A new road safety program called RoadSet is targeting school children from Year Nine with plans to ramp up motorcycle awareness.
The free online interactive teaching program, launched by the Australian Road Safety Foundation, is designed to help young people become better road users.
RoadSet combines original animation with “gamified” interactions to deliver engaging content in 10 modules that are age-appropriate.
ARSF founder and CEO Russell White says the Progressive Web App is a first step in teaching the next generation of road users.
“We need to remember that safety isn’t just about drivers, but about all road users, and that includes children on bikes, skateboards, scooters or simply walking on foot,” he says.
“Our aim for RoadSet is to re-boot things in the road safety educational space and get younger road users thinking about these issues earlier.
“For example, in the module on cycling, we cover topics like wearing the right protective gear, being seen, having an awareness of what is going on around you and what other people might do that could increase risk.
“If we can embed that sort of mindset early, that same philosophy should continue on if the person starts riding a motorbike.
“As we expand the program content further, we will be adding more specific information about motorbikes.”
Kids don’t ride bicycles
Russell points out that kids these days don’t ride bicycles as much was they used to and therefore don’t have the road-craft skills nor awareness of their vulnerability when they reach the age of getting a learner’s licence.
He’s right. School bike racks used to be full in my school days. Now there is hardly a bicycle in sight!
In fact, in 1970 more than 60% of Aussie kids cycled to school and now it’s only 11%.
Parents now drive their kids to school, creating massive traffic jams in school peak hours.
“Riding did teach younger road users a degree of situational awareness and some core fundamental skills. These skills did translate into later life,” Russell says.
“Not experiencing those basic things does create a learning gap and a range of additional issues that they need to process as they learn the mechanics of operating a vehicle.”
If more children rode bicycles they might not only have more awareness of motorcycles, they might also grow up to become riders themselves.
This is the basis of an American program called All Kids Bike program which is striving to get every child to learn to ride a bicycle in kindergarten PE class.
Russell says they have held discussions with high schools and community groups about RoadSet and report “fantastic feedback and really strong interest in getting involved”.
“Our goal is to reach every Year Nine student across the country,” he says.