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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The League, the Alliance, & Bikes Belong Combine

Leadership teams representing the Alliance for Biking & Walking, the League of American Bicyclists and Bikes Belong agreed in principle on February 14, 2012, to recommend the unification of all three organizations to more effectively support and advance bicycling in the United States.

The goal is to speed progress in creating a bicycle-friendly America, where bicycling is a viable transportation- and recreation choice for everyone and more people bike more often. This proposed unification would combine the significant resources of the three groups into one effective, powerful organization with a clear, integrated structure and a single voice.

This agreement must be ratified by the board of directors of each of the three participating organizations. Two key dates on the timeline:

1.    -  Make the decision to proceed (or not) by September 2012.
2.    -  Launch the new organization by January 2013.

An acting board of directors was selected. It includes Noah Budnick, John Burke, Chris Fortune, Leah Shahum, Gail Spann, Hans Van Naerssen.   The acting CEO selected by the board is Tim Blumenthal.

The acting board and acting CEO will work to provide the full boards of the three participating organizations with details that will inform their votes to unify. If and when all three boards ratify the unification decision, this transition team will work in conjunction with legal counsel, staff, and other allies to:

1. Establish and help manage the technical details of the transition to the new group;
2. Register the new organization with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 non-profit organization;
3. Develop articles of incorporation, bylaws, charter, mission statement, long-term goals and the organizational structure of the new organization;
4. Select a CEO;
5. Create a timetable for the launch of the new organization and the plan for communicating the launch and the objectives to all audiences.


1. How will this agreement affect the programs, memberships, partnerships, operations and staffs of the participating organizations?

A: First, the boards of all three organizations must ratify the agreement. Once (and if) that occurs, the acting board and acting CEO will work with a variety of board, staff, partners and advisors to determine the initial programs, membership structure, and staff needs of the new organization. All three organizations have considerable institutional assets and significant track records of success. Changes will be implemented carefully and respectfully over time. All contractual agreements will be honored.

2. What will happen to the League of American Bicyclists, Alliance for Biking and Walking, the Bikes Belong Coalition, and the Bikes Belong Foundation?

A: The goal is to transfer the resources and programs of these organizations to a new, unified organization.

3. What will happen to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership?

A: It will continue to function as it does now. Its staff and steering committee will work closely with the staff, board and supporters of the new organization. The primary change will be a technical one. The Partnership will operate under the 501c3 umbrella of the new organization—a group that is guided by many of the same people and organizations that have worked with the Partnership since its inception.

4. Who participated in the San Diego Unification Meeting?

Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong CEO;
Noah Budnick, Alliance for Biking & Walking Board Chair;
John Burke, Bikes Belong Board Member;
Andy Clarke, League of American Bicyclists President;
Chris Fortune, Bikes Belong Coalition Board Chair;
Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership;
Elizabeth Kiker, League of American Bicyclists VP;
Bruno Maier, Bikes Belong VP;
Mike Mercuri, Bikes Belong Board Member;
Jeff Miller, Alliance for Biking & Walking CEO;
Randy Neufeld, Director of the SRAM Cycling Fund;
Rob Sadowsky, Alliance for Biking & Walking and League of American Bicyclists Board Member;
Leah Shahum, Alliance for Biking & Walking Board Member;
Gail Spann, League of American Bicyclists Board Member;
Hans Van Naerssen, League of American Bicyclists Board Chair.


  1. This is welcome news to me. Now if Rails to Trails and Adventure Cycling would join them I'd have only one set of national dues. The trick would be getting me to write one check equal to the current three. So far I've freeloaded on BWT's membership with the Alliance.

    Seriously, The Alliance for Biking and Walking would not likely have formed but for LAB nearly imploding over the vehicular cycling issue. Sanity has prevailed. That should be a lesson to us to avoid letting a similar difference, and make no mistake, it was a major difference, distract us from our larger goals.

  2. You are probably correct about the motivation for the formation of the Alliance. It is also interesting to follow the comments to this article on the LAB Blog. Some of this sentiment seeps through.