The press release came from the Mid-Atlantic chapter of AAA, but there followed a long discussion about working with AAA on various projects, whether a boycott of AAA was warranted. and the coordination between the regional chapters and the national office. [If you want to go to the AAA Mid-Atlantic web site, say to comment, you may need to enter a ZIP code for the Mid-Atlantic area. One for the DC area is 20006, or use any ZIP from DE, MD, DC, VA, NJ, or PA.]
Since you may not be able to easily get into the web site, I will paste it below, so you can read it:
REMOVAL OF TRAFFIC LANES ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE FOR BIKE LANES DRAWS IRE OF MOTORISTS
Several members of the national listserv suggested a boycott of AAA. Others mentioned that AAA in their area had funded helmet give-aways, kids bike classes, and share-the-road messages. There was a bit of back and forth about whether the national office could or should be held responsible for the actions and press releases of the regional offices. There was also discussion of the survey itself, and how AAA appeared to play with the numbers: The commuter percentages add up to 114.3%; 20% of AAA members said the new bike lanes would entice them to bike to work; even people that might not use the lanes to bike to work might use them for other trips; etc.
Finally, as people debated whether they should boycott their local AAA because of the action of another regionals office, I felt I had to weigh in on why I do not have a AAA membership:
OK, wading in again, here's why I dropped AAA years ago, and why I will not become a member again.
Regardless of what my local chapter or office says, when I sign up as a AAA member, some of that money goes to the national organization. The national office lobbies, and often not in ways that we would like.
It's all fine and good to have share-the-road messages, or give away helmets, or even sponsor LAB classes, but when it comes down to changing the federal/state/local transportation policy, to favor a more balanced transportation system, don't get in their way. Less money for roads and more for transit, walking, and biking? Are you nuts!?
They will play nice if they can get away with sweet (and inexpensive)messages and campaigns, but they will support driving every time, and that means more and bigger roads. Everything else comes second (or third, fourth, or last.)
There is only so much money to go around, and likely less every day. Those few cents we want for better biking? They want those too. Buses and trains? No way, we can't afford those! Pedestrian safety money and complete streets? Only after the big highways get theirs, we'll see if there's any money left over.
When we walk in the door of our state legislature, asking for a change in transportation funding and priorities, or when we ask for a more rational TEA legislation next spring, we better remember who is coming in behind us with buckets of cash. I do not want my money or my name (as a member), used to undo the hard work we have done.
So, no AAA for me, thank you very much. I don't feel like putting any more cash or credibility in their hands.For those who want the benefits of AAA - roadside assistance, discounts, etc - you can join Better World Club. They will even pick up if your bike gets a flat tire!