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Old 08-10-07, 11:26 AM   #1
zpl
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Is Triple-A (AAA) anti-cyclist?

I came across this organization recently, the Better World Club. They seem to offer a roadside assistance plan to compete with AAA. They also point out a number of things AAA has done that are anti-environmental and anti-cyclist (opposing rails to trails programs?).

http://www.betterworldclub.com/competition/aaa.htm

I was just wondering if anyone can support or dispute the claims made by BWC. I'm currently a AAA member and am considering switching to these folks when my membership runs out later this year.

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Old 08-10-07, 12:16 PM   #2
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They are very pro-motorist. That pro-motorist attitude may at times put them in conflict with cyclists best interests.
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Old 08-10-07, 12:19 PM   #3
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Can't understand them being against rails-to-trails, doesn't seem like it would have much to do with cars...?
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Old 08-10-07, 12:20 PM   #4
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Recently, a AAA agent set up a booth at my job and sold contracts at a discount.

On the booth, they had a bicycle users guide.

I asked the agent if AAA covered bicycles and she said they cover " all vehicles " except for Recreational Vehicles (which requires an additional fee on top of the base fee and this is essentially for motorcycles).

So if I get a flat, they should come out and help me swap the tube and fill up the tire for me ... lol
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Old 08-10-07, 01:23 PM   #5
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They are very pro-motorist. That pro-motorist attitude may at times put them in conflict with cyclists best interests.
I have been an ACSC (AAA's Southern California division, where it all started) member for more than 30 years because they offer what the best automobile, homeowner, and liability insurance packages available. I have occasionally crossed verbal swords with the administration, such as when they opposed a piece of legislation which would have helped to clarify bicyclists' rights to use the road. I would far rather be a dues-paying, voting, dissident member of an organization than an outsider-complainer. (As a political centrist, I find that neither major political party speaks for me, but I have always registered with one of the majors to avoid being disenfranchised in the primary elections.)

Do I consider the AAA anti-bicycing? No. Do certain members of the AAA's management team need an education regarding bicyclists' rights and responsibilities and positive contributions to our society? Absolutely yes!
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Old 08-10-07, 02:43 PM   #6
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I asked the agent if AAA covered bicycles and she said they cover " all vehicles " except for Recreational Vehicles (which requires an additional fee on top of the base fee and this is essentially for motorcycles).
That seems pretty vague. Most non-cycling Americans would classify bicycles as recreational vehicles. Especially if even motorcycles are so classified, which kind of surprises me.

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So if I get a flat, they should come out and help me swap the tube and fill up the tire for me ... lol
That sounds like the case to me. Let us know how that works out!
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Old 08-10-07, 03:18 PM   #7
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AAA does NOT in fact offer bike services, despite whatever a salesperson might have said; call the service number and ask for service, and you'll learn that really quickly. They also lobby hard against improved fuel-efficiency standards, tighter highway regulations, rails-to-trails, speed limits, etc. I was a member for YEARS, but no longer am, after having read several articles and position papers and looking into their lobbying activities...

Not a member of BWC, either, but I might well join up!
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Old 08-10-07, 04:31 PM   #8
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I contacted AAA and they don't offer bicycle assistance.

The carbon-offset thing always struck me a bogus, so I don't really want to buy into it:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/48e334ce-f35...b5df10621.html

Other than that complaint, BWC seems like a bike-friendly service.
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Old 08-10-07, 05:01 PM   #9
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the AAA fights very hard at the national, state and local levels to make sure that all gas tax revenues go to facilities for cars, trucks and other motor vehicles, and that no part of the gas tax revenues go to transit, bike or ped facilities (even though many transit, bike and ped facilities also indirectly benefit motorists).
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Old 08-10-07, 05:18 PM   #10
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the AAA fights very hard at the national, state and local levels to make sure that all gas tax revenues go to facilities for cars, trucks and other motor vehicles, and that no part of the gas tax revenues go to transit, bike or ped facilities (even though many transit, bike and ped facilities also indirectly benefit motorists).
I'd say bikes benefit cars directly. Nothing frees up the roads for driving like reducing the number of cars. Can't say I've ever seen a situation where only 3 bikes could get through on a light cycle during rush hour. Less than 2 cars on a light cycle is commonplace.
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Old 08-10-07, 05:21 PM   #11
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I'd say bikes benefit cars directly. Nothing frees up the roads for driving like reducing the number of cars. Can't say I've ever seen a situation where only 3 bikes could get through on a light cycle during rush hour. Less than 2 cars on a light cycle is commonplace.
Yeah but logic to these folks who only think "zoom zoom" is asking a bit much.

