This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
The League of American Bicyclists, (founded as the League of American
Wheelmen) has been working to improve the quality of bicycling in America
almost as long as there have been bicycles.
Bicyclists in the 1870's, known then as wheelmen, were challenged by rutted
roads of gravel and dirt, and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers,
and pedestrians. In an effort to improve their riding conditions so they
might better enjoy their newly discovered sport, the forefathers of bicycling
banded together to lobby the government for more paved roads and to put a
stop to antagonistic acts from other road-users. United in 1880 as the
League of American Wheelmen, their mission has carried on throughout the
history of bicycling.
Today, more than 110 years later, the League of American Bicyclists
continues to unite the bicyclists of America with an agenda remarkably
similar to that initiated in the 1880's. The League's current efforts to
create a bicycle-friendly America include fighting for the rights of
bicyclists through an aggressive national advocacy program, promoting
bicycling for recreation and transportation, and increasing bicycle safety
and awareness by educating bicyclists and other road users.
Fashioned after "The Good Roads Movement" of the 1880's, our current agenda
is embodied by the League's Safe Roads Movement, a comprehensive program
that aims to reduce the number of injuries and deaths to bicyclists.
Highlights of this 10-point action plan include educating bicyclists and
other road users about their rights and responsibilities to safely share
the road, and promoting the improvement of road design and maintenance to
better accommodate bicycles.
The League's Effective Cycling program is making great strides to advance
this agenda. Taught by certified instructors, it is the only national
bicycling education program that combines the technical training needed to
safely negotiate any traffic situation, with the principles of safe,
responsible riding. The League reaches thousands of adult bicyclists and
children each year through Effective Cycling courses, and mini-workshops on
The League of American Bicyclists sponsors National Bike Month (May), which
serves to promote the various aspects of bicycling. Our Bike Month
Organizer's Kit is a hands-on guide to planning Bike Month activities
including bicycling safety programs, helmet use promotions, Bike to Work
Day/Week, and is used by bike clubs, environmental organizations, PTAs,
recreation departments, hospitals, and others.
In 1992, the League founded The International Police Mountain Bike
Association (IPMBA) to address the growing need for information,
assistance, and training to start-up bicycle-mounted police patrols. IPMBA
hosts an annual Police on Bikes Conference and has standardized the
training of bike-patrols across the nation through the Police Cyclist
Training Course. Police bicycle patrols are increasing the acceptance of
the bicycle as a vehicle, and creating more awareness among law-enforcement
personnel regarding bicyclist-motorist interactions.
The League's advocacy efforts focus on improving riding conditions, easing
inequitable restrictions on transit access, and increasing the visibility of
bicycles in national transportation policy. In 1991, the League played an
active role in the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Equity
Act (ISTEA), federal legislation allowing both for increased spending
on bicycling improvements and for bicyclists to participate in local
As a follow-up to ISTEA, the League set new goals with our own proposed
Bicycle Transportation Equity Act (BikeTEA). Without waiting for
Congressional approval of this proposal, the League has gone ahead with
parts of its agenda. Accomplishments under BikeTEA include concessions by
Amtrak to provide better bicycle accommodations, a national Scenic Byways
program that requires genuine consideration of bicycle accommodations, and
an arrangement with five major airlines to enable members to fly their
bikes for free.
Besides national advocacy work, the League provides support to state and
local activists through the National Coalition for Bicycle Advocacy. The
NCBA provides a clearinghouse for information, strategic planning, and
idea-sharing between state and local advocacy organizations.
The League also publishes the bi-monthly Bicyclist Advocacy Bulletin, which
provides the most comprehensive, bicycle advocacy and planning information
and advice available in the nation.
In between advocacy and education efforts, League members manage to find
time to enjoy bicycling. The League's national and regional rallies bring
together members from all over the U.S.A. and Canada. In addition to great
riding and entertainment, daily workshops include, advocacy, safety, club
leadership, cycling techniques, and more.
Pedal for Power, another division of the League, hosts Across America and
North-South rides that raise money for bicycling and various charities of the
While the League of American Bicyclists works diligently for bicyclists
through education and advocacy, we also reward our members with other
Eight issues per year of Bicycle USA magazine to keep members up to date on
League activities. As of March 1, 1994, the Bicyclist Advocacy Bulletin will
be folded into Bicycle USA as a regular inclusion. Other regular features
include effective cycling tips, Government Relations and Education columns,
cycle news, and an event calendar. Special issues include an annual Almanac
National touring services for members such as Ride Information Contacts in
every state. While touring, members can also stay in the homes of more than
1,600 fellow members, free of charge, through the Hospitality Homes network.
League members can fly their bikes for free on TWA, America West, USAir,
Continental, and Northwest airlines when they make their travel arrangements
through the Sports National Reservation Center.
The League of American Bicyclists is a 501c-3 non-profit organization with
membership of more than 27,000 bicyclists and 500 affiliated clubs and
coalitions nationwide. Individual membership costs $25/year or $30 for
families. Additional contributions to support advocacy and education are
To join the League of American Bicyclists send your membership contribution
to 190 W. Ostend St., Suite 120, Baltimore, MD 21230-3755, or call (410)
539-3399. For membership by phone call 1-800-288-BIKE. For a membership
form to pay by credit card see the "How to Join League" file.