Reimagining "Share The Road" - Without Bike Florida, Inc.
Because No Government Agency Exists Exclusively to Monitor Non-Profits...
Bike Florida, Inc. ("BFI") (BikeFlorida.org ) is a non-profit and (current) main income recipient of "Share The Road" (up to 62.5%). Each year, BFI puts on a week-long tour (its "main fundraiser") along with 3 or 4 small, bargain-priced "luxury" tours. In reality, BFI's "fundraisers" raise less than $0 net. BFI's cut-rate bike tourism business is made possible by "Share The Road" grants given for the mission below. Note that "tourism" is not mentioned once in the mission.
“The annual use fees shall be distributed to Bike Florida, Inc., up to 25 percent of which shall be used for marketing and promotion of the “Share the Road” concept and license plate. The remaining funds shall be divided equally between Bike Florida, Inc. and the Florida Bicycle Association, Inc., to be used for…“
Note in the mission above how BFI receives extra funding (“up to 25 percent”) for “marketing and promotion of the “Share the Road” concept and license plate.” Now see what BFI called its "main fundraiser" (annually raising less than $0 net):
Another example: BFI's "Spring to Spring" bike tour in May, 2019 - "Ride the Trails in Ocala National Forest." Ask yourself; is this legitimately the STR mission as written?
During a 2017 interview, in a moment of candor BFI's executive director states; "we try to make our events and tours as inexpensive as possible. You wouldn't think, for example, that a luxury tour at $2,500 dollars is expensive, but if you look at similar touring companies, they're more like $3,500, $5,000, So as a non-profit, we do whatever we can to minimize the expense for the participant." BFI is far less candid in other communications (Exhibit B).
The law of unfair competition will not penalize a business merely for being successful. Nor will the law impose liability simply because a business is aggressively marketing. The law assumes, however, that for every dollar earned by one business, a dollar will be lost by a competitor. Accordingly, the law prohibits a business from unfairly profiting at a competitor's expense. For what public purpose is BFI competing with the free market, and most important, how does it serve the "Share The Road" mission (above)?
More from BFI's executive director during the same 2017 interview: ".... but really the tag is the thing that enables us to be able to put on these tours at such a low cost."
BFI started in 1994 as a local bike club with a fundraiser for road biking awareness at a time when the sport was in its infancy in Florida. Today, BFI tours are not fundraisers (IRS Forms 990, see for yourself) and BFI exists almost entirely on government grants. For what public purpose?
In conclusion, BFI's mission is "bike tourism," but "bike safety" pays the bills, including some nice salaries it seems. Here's a summary of the numbers:
|Bike Florida, Inc. per IRS Forms 990 (see for yourself)||Year 2015||Year 2016||Year 2017|
|Fundraising Programs, dues, fundraising events, campaigns, etc. (Part VIII, lines 1a,b,c,d)||all lines blank||all lines blank||all lines blank|
|All Other Contributions, misc. not included above||$1,333||$12,830||$10,176|
|All Government Grant Revenue (mostly from STR)||$138,989||$130,968||$128,951|
|Revenue (including Government Grants) less Expenses (Part I, line 19)||net operating loss||net operating loss||net operating loss|
|BFI Salaries, Compensation, Employee Benefits, Part 1, line 15||$133,302||$122,312||$83,098|
A Good Question: how is it possible for a non-profit to operate in such a non-traditional manner for so long? For some answers, see Exhibit B.
The Florida Senate, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, and the FL Department of State will have no choice but to act.
Send your thoughts to contacts near bottom of home page.
Questions and comments are invited: mail@MyBikeSafetyMission.com
Florida Bicycle Clubs By Region FL has many bike clubs.
Florida Freewheelers (Central Florida) One FL bike club arguably creates more "biking awareness" in one week than BFI creates in one year.
Bike Shops in S.E. Florida Just a sample of bike shops creating awareness in Florida today.
Legal Dictionary, "Unfair Trade Practices"