Alliance, League, Bikes Belong Unifying into One Organization

The Alliance for Biking & Walking, the League of American Bicyclists and Bikes Belong are joining forces to create a unified organization.

“This is about having a bigger and better impact in our communities across America,” said Alliance president and CEO Jeffrey Miller in a telephone interview yesterday. “This is an incredible opportunity to transform this nation into a more bicycle-friendly nation by having us all work together as one team to improve cycling for everyone.”

The decision to move forward in principle with the unification was approved by 15 representatives from the League, Bikes Belong, the Alliance and related programs during a meeting in San Diego on February 14 of this year in San Diego, CA.

Since then, Miller said talks have been ongoing between the three organizations about pooling their resources and creating one organization that can meet the growing needs of cycling advocacy in the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico, to an extent.

“The unification is about three organizations moving together from a position of strength,” Miller added. “We’ve all grown over the years. We’ve all been doing more and better. It’s about how we can do even more and get these individual pieces working together much better.”

Some of those pieces include services at the state and local levels, something that Miller said he believes will be a significant part of the mission of the new organization, which has yet to be named.

“The Alliance has always worked closely with the League and people have probably often wondered: ‘Well, who does what?’” Miller said.

With the unified organization, access to a variety of resources, many of which were formerly offered by the three organizations, would be possible through one organizational channel. Services, such as the Alliance’s annual Benchmarking report and the federal government lobbying campaigns championed by the League and Bikes Belong, as well as funding and state and community program assistance, would, thus, continue to be offered through the new organization.

Resources and programs, such as the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, would also continue to operate under the new organization, according to a release.

The name and launch date of the unified organization has yet to be determined, but Miller said they are working through the details and hope to have something workable up and running by the end of this year or in January 2013. The position of acting CEO has been assigned to present Bikes Belong CEO Tim Blumenthal.

Miller said the unification is not about cutting costs and should not result in the loss of staff.

“There are a lot of details and work ahead,” Miller said in an email release, “but we are excited to combine the diverse strengths of our powerful coalition of state and local organizations with the storied national user groups, and a vibrant industry association, in a way that preserves their unique attributes and realizes the game-changing potential of a single organization.”

Originally published on momentummag.com.

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