Last week cycling and advocacy organisations from across Australia united in a national call to action focusing on rider awareness, safe passing, and respect on our roads.
At the heart of the united front lies driver education, which is believed to be the key to cyclist safety.
In a presentation at the 2018 Australasian Road Safety Conference the Amy Gillett foundation shared the work they were doing to improve cycling safety and We Ride Australia shared a video interview with the UK’s West Midlands Police about their successful safe passing campaign that reduced cyclist death and injury by 20%. This campaign, focused on driver education, has now been adopted by over half of all UK County Police forces.
Locally in the Bass Coast and South Gippsland area, a charity cycling event too has been raising the bar when it comes to driver education around road safety.
Fort the past seven years the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge & Family Festival (Saturday 10 November 2018 in Inverloch), has enabled over 2000 local school students (from eight local secondary schools in Wonthaggi, Phillip Island, Korumburra, Leongatha, Foster and Mirboo North) to undertake vital road safety education courses, which work towards saving lives on our roads.
The charity cycling event attracts hundreds of participants who come from all over Australia to take part in one of five rides (121km, 85km, 53km, 40km, 14km family ride). While riders get to experience one of the most scenic rides in Victoria, the broader benefits of the event are far reaching, arming the next generation with life-saving road safety knowledge.
“We support a diverse range of programs in every secondary school in the region, which provides the best opportunity to promote safer driving and hopefully reduce the road toll.” Said Gavin Slavin, co-event director.
“Funds raised through the Bass Coast Cycle Challenge & Family Festival support students from grades 10, 11 and 12 to take part in ‘Keys Please Vic Roads education program’ (year 10), the RYDA program (year 11) and Vic roads MukUpday program (year 12).
“We also support the L2P program which moves the education from the class room environment to the open road. It not only supports first time drivers through their first 120 hours of driving with a qualified mentor or parent until they are ready to sit their P plate license, but also educates parents / carers to become driving education mentors.
“These programs are an important step for the Bass Coast and South Gippsland regions, which can now boast to have dedicated education programs which support not only our children over three years but also educates parents … all aimed at reducing the road toll.”
The Bass Coast Cycle Challenge & Family Festival will be held on Saturday 10 November 2018. Enter online at www.basscoastcyclechallenge.com