AAA Releases Bike Safety PSA at Bike Summit


Why would a representative from AAA be the keynote speaker at the National Bike Summit?

“It may seem surprising,” admitted Bike League President Andy Clarke.  And even AAA PR Director Yolanda Cade acknowledged that the 750 bicyclists in the room may be asking themselves, “‘Why is AAA here today?'” After all, she said, “We do have ‘Automobile’ as our middle name.”

AAA and the Bike League have been working to find common ground, and offered this video as an indication that they found some.

Still, this is the same AAA whose chapters have gone on record opposing congestion pricing, blaming the victims for pedestrian injuries, and urging Congress to dedicate all Highway Trust Fund monies to highways.

Time will tell if the new alliance with the Bike League is just a PR move, or if it reflects a shift in AAA’s attitudes toward bike/ped policy.

  • Anonymous

    Video is kind of weak. Doesn’t give any specific advice, like a 3 foot passing distance or not attempting right hook turns.

  • JK

    Along with fighting tooth and nail against congestion pricing, in NY State,  AAA has stopped NYC from getting speed enforcement cameras and made it as hard as possible to get red light cameras, fought against the NYS law legalizing slow speed traffic calming designs, fought against laws that hold dangerous drivers more accountable, and generally can be counted on to fight most road designs that help cyclists and pedestrians. About the only street safety issue they’ve been good on is graduated licensing restriction on young drivers.

  • Jonathan Krall

    AAA is pushing helmets because studies show that helmet laws reduce cycling (in many states, helmets are mandated for children). And they’re showing a child riding in the street… er… to show how safe cycling is! Yes, that must be it.

    I left AAA because my local chapter is relentlessly pro-car and anti everything else, including actual safety in the form of speed camera ans red-light cameras. I wish LAB would spend their time and energy elsewhere.

  • I could never trust any company involved with the automobile. That would be akin to taking drug rehab classes from your dealer. There is a slight conflict of interest there.

  • grrlyrida

    I left AAA because they fought against the 3 foot rule–and won. 

    This is another reason I don’t belong to LAB. They don’t appear to be significant for bicyclists in California.

  • Stephen Bauman

    The Automobile Club of New York, the AAA’s NYC branch, fought tooth and nail against getting a bike lane on the Queensboro Bridge.

    Is history repeating itself. The original 19th century LAW morphed into the Good Roads Association, which morphed into the AAA. Perhaps, the current LAB is considering a similar metamorphosis?

  • Benjamin Alexander

    The fact that a video acknowledging that cyclists are people is perceived as some groundbreaking shift in attitude by the AAA says quite a bit. At worst, a cynical ploy to get us off their backs, at best a teensy foray into what some refer to as “reality”. 

  • Although I am no fan of the AAA, I will admit this video is far better then I expected when I clicked on it.  If it plays enough, regardless of policies that AAA engages in, it might make some drivers look differently at cyclists which is a win for me.

  • twk

    I left Mid-Atlantic AAA long ago due to the likes of Lon Anderson and their car domination over everything else, including safety, and long before the “war on cars” (and who is doing the dying?).  AAA has a long track record of reconfirming my decision to “fire” them (as recently as last month!).  It will take a LOT more than this to convince me there has been a change of heart.

  • Just thought that it was worth noting that the PSA was first posted last year (and presumably written and made) by the CAA, the AAA’s unaffiliated Canadian counterpart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JQbuFRZzoI and Ontario’s provincial Bike League counterpart. Good video, but it seems like any credit for the goodness of the content should flow northward

  • Ubringliten

    The video just reaffirms that drivers see cyclists as a different species.  We all know everybody has relatives.  If the cyclist is a man in his mid-30’s to 40s, then he must be a dad, etc.  Pretty weak video I say.

  • Will we actually see this video running on local TV channels?  I do like it no matter the source but it won’t do much good if its only on Vemio. 

  • Jeff

    Far be it from me to defend AAA, but this is another example of people being “sore winners.” The local chapters clearly have a lot of work to do, and hopefully the change in attitude from the national office will help make that happen. Kudos to the League for getting them to take this important first step

  • This video would have been much better if it didn’t primarily model far-right, edge cycling behavior.  Also, in her talk at the National Bike Summit, Yolanda Cade advocated mandatory bicycle helmet laws for adult bicyclists. 

    The League should ask AAA to make bicyclist control of typical travel lanes acceptable to the motoring public and to abandon its advocacy of mandatory helmet laws.  Are you listening, Andy Clarke?

  • Erik Griswold

    See the diamonds in those bike lanes?  That’s the Canadian lane marking standard. This PSA was, as Darren Buck points out, filmed in Canada by their CAA

    C’mon AAA, can’t you use American film producers?  Why are you sending your members fees to a foreign country (supporting their socializmust death panels) and promoting yet more runaway production from God’s own Hollywood, where it belongs?  

  • reality check

    Good commercial. If you complain about this, I’m not sure what will make you happy.

    I definitely do not support mandatory helmet laws though and think AAA could spend their energy on something more productive, such as efforts that will prevent a crash in the first place: better bicycle facilities, lower roadway speeds, the promotion of halfway serious standards for obtaining a license, and efforts to teach people how to ride predictably, safely, and visibly.

  • Interesting to see that the “cyclist” hasn’t the faintest clue how to teach his kid how to ride, as can be seen by the stabilisers on his young kid’s bike!  C’mon, we all know “pedals off”  “seat down”, have the learner scoot the bike around until they get the balance, then “pedals on” and gradually bring the seat back up!  C’mon, it’s not bloody rocket science!

  • khalil

    Perhaps that works better, Wil, but many of us, me included, learned with training wheels. Mine came off pretty fast, though.

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