Al Bastidas stepping down as director of Please Be Kind to Cyclists

Al Bastidas places a sign encouraging awareness of cyclists' safety in this file photo by Bret Gerbe for the American-Statesman.

Al Bastidas places a sign encouraging awareness of cyclists’ safety in this file photo by Bret Gerbe for the American-Statesman.

After nearly 10 years of encouraging motorists and cyclists to safely co-exist on Austin area roads, Alvaro Bastidas is stepping down from his role as executive director of Please Be Kind to Cyclists.

City officials will present him with a Distinguished Service Award at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers at Austin City Hall, 301 West Second Street.

Al Bastidas is stepping down as executive director of Please Be Kind to Cyclists. He'll be honored for his work Thursday at City Hall.  File photo by Ashley Landis for the Austin American-Statesman

Al Bastidas is stepping down as executive director of Please Be Kind to Cyclists. He’ll be honored for his work Thursday at City Hall. File photo by Ashley Landis for the Austin American-Statesman

Bastidas, who was injured in a cycling crash in 2002, along his wife Patricia, and Scot Simmons, whose sister died when a vehicle struck her while she was cycling, started the non-profit organization in 2006. Since then, they’ve worked to raise awareness, provide educational materials and encourage harmony among all road users.

The group created an educational video in collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation which is now used in driver education and defensive driving classes around the state. It also launched a tragedy assistance program to help families of cyclists affected by crashes. Its Cyclists VIP program reminds cyclists to stay “visible, in the moment and predictable.”

Please Be Kind spearheaded a “Rally for Safe Roads” bus wrap campaign that featured buses bearing messages reminding motorists to give bicyclists at least a 3-foot berth when they pass, and noting that it’s against the law to use hand-held devices while driving or biking.

The organization also distributed more than 25,000 of it’s popular Please Be Kind to Cyclists bumper stickers, which can be spotted on cars all over the United States.

Please Be Kind to Cyclists hired its first paid executive director, Gonzalo A. Ponce, last year. This year, the organization will formulate a strategic plan.

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