BETTER WORLD CLUB NEWS

Strange Bedfellows: AAA and the League of American Bicyclists

And here we thought Israel and Palestine would get along first

We all drank our Champagne to celebrate trying again, we’ve lamented and maybe cried on the shoulders of a friend or two (thousand), but like any kid who’s been kicked in the back (or as was reported last month, “Jerry Browned”), we are hoping for a cathartic celebration as California’s 3 foot law returns for a third consideration. 

What is different about round three?  First, the proposed bill reflects more specific language to address the objections of Governor Brown’s last two vetoes.  Second, as Tanya Snyder reported on DC.streetsblog.org, AAA, the folks who have gone on the record “blaming the victims of pedestrian injuries and urging Congress to allocate all Highway Trust Fund monies to highways”, the folks who have been fighting against bike lanes and pedestrian walkways and public transportation, our dear friends at AAA, have been supporting bike endeavors. 

Three years after they encouraged Jerry Brown to Veto California’s 3-foot law, AAA spoke at the National Bike Summit.  Attendees were understandably dumbfounded, but AAA seems, at least in its public approach to cyclists, to have turned down a different road.  AAA brought to the summit a nicely produced PSA about “sharing the road” with cyclists.  The video was produced by the Canadian Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a cycling advocacy organization working towards making communities in Canada more bicycle friendly. 

The League has been trying to find some common ground with AAA for some time, and it seems they’ve made some progress with AAA.  To check out the materials AAA has gathered from the League and Share the Road Cycling Coalition, go to sharetheroad.AAA.com.  What do we at the Better World Club have to say about this?

Kudos. 

Kudos, AAA.  It takes a big “corporate individual” to admit “it” was wrong - even if you’re not admitting it. 

Of course, having AAA spokesperson, John Townsend, refer to a prominent bicycle advocate and blogger in Washington D.C. as a “nerd” maybe is not as big of them.  Perhaps, as Townsend elocuted for the Washington City Paper, such praise as, “I think that he’s[David Alpert] developmentally retarded” because AAA would rather Alpert speak his views behind a microphone rather than online “like the Klan hiding behind the white masks” are words of support.  They certainly seem to be laying a foundation.  We on the playground once called this bullying, but as adults, we call this “out of context.”

Needless to say, many in D.C. are not happy with John Townsend or AAA for their comments, especially in light of their seeming support of bike events and awareness. 

We at BWC take some level of hipster pride when saying cycling concerns weren’t even a crumb on the floor of AAA’s meeting rooms till we showed up on the scene.  We’d love to think our presence, along with even greater pressure on AAA from cycling advocates, customer complaints, and economic pressure, like members quitting/supporting competitors with better business practices (*cough**cough*betterworldclub), helped change the heart of this modern day Goliath (excusing Golith’s spokespeople, of course). 

Is AAA changing?  These things can take time, of course, but if the proof is indeed in the pudding, we’d certainly like to try another flavor. 

Kicking Asphalt

This article is from Better World Club's monthly eNewsletter, Kicking Asphalt. To receive Kicking Asphalt in your inbox, subscribe today!


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