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

FUTURE: Macen Taylor, 8, tries a new bike while Jay Coffey, 7, sits astride an older version. They are with Ralph Atherton, left, and Geoff Brock.
FUTURE: Macen Taylor, 8, tries a new bike while Jay Coffey, 7, sits astride an older version. They are with Ralph Atherton, left, and 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.”

The children will develop into safer drivers of tomorrow.

Rex Lang, safety centre

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 to learn to ride bikes. 

“We teach basic road safety from the start, but we don’t put too much stress on it until they are riding confidently.

“We cater for four-year-olds to those aged 10 and 12 years.

“The old bikes will be forwarded to Bike SA and may end up being ridden in the Pitjantjatjara Lands in the outback rather than being sent the dump to get chopped up.”

Macen Taylor, 8, of the Happy Haven centre, 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 with up to 30 registered participants.

He said the centre provided care for children whose parents might be working outside usual classroom times.

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