November Events Gear Up to Educate Cyclists and Drivers

By Leah – November 4, 2011

On November 12, former Austin mayor Bruce Todd hosts the Please Be Kind to Cyclists gala event at Pure Austin (907 W. 5th Street) with music, entertainment, and a silent auction. The non-profit, dedicated to promoting safe cycling, has a host of programs designed to educate riders (and drivers) about bike safety and developing a healthier community. Funds raised from the gala will support their projects.Please Be Kind to Cyclists just launched the new Cyclist VIP program through The University of Texas in October; “VIP” stands for “Visible/ In the Moment /Predictable,” a mnemonic encouraging riders to wear visible clothing, use common sense to be aware of and deal with surroundings, and to follow the rules of the road while riding defensively. Cyclist VIP is implemented by UT’s Transportation Services and the Orange Bike Project, which provides students and the campus community with used bikes, tools, and shop space needed for repairs and bike building. It’s possible to check out a bike to use for the entire semester!Be Kind to Cyclists provides medical support and assistance, along with travel expenses, for cyclists who are victims of accidents. You can read about the organization and its founder, Alvaro Bastidas, a local cyclist who survived a horrific accident, at www.bekindtocyclists.com.

Please Be Kind to Cyclists is the beneficiary of another fundraiser, called Safe Lanes. Safe Lanes, dedicated to promoting bicycle awareness and safety, is targeting a goal of raising $50,000 through donations. Safe Lanes wants to help Please Be Kind to Cyclists and another non-profit, Bike Texas, by using the funds to support their educational and advocacy efforts. Bike Texas recently helped to put on the International Bike and Walk to School Day on October 5 in Austin. Students at Wooldridge Elementary School, one of six Austin-area targeted schools in 2011-2012, walked and rode to school from Principe de Paz Church located nearby. The event was one part of Austin’s branch of the Safe Routes to School national program. Every year, new schools are chosen to receive federal grant money to help students get safely to and from school, either on foot or by bike. Safe Lanes is the effort of Austin-based Bazaarvoice, Inc., which, along with Coca Cola, supports Please Be Kind to Cyclists. Coca Cola, Be Kind’s newest and largest supporter, will be presenting a check to Be Kind at the gala on November 12.

The City of Austin is doing its share to encourage cycling and safe travel for residents. Along with promoting Safe Routes to School the City of Austin is working to improve bike travel throughout town.

“The City’s bicycle program continues to improve the bicycle network around Austin, increasing the options for all levels of cyclists,” says Annick Beaudet, who oversees the City’s Bicycle Program in the Public Works Department. “We recently installed a separated bike path along the north side of Lake Austin Boulevard, and improved bike lanes on the south side. In addition, we’re reconfiguring Cameron Road to include bike lanes on either side.”

For information on the Safe Routes to School program, seewww.cityofaustin.org/health/saferoutes/default.htm, Austin’s iWALK iBIKE website, full of tips and suggestions for parents, schools, and kids. To see a map of bike routes around the city for commuting or exercise,www.ci.austin.tx.us/publicworks/bicycle.htm.

 
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