Proposed merger of three major advocacy groups now unlikely

Some months ago there was a lot of talk of three of the major cycling advocacy groups in the United States merging to form a super-group. Now, after months of steady dialogue and face-to-face meetings, the leaders of the Alliance for Biking & Walking, Bikes Belong and League of American Bicyclists have decided not to pursue full unification at this time. The three groups continue to operate independently, in close collaboration, to make bicycling safer and more enjoyable for all Americans.

These unprecedented unification discussions were marked by goodwill and an open exchange of ideas. They helped U.S. bike advocacy leaders agree on a shared vision, goals and strategies that will advance the movement and improve bicycling coast to coast.

The three groups continue to work together and have committed to achieving the following benchmark goals by 2020:

  • The nationwide percentage of trips made by bike will increase to five percent (from one percent in 2012), and the diversity of people on bikes will mirror the diversity of America;
  • Traffic injuries and fatalities (in all modes) will decrease by 50 percent;
  • Half of all Americans will have front-door access to a bicycling network that will take them to destinations within two miles exclusively on low-stress streets, lanes, and trails–protected from high-speed traffic.
  • The League and Alliance are developing plans to help state and local advocates get the most out of MAP-21, the new, two-year federal transportation bill, and will work with Bikes Belong on this, and other projects. Bikes Belong has initiated a strategic discovery process to review its overall goals and to refine its focus, and is engaging the League and Alliance to help shape its future direction.

The leaders of all three groups began the unification discussion fully aware of the challenges of blending unique legal structures, membership bases, project priorities, and headquarters locations. While these talks didn’t produce a merger, the groups will continue to work together to engage, represent and connect the many different elements of the bicycling movement. They will focus on federal, state, and local projects that best improve bike infrastructure and safety in the United States.

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