The path to safer road users across the region will be smoother thanks to a Royal Automobile Association grant.
The Port Pirie and Districts Road Safety Group has received a $2,000 grant from the RAA’s Regional Safety Grants program to help fund the purchase of new bikes for the Port Pirie Road Safety Centre.
About 900 young people from across the Mid North region visit the centre each year to learn about road rules while riding bicycles around a small track fitted with a train crossing, intersection and roundabout.
Port Pirie and Districts Road Safety Group president Ralph Atherton said the grant will make a positive difference to the experience of children who visit the centre.
Ralph said the grant will be spent over a two year period on a number of different bike types to ensure all riding skill levels are catered to.
More than 10 bikes – some of which are 40 years old – are set to be replaced at the centre, with three-wheel bikes and bikes with training wheels set to be purchased.
“What we’re seeing now is that there are a lot of kids who can’t ride bikes at all,” Ralph said.
“(Learning to ride and road safety) go hand-in-hand but it is hard for a young child to focus on road safety when their total concentration is trying to stay upright on the bike.”
He believed that better bike technology would mean better retention of lessons learnt at the centre.
“They will be more relaxed (on newer bikes),” he said.
“Happy and relaxed children absorb what you’re trying to teach them much more readily than those who are concerned and frightened,” he said.
“If we can send the kids out the gate with a smile on their face after a good day, having learnt something about road safety, then we’ve achieved what we’re here for.”
He thanked the RAA for the grant and also the Yorke Mid North Local Service Area police for their ongoing support of their work.