclists. I am keeping the campaign pages online, with brief additional comments (here, inside the box), for the information of League members..

The management of the Bike-Ed program was the main concern that led me to run for office, and one of my main campaign issues.

I am pleased to note that significant improvements occurred in the Bike-Ed program, even before the new Directors take office in October, 2003. In particular, the hiring of a new Education Director, Sami Founier, and assistant, Fred Meredith, bode well for the program. An online database of League Cycling Instructors has been created -- a useful resource. I like to think that my campaign and those of Fred Oswald and Amanda Jones, also League Cycling Instructors, played a part in this improvement.

There are still major improvements to be made in the program, and I pledge to work hard for them during my tenure as a Director.

My platform on the Bike-Ed program

I have a major personal investment in the Bike-Ed program. I have been a certified  instructor for 20 years, and I have devoted a major part of my professional career to bicycling education.

At this time, I am concerned about the status of the League's Bike-Ed program and of support for League Cycling Instructors.

What am I concerned about?

I see problems in four areas:

  • problems in the course materials which the League offers;

  • weaknesses in the process for certifying new instructors,

  • lack of Bike-Ed workshops at League rallies

  • too little imagination in promoting the program.

League Cycling Instructor John Schubert, a Regional Director (through mid-2001) who was on the Education Committee, has outlined some of the management issues which have led to problems with the Bike-Ed program. To summarize his statements:

  • The Education Committee has not maintained sufficient control over the office staff's management of the program. The Education Committee has been reduced from a hands-on to an advisory capacity.

  • Instructor seminar leaders are now chosen by office staff only, with no input from experienced instructors. Quality of instructor seminars has led to many   complaints.

  • Development of the Bike-Ed program was funded by a $100,000 Federal grant, yet the 2002 revision of the Bike-Ed Instructor's Manual is of very poor quality. Available volunteer and professional assistance was not brought in for this vitally important project.

  • Members of the Education Committee who expressed concerns about these issues have been removed from the committee (John Schubert, 2001; Bill Hoffman, 2002).

I support modularizing the program

A common criticism of long-time instructors is that we oppose progress in making the program easier to promote and to teach. Let me then make it very clear that I support such efforts.

In fact, already in the early 1980s, I was modularizing my own classes and shortening courses by leaving out material that could be learned elsewhere -- well before the League adopted the same approach.

I am pleased with the modularization of the program, and with the increasing number of instructors in recent years -- but I am concerned with the quality of training and support.

In my opinion, the most important Bike-Ed course material covers bicycle handling and operation in traffic. This material is unique, and uniquely valuable. Over the years, I have taught it in a number of formats:

  • a 15-minute parking lot/intersection demonstration at rallies and conferences, showing efficient pedaling techniques, use of the gears, scanning and merging in traffic, and emergency maneuvers;

  • Classroom lectures describing road cycling technique, in a variety of formats;

  • road tests and written tests at rallies;

  • The Bike-Ed Road I course, with two sessions of approximately 5 hours;

  • a 20-hour course on 5 Saturdays, sometimes with the option of an overnight tour on the final weekend;

  • Numerous publications, including two books and dozens of magazine articles. My pamphlet Bicycling Street Smarts has sold over 300,000 copies in 5 editions, including the bicycle driver's manuals of two states.

Though I have taught in this wide variety of formats, I have never taught the original 30-hour course using John Forester's Effective Cycling as the textbook, and so I reject any suggestion that I am inflexible!

How will I work to fix the program?

As a long-time League Cycling Instructor and author of instructional materials, I will push to be appointed as a member of the Education Committee. I will raise issues of the quality of the Bike-Ed program at every opportunity. My election will send a message to the League Staff and the Board that they must take these issues seriously. Along with other Board members who are concerned about the Bike-Ed program, I will play my part in turning the situation around.

I am determined to resolve the problems. I will work for the support which LCIs and the Bike-Ed program deserve from the League, and for a Bike-Ed program deserving of members' and taxpayers' investment.

Next: the Bike-Ed Manual

Top: home page
Up: my campaign
Previous: Restore member services
Next: the Bike-Ed manual

Contact information

Contents   2002, John S. Allen
May be reproduced, with attribution
Last revised 20 February 2003