League of American Bicyclists’ 2011 Annual Appeal Campaign: Toward Zero Deaths

Today I received an annual appeal letter from the League of American Bicyclists informing me about a new strategic shift in their advocacy and outreach: putting an end to harassment of cyclists by drivers and changing the debate at the national level by educating motorists about cyclists’ rights to the road. This campaign is a marked shift from previous campaigns by the League and other bicycling advocacy groups that often put the onus of responsibility on the vulnerable road user rather than the aggressor on the roads.

Jim Swarzman, a local cyclist, was recently a victim of a hit and run while riding a brevet. Chris Kostman has written a very moving post on the void Swarzman’s death leaves behind in the Southern California cycling community. It is very difficult not to get emotionally wound up at the callousness on the part of the driver who took the life of a cyclist that knew how best to live his life to the fullest.

Tragedies continue to amount, with another cyclist in National City being shot and killed. Meanwhile, when cyclists do experience dangerous encounters with motorists and report the aggressor to the authorities, nothing happens. It seems that we as a society are being forced to accept our hierarchy in life and our worth in society based strictly on our transportation choices. Frankly, this is an insult to our worth as human beings.

The League has done tremendous work in lobbying for bicyclists in Capitol Hill. They educate hundreds of cyclists to become League Certified Instructors every year that teaches them how to be assertive on the roads, and about cyclists rights and other minutiae that I suspect that the majority of the cycling public will never know nor care to understand. With their 2011 Annual Campaign, the League has already established a working relationship with the AAA. The AAA has 55 million members that the League expects to reach and educate. All drivers need to know that cyclists are entitled to be on the roads. The League also is reaching out to driving instructors and Departments of Motor Vehicles so that all road users have equal rights and responsibilities to the roads.

Big smiles
All cyclists should be welcome on the roads. The League is making sure that is a reality with their new campaign. Photo by Flickr/Protorio

I applaud this strategic shift by the League and fully intend to support this campaign and hope that is will be the beginning of a cultural shift in how we view our transportation options in this country.

Edit: Here is the link to the donation page at the League’s website.