About Us

Please BE KIND to Cyclists is pleased to add to your instructional toolbox, an educational video promoting safety for both motorists and cyclists.

Our Mission

To educate and inspire all road users toward behavioral change and to encourage personal responsibility.

Our Goal: An Educational Video

This educational video was jointly developed by Please BE KIND to Cyclists (Please BE KIND) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to promote safe driving practices by motorists as they share Texas roads with vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Please BE KIND developed the DriveKind RideKind video specifically for:

  • Driver Education Schools
  • Driver education instructors
  • Defensive driving classes
  • Commercial driving schools
  • Law enforcement academies

It is correlated to the Texas Education Agency’s Program of Organized Instruction for Driver Education and Traffic Safety.

Instructors, school owners/administrators, and the general public are welcome and encouraged to request, view, download, and share the DriveKind RideKind video.

dkrk-team

Who We Are

Please BE KIND to Cyclists is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works with cyclists, motorists, policy-makers, and community members to educate, raise awareness, and promote mutual respect between drivers and cyclists on the road, creating healthier and more harmonious communities.

Avid cyclists and founder of Please BE KIND, Al Bastidas, knows first-hand about the need for traffic safety and better motorist/cyclist communication after surviving a near-fatal collision with a vehicle in 2002. His miraculous recovery fueled his passion for helping others, and led to the launch of Please BE KIND in 2006 with the mission of motivating global social change in the behaviors of motorists and cyclists so both use the roads safely and with mutual respect.

Al

Al’s Story

Austinite Alvaro Bastidas believes it’s a beautiful world out there. “I’ve met so many people through this experience and I’ve learned how beautiful people are,” says the 39 year old after his brush with death changed his world on September 14, 2002.

Things didn’t look so beautiful on that day. While cycling on his way to the popular Austin Tri-Cyclist Saturday morning ride, Al’s life was changed in an instant when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction made a left hand turn in front of him. Without time to react, he struck the side of the vehicle with his head, catapulted on top of the roof and then flew 10 feet in the air to finally topple to the asphalt. Al was rushed to the hospital and immediately underwent brain surgery to place tubes in his head to drain fluids around the brain. His head swelled up twice its normal size. While Al remained in a coma for two days, doctors gave him a 50 percent chance to live. His three sisters and mother flew from Florida that day to be at his side. With tubes coming from his mouth, nose, veins, and packed in a bed of ice to keep his 105 degree temperature regulated, Al was a far cry from the fit triathlete who had completed several local triathlons since he started the sport three years ago.

“It’s amazing how when a tragedy like this happens how people come together. In our hearts we all have this love. We just cover it up so much with our daily stuff. What I found out is people are full of love,” says the father of two daughters ages two and six. “Everyday when I wake up I have a smile on my face because I know people love me so much. I could have died.”

For 11 days, Al fought for his life in Intensive Care. According to the doctors, most people would not have made it though the trauma Al suffered. His strength to rebound, says Al, can be attributed to his triathlon and marathon training. “I think that you’re body responds very quickly to get better because of training in the past.”

“If you look at the bad side, it’s been a bad experience. Fortunately for me, it hasn’t been as bad as it could be. Yes, it was almost worth it being hit by a car. It’s beautiful that people can love you so much,” says Al who has rebounded miraculously from two life threatening head injuries, a broken wrist, a cut nerve in his right hand which impaired his thumb and two fingers, a long cut in his left arm, bruised bones in the legs and a knee injury which makes running painful.

During the 11 days in ICU Al started responding, taking in food that was spoon fed by his mother, and stood up with a walker. The damage to the brain was serious however. He lost his memory, his voice, his balance – he was starting over. He moved to a regular hospital room and then finally moved on to Health South rehab where he underwent intensive therapy that makes triathlon training look pale in comparison.

Under the direction of four doctors and a physical therapist, he started his new training regime – a triathlon of life skills. He engaged in cognitive therapy to start to remember things, speech therapy to get his voice back and physical therapy for his legs and hand. Reestablishing his balance has been a big reminder of the things we take for granted.

“It has been an experience which has been a gift and a lesson — when you have to learn how to brush your teeth again and hold your pen. The things you take for granted like your balance are extremely critical.”