"I gotta wait for those darn law breaking bikers." is pretty much the prevailing mentality.
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Old 08-10-07, 06:00 PM   #12
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AAA was one of the groups that opposed California’s bike safety bill. I saved excerpts here: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/artic...5695&query=AAA
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Old 08-10-07, 10:16 PM   #13
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The Canadian equivalent, the CAA, recently had a dramatic turnaround, and their new policy endorses all automotive alternatives to ease gridlock.

This was a welcome departure from their previous policy, which included lobbying to fill in Lake Ontario to build another freeway (seriously).
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Old 08-11-07, 02:37 AM   #14
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I don't think they're particularly anti-bicycle as much as they are pro-car.

Like me, I'm not particularly anti-car as much as I am pro-bike.
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Old 08-11-07, 02:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec View Post
They are very pro-motorist. That pro-motorist attitude may at times put them in conflict with cyclists best interests.
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I don't think they're particularly anti-bicycle as much as they are pro-car.

Like me, I'm not particularly anti-car as much as I am pro-bike.
+1. I won't join AAA partly for these reasons (also, their roadside coverage is a ripoff), but advocating your interests is as American as apple pie. We shouldn't be offended that motorists lobby for motorists' interests. We should respond by lobbying for our own.
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Old 08-11-07, 05:48 AM   #16
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Does it come as a to a shock to anyone here that the American Automobile Association doesn't put cyclists' needs at the top of their agenda?
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Old 08-11-07, 06:35 AM   #17
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Does it come as a to a shock to anyone here that the American Automobile Association doesn't put cyclists' needs at the top of their agenda?
I was wondering when someone would point this out. AAA was organized by motorists to support and promote the use of motor vehicles. Why would we even expect them provide service to a non-motor vehicle? They would probably not send a tow truck out to help you if you lost a sole on one of your shoes while hiking along the side of the road, either.

Looking to the AAA for cycling support is a little like looking to the NFL for support of your local peewee soccer team. Related, yes, but, no direct connection.

Caruso
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Old 08-11-07, 09:07 AM   #18
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I think he meant motorcycles like dirt bikes... Or Quads.
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Old 08-11-07, 11:16 AM   #19
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I was wondering when someone would point this out. AAA was organized by motorists to support and promote the use of motor vehicles. Why would we even expect them provide service to a non-motor vehicle? They would probably not send a tow truck out to help you if you lost a sole on one of your shoes while hiking along the side of the road, either.

Looking to the AAA for cycling support is a little like looking to the NFL for support of your local peewee soccer team. Related, yes, but, no direct connection.

Caruso

Theres a diff between not offering support to a cyclist on the side of the road and trying to stop laws being passed that help cyclists or a letter writing campaign to try and cut funding or prevent funding for making road ways safer or creating more mups etc.
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Old 08-11-07, 02:02 PM   #20
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Which laws, which letters.
None of it surprising, really. The AAA was not chartered with us cyclists in mind, so, I am not surprised.

Caruso

Last edited by Carusoswi; 08-11-07 at 08:58 PM. Reason: correct typo
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Old 08-11-07, 04:27 PM   #21
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Which laws, which letters.
None of it surprising, really. The AAA was not charted with us cyclists in mind, so, I am not surprised.

Caruso
Exactly. If someone were to research those claims further, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out the the "anti-rails-to-trails" campaign involved a stretch of rail that they wanted converted into a road (y'know, for cars). Remember, there are two sides to every story, and of course the Better World Club is going to try to paint their competition in the worst possible light. I'm not defending AAA, I'm just sayin'...
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Old 08-11-07, 09:02 PM   #22
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I heard on the news this morning someone complaining that if less money were spent on building bike paths and more on inspecting/repairing bridges, the Minneapolis collapse might have been avoided. Now, that had nothing to do with AAA, but it is a very disappointing to see that sort of association being put forth.

Caruso
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Old 08-11-07, 09:29 PM   #23
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if less money was spent on the war in Iraq is probably a much better comparison
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Old 08-11-07, 09:46 PM   #24
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I heard on the news this morning someone complaining that if less money were spent on building bike paths and more on inspecting/repairing bridges, the Minneapolis collapse might have been avoided. Now, that had nothing to do with AAA, but it is a very disappointing to see that sort of association being put forth.

Caruso
If more people carpooled, rode bikes, walked and took mass transit, our bridges and other infrastructure would be in better shape and wouldn't need so many repairs. For that matter, if more people drove cars instead of SUVs our bridges and roads would be in better shape.
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Old 08-11-07, 09:48 PM   #25
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AAA supports wide shoulders on state roads. which, if reading between the lines of the dodging about shoulder riding going on by john forester in the VC subforum, supports bicycling on roads quite vehicularily.

I'm of the opinion AAA supports some of my interests as a bicyclist- taking state roads with substandard shoulders and improving them, which indirectly improves bicycling safety.
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