The origins and evolution of the RYDA name

When RYDA began in 2001 it was a Rotary District (9680) project known as Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA).  By 2004 the originating Rotary District recognised that the project should be expanded beyond greater Sydney and that a professional educational body would need to be established to develop and maintain evidence led, best practice education. This would require funding from multiple sources.

This new organisation (a public company), now named Road Safety Education Limited, (RSE) was established in 2004, with Rotary transferring the program to RSE, which continues to work hand in hand with Rotary as the community partner. Although RSE took ownership of the program, including its content, design and distribution, the name RYDA was retained as it had earned significant brand respect.

The program name also underwent change from Rotary Youth Driver Awareness to simply, RYDA, in response to the directive from Rotary International (USA headquarters) for RSE to not use Rotary in any part of the program (or company) name. Although RYDA was no longer an official Rotary project and was now managed by RSE rather than Rotary, this did not affect the partnership with Rotary Clubs, and individual Club’s involvement in RYDA recognised through local promotion as either:

  • Rotary Club of XYZ’s RYDA program, or
  • Rotary Club of XYZ’s RYDA road safety program.


The use of RYDA rather than Rotary Youth Driver Awareness is also important because it better reflects the educational scope and coverage within the RYDA program:

  • The use of the word Driver narrows participation and neglects the largest part of our target audience who are yet to start the learn to drive journey.  RYDA addresses students and drivers and passengers – helping them make good decisions from any seat in the car.
  • The use of the word Awareness doesn’t encompass the kind of education RYDA provides.  Awareness doesn’t create behaviour change.  To create behaviour change we need to educate across time and build empathy, motivation and resilience through developing and practicing personalised strategies.  RYDA has evolved over the years into a life skills and resilience program, rather than an attitude and awareness program. More information on best practice in road safety education can be found here.