While in rehab Al had many visitors like fellow Austin triathlete Keith Ponnan who had met Al at the gym and turned him on to triathlons. Says Ponnan of his visit, “It was tough on my mind to see a fellow athlete like that. I think race car drivers never visit fellow drivers in the hospital for the same reasons.”

Al was lucky that tragic day. When EMT staff found him unconscious and bleeding on the road, he had no ID on him, and no medical alert of his allergy to penicillin. He hadn’t been able to find his wallet before leaving for the ride, so it was by sheer luck that when his wife Pat went out for a run 20 minutes after he had left, she came upon the scene and noticed the bike crushed on the ground looked like her husband’s. Police waived her on, but then she saw Al’s ripped jersey on the side of the road and decided to turn around. They opened the ambulance and Pat was able to identify her husband in time before he was rushed to the hospital. “If it wasn’t for her, I could have been much worse if I suffered from an allergic reaction,” reflects Al.

Since the accident Pat left her job as an accountant to be there for Al and to manage the family, the medical bills and insurance and the lawyers. “My wife is very supportive. She handles the shopping and taking the kids to school. That part hasn’t been easy. If it wasn’t for my wife and the rest of my family, I’d still be in a wheelchair.”

DriveKind RideKind Video

Please BE KIND to Cyclists is pleased to add to your instructional toolbox, an educational video promoting safety for both motorists and cyclists.

This video, titled DriveKind RideKind, was jointly developed by Please BE KIND to Cyclists and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to promote safe driving practices by motorists as they share Texas roads with vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

Please BE KIND to Cyclists developed the DriveKind RideKind video under a TxDOT grant, specifically for: driver education instruction and schools, defensive driving classes, commercial driving schools, law enforcement academies in Texas, as well as the general public.

The DriveKind RideKind video is correlated to the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Program of Organized Instruction for Driver Education and Traffic Safety.

Instructors, school owners, administrators and the general public are welcome and encouraged to view, download and share the DriveKind RideKind video at no cost.

The Problem

The cycling population is exploding in Texas, and that is because Texas is growing fast. In May 2014, an article in Bloomberg News stated that seven of the fastest growing cities in the United States are in Texas. According to Census data, around 1,000 people move to the Lone Star State per day.

Which means of course, that Texas roadways are getting crowded, and more dangerous. Especially so, for vulnerable road users such as bicyclists. And unfortunately, Texas crash statistics reflect it.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that 726 bicyclists were killed and 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle-related accidents in the United States in 2012. That makes up 2.2% of all motor vehicle-related deaths in the nation; and of that percentage, the state of Texas is only 3rd behind California and Florida with 56 bicyclists killed by a motor vehicle.

In 2012, The League of American Bicyclists ranked Austin 18th in the country for pedestrian danger.

about

The population surge isn’t the only reason we’re seeing more bikes on the roads. Other contributors include:

  • Economy – The cost of oil and gas is rising. The average cost of operating a bicycle is $308 per year as opposed to $8,220 for operating a car
  • Health care costs – Obesity is at epidemic levels in the US and there is a high price to pay for inactivity. More people are turning to bicycling for exercise.
  • Tourism boom – there is money to be made from the bicycle industry and tourism. Having a vibrant cycling community, trails, scenery and facilities can be a big draw and financial boon for cities.

All of these factors are converging. While infrastructure scrambles to keep up, and we are sure that it will eventually, the reality is most destinations are currently only accessible by roadways without vulnerable road user infrastructure.

Always practice safe driving and cycling to avoid crashes, serious injuries, and deaths while we share the roads. Both motorists and vulnerable road users must stay alert and eliminate deadly distractions – put your cell phone down so you can drive aware, focused, and safe.  Far too many crashes occur as drivers run into the back of a bicyclist while texting or distracted!

The shape of a cyclist is much smaller than that of a car – from the side, front or back.  Therefore, a motorist’s brain must be trained to identify cyclists on the roadway.  Motorists must also practice safe passing, yield right of way when turning, and maintain a safe following distance behind cyclists in the lane. Every time a person drives a vehicle or or rides a bike, they are taking personal responsibility for themselves and others. Taking personal responsibility means eliminating distractions, staying focused and present, being respectful of other road users, and following the rules of the road, so everyone, including yourself, is safe.

What motorists and cyclists have in common is that we ALL want to get home safely. By working together, Driving Kind and Riding Kind, we will.

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