Stopping for safety

There was only one thing stopping the children at the road safety centre on Monday and that was a red light. 

Through the Kidtober initiative, the centre was open to the public and saw 80 children hit the track and learn the basic road rules. 

The centre has over 70 bikes of different sizes to suit every age and a range of obstacles including traffic lights, roundabouts, give way signs, a railway crossing and opportunities to cross over incoming traffic. 

Ralph Atherton, Chair of the Road Safety Group says that their role is to educate kids and prevent accidents whilst allowing children to learn how to ride a bike.

“… If we can stop one child from riding out in front of a car then all our efforts are worth while.” 

“[We have] lots of little children learning to ride the circuit and we are finding that the program is changing from pure road safety to learn to ride”

“ Once they have the confidence on the bike, we can focus more on the road safety,  but we have to gently mix the two together until the kids are a little more confident”, Mr Atherton said. 

The Port Pirie and districts road safety group has acknowledged that children at a young age will ride onto a road without knowing the dangers and it is these small things they hope to instill into them. 

“We keep it to the basics because they are at the age where they don’t need to know the complexities of the road rules, they just need basic safety rules.”

“They will ultimately ride on the road, they will be riding with mum and dad at the park, on the footpath or here at the safety centre and one day they are going to go onto the roadways and the younger they learn, the more they learn and the better it is for their safety”, Mr Atherton said. 

A keen bike rider, Ruby Wilton, 10 returned from the session bursting with knowledge about road safety that she can now share with her friends.

“I have learnt that you have to stop at the stop lights and wait for the pedestrians when they’re crossing.”

“Today is important because if you’re riding on the road and don’t look at the stop lights, you might get run over or hurt. Other kids should come down because if they don’t know, they might not stop at the stop lights and get run over”, Ruby said. 

Emma Thompson- Wilton, Kidtober committee member says that it was important to provide an activity for children so they can get away from their tvs these holidays but also be able to learn alongside their parents. 

“Today is more or less about families spending quality time together, coming together to learn the road safety rules in a confined safe environment.”

“Everyone needs to have a go, as children this was one of our favourite excursions during school… they learn which side of the road to ride on, the stop lights and also social skills like learning how to share.” 

The centre has received sufficient sponsorship from the local rotary club, RAA and the Port Pirie Regional Council which has allowed the fleet of bikes to be upgraded but also funded the ongoing opening of the facility. 

The road safety centre is run by volunteers and the Port Pirie and districts road safety group are seeking volunteers to help in further educating children. 

If you are interested, please contact Sargent Melissa, the Road Safety Group officer on 8638 4029.