Safer drivers of the future are being created with a $5000 grant

FUTURE: Road safety group president Ralph Atherton, left, with Macen Taylor, 8, and Jay Coffey, 7, and Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock.
FUTURE: Road safety group president Ralph Atherton, left, with Macen Taylor, 8, and Jay Coffey, 7, and Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock.

Safer drivers of the future are being created with a $5000 grant, thanks to Geoff Brock.

FUNDING: Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock, centre, hands the $5000 cheque to the road safety centre's Ralph Atherton, watched by Rex Lang, Spiro Gauci and Robert Simpson.

FUNDING: Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock, centre, hands the $5000 cheque to the road safety centre's Ralph Atherton, watched by Rex Lang, Spiro Gauci and Robert Simpson.

Three children from Happy Haven out-of-school-hours care at Crystal Brook were pedalling around the road safety centre, in Gertrude Street, to celebrate the grant.

Two of their bikes were new with the promise of more to come under the grant.

Independent Frome MP and Cabinet Minister Mr Brock fast-tracked the funding application by the Port Pirie and Districts Road Safety Group after it had seemed unsuccessful.

“We have been talking about this for about 18 months. It is important to have the best equipment we can for the younger ones to learn on,” he said.

Group member Rex Lang took the comparisons a step further by saying that the children who visited the centre were the “L-platers and P-platers of the future”.

“The child might be a passenger in the car with their mum and say, ‘there is a red light ahead’,” he said.

“They talk to their parents about road safety. The children will develop into safer drivers of tomorrow.”

Group president Ralph Atherton said the organisation had about 60 bikes in varying condition, some of them 50 years old.

“We have already bought some new bikes and this grant will allow us to bring everything up to the standard we think necessary,” he said.

“We are absolutely ‘over the moon’ with the funding. We thought the application had been refused, but then Mr Brock advised us it had been approved.

“It is all about the difference between old and new. With the new bikes, the small hands of the children can operate the brake levers without stress.

“We are getting more children wanting to learn to ride bikes.

“The old bikes will be forwarded to Bike SA and may end up being ridden in the Pitjantjatjara Lands.”

Macen Taylor, 8, of Happy Haven, said the new bikes were “very modern with grippy handles that are safer”.

Educator Chris Hincks said Happy Haven was an out-of-school-hours care centre.

It provided care for children whose parents might be working outside classroom times.

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