Saturday, October 4

Policy the Bike League Needs

Today's Search on the Bike League Blog for Cherokee Schill
For those of you that have followed this blog since, well, since almost its very beginning, you'll recall that occasionally cyclists get on the wrong side of the law even though they are riding in accord with the law and in accord with safe practices. Chipseal was a fairly dramatic case. I was a bit more fortunate in my own minor incident. Still, it happens a lot. Blackhawk, CO tried to ban bikes. Now, Cherokee Schill is being prosecuted in Kentucky. Unlike Chip, Cherokee has made a lot of videos along the way, and rather than provide my opinion that she's really not doing anything particularly dangerous, I suggest that those interested watch a few.

THIS post is only tangentially about any of these cases. The Bike League elected NOT to get involved in the Chipseal case and has been criticized for that. Any Clarke stated that Chip was "not sympathetic" or words to that effect. Bike Texas also declined any involvement. So far, as seen in the photo at the top, there's not been much from the Bike League about Cherokee, though top notch bike lawyer Steve Magas has been involved.

Clearly, it is well beyond the resources of the Bike League to participate in all or even many cases involving cyclists. HOWEVER, I think a formal policy and process would be something that would be wise. Deciding to either get involved or NOT based on personal judgments of League management strikes me as dicey. I imagine there are some good lawyers that the League could consult, and a solid basis could be put together for actions ranging from ignoring something all the way up to helping fund an action. Such a policy should be made public, and probably posted on the League website. People wishing to contribute to a League legal defense fund might then also have a route to do so, though it probably would NOT be tax deductible. I expect that expenditure of significant league funds on legal actions would require some sort of board action or membership petition and would not be very common. However, for the league to be silent, I think they should reread Martin Niemöller and make a public policy:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.


Khal said...

I think Steve Magas is on the League's list of lawyer consultants, but not positive of that. I've been pushing on Andy and the Board on the Defense Fund for a while. I thought the League actually had started one, for issues such as this.

Steve A said...

To paraphrase Andy, the League needs an organized approach to pick its battles. We in the Jaguar Club found we needed formal policies to avoid arbitrary actions.

Chandra said...

I would like to add that knowing League's stand on issues like this, especially if it is published as policy, might convince some not to be members of the League.
That said, I am for sensible driving of bicycles - these days.

Thought provoking post, Steve!

Peace :)

Khal said...

One would have to study how the NRA, ACLU, FIRE, and other organizations pick their legal battles in order to judge if LAB is doing a good job. Resources are finite, and it seems these days that folly is infinite.

RANTWICK said...

You are, I think, a very sensible person, and this an excellent and sensible suggestion.

Khal said...

By the way, those last four lines are attributed to a poem by Rev. Martin Niemoller, a Protestant theologian and Lutheran pastor. The lines refer to the ever widening roundup of dissidents and undesirables in Nazi Germany. Niemoller himself survived a long stint in Dachau. Indeed, if you ignore the plight of the least of these, fate will eventually catch up with thee....

Unknown said...

It's not just that the League has failed to support (or even acknowledge) attacks on cyclists' right to the road; the League consistently refused to even acknowledge that the right to the road is an issue. Your point that the name Cherokee Schill doesn't appear anywhere on the League's website is right on point. When my right to the road was attacked, they wouldn't even return my calls.

Steve A said...

"Unknown," I can't say I disagree with anything in your comments. I can't comment on the League's record on your calls since I don't have a complete timeline or who got called. Certainly, the right to the road seems to matter little in the League's "bicycle friendly" ratings.

Steve A said...

Also to "Unknown," I apologize for the delay in posting your comment. For some reason, a "need to moderate" didn't get sent to me, so it took a few days before I looked at Blogger to see what was new.

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