RSE News – RYDA gets students off to a great start in 2021

Issue # 36

Welcome to RSE’s online News. In this edition we’ll update you on our recent RYDA review, report on our adventures in workshop delivery, introduce you to some new members of the Road Safety Education team and share some exciting news from our collaboration with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

In this issue – scroll down or click to jump ahead:

RYDA 5.0 gets students off to a great start in 2021
A student’s perspective on road safety
RSE welcomes new faces and the return of a long time friend
National Road Safety Week 2021 is on the horizon


RYDA 5.0 gets students off to a great start in 2021

RSE undertook it’s annual review, starting towards the end of 2020, culminating with the release of updated materials in January 2021.  As part of the process, we looked closely at the latest research, reviewed priorities set by the road safety community (including Governments and Police) and refered to teacher and students feedback from 2020.  Since RYDA 5.0 (released at the beginning of 2020) was our most extensive review to-date and featured a large number of updates to the workshop content and to the broader program resources, this year’s review process did not identify any areas for significant change.  Therefore, we retained RYDA version 5.0 and included a number of small updates and tweaks to further engage students and support year long classroom learning.

RYDA 5.0 has since been rolling out across Australia and New Zealand.  To date, in Australia, we’ve delivered programs in metro locations in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and away from the big cities in Nambour, Darling Downs, Leeton and Geelong.  In New Zealand, where the first few months of the year are our busy season, we’ve been as far north as Kaitaia, down to Auckland, Masterton, Levin, Dannevirke, Selwyn and Oamaru in the South Island.

RSE’s Australian Program Manager, John Elliott, said, “we’re off to a great start with what looks like it’ll be a very busy 2021.  It’s great to see that many schools, recognising the importance of road safety and making sure their 2020 student cohort doesn’t miss out on this critical learning, are bringing double groups with their 2020 and 2021 students to RYDA”.

New Zealand’s busy period has had the added challenge of COVID-19 restrictions and a few last minute changes but, Maria Lovelock, our NZ Manager says “we’re working with all our schools to adapt and reschedule and ensure students are not left behind by this pandemic”.

RYDA and Bridgestone

Honestly, this was unlike anything I had heard or thought about before!!

This excerpt from feedback we recently received from one of our students gives us a great insight, not only into how students feel about the RYDA sessions but, importantly, how they feel about the topic of road safety before attending RYDA.  Here’s what Thea, a student from Sydney Girls High School, had to say about RYDA’s Mind Matters session.

Being a high school student with the possibility of driving, I began my 16-year-old life researching the rules of the road and how to operate a car. It seemed like tricky stuff. From the mechanics to the hundreds of different functions, I was bamboozled with horror stories telling me what I could and couldn’t do. So when I heard we were attending the RYDA workshop, I will admit I was skeptical; what more could they tell me that I didn’t already know?  That was until the Mind Matters workshop.  Now I was impressed. That workshop showed me a new perspective. I was so used to the general wear your seatbelt, keep your eyes on the road… basic (and important) boring stuff that when I began to listen and understand, I truly was excited.

This workshop looked deeper into how one’s mood at any given moment can impact their driving abilities. Honestly, this was unlike anything I had heard or thought about before. Of course, listening to the examples of how stress and anger could have a significant impairment on one’s driving capabilities made sense, it had just never occurred to me before. I felt like that workshop opened up another aspect of driving I would need to deal with in the future, and I was glad to be learning about it then instead of in the future. Further, learning helpful tips on how to calm yourself down if you were having a bad day before you started driving, not only told me about a future problem I would most likely be facing but also showed me constructive ways regarding how to not endanger myself and others around me. I would say that in that workshop I learned how to be a better driver. Even if I’m not driving yet!

RSE welcomes new faces and the return of a long time friend

RYDA gets a new Program Coordinator

We are excited to welcome a new Program Coordinator who is stepping in to manage RYDA in one of our busiest metropolitan regions – Sydney, Australia.  Tracey Grinter took the reigns of the Sydney RYDA program in December and is quickly getting to know just what it takes to deliver a world class road safety education to hundreds of students every day.  We did a quick Q&A with Tracey to find out a little more about her.

What were you doing before joining the RSE Team?
Tracey:  I was working in the Business School at UTS as an Event Coordinator and involved with student recruitment.

What attacted you to the role?
Tracey:  I enjoy helping people and seeing the impact of the program on students lives it was an easy choice to join the RYDA team.

What RYDA session had the most impact on you and why? 
Tracey: That’s a hard choice as they all have their own valid points, but the Crash Investigator session, I think, encapsulates the ‘choices’ we make and how they can impact a crash. Covering car safety features, road features through to human choices/errors.

Do you remember your ‘learn to drive’ experience?
Tracey: Learning to drive was a right of passage in my family and something that as soon as you were old enough you had to learn – and learn in a manual too. I got my licence at Blacktown where the parking for the RTA was on a steep hill in the Kmart parking area and narrow spots. Trying to park there was always nerve-racking. Its moved now.

What are your immediate goals in your new role?
Tracey: Getting back into venues (which we’re now doing) so we can demonstrate the live version of the ‘speed and stopping’ session and getting to know our Facilitators, Day Managers and Rotary volunteers.

In addition to our new member of staff , we’re also excited to have two new members of our New Zealand Board.

Graham Clarke has extensive experience in a range of farming systems including sheep and beef under organic principles reflecting his deep interest in the health of society – consumers and the environment. As a member of Federation Farmers NZ and former chair of the New Zealand Beef Council, Graham has participated in agri-politics at both a local and national level. Graham’s passion is building healthy cultures and people and reflecting his deep and personal interest in road safety advocacy, in recent years, he has led the care of a road crash survivor advocating road safety education for youth.

David Mallett, CPEng, MBA is a transportation engineer, based in Christchurch.  David manages the South Island transport business of GHD and chairs the local Association of Consulting Engineers NZ transportation group. Through his work David consults for a variety of national and local government clients on a wide range of transport related activities from business cases, to detailed designs and construction, and through to network maintenance – all with a strong focus on continually improving road safety.

Graham and David join the NZ RSE Board as Alistair Coleman retires having served as a Director since 2011.  We welcome Graham and David to the RSE team and thank them, along with Alistair, for sharing their vast experience and genuine passion for our cause.

Long time friend of the RYDA program, Teresa Senserrick returns to our Advisory Council.

We are thrilled to welcome back to our Advisory Council, Professor Teresa Senserrick who is a Professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Qld (CARRS-Q). Teresa was trained in developmental psychology and has over two decades of experience in health and safety research in Australia and internationally. Since focusing on road safety in 1999, she has become renowned for her expertise in education, training and graduated licensing systems, especially for young and new drivers. She has a particular interest in addressing issues for at-risk and disadvantaged road users, including in low socioeconomic and rural/remote communities.  We warmly welcome Teresa back and thank her for generously sharing her singular talents and expertise with RSE.

We also take the opportunity to thank Professor Barry Watson who has been a founding member of the Advisory Council.  Although he has recently decided to step back from his official duties as a member of RSE’s Advisory Council he has graciously offered to stay on as a consultant to the Council.  We appreciate his ongoing support.


2021 Road Safety Week is on the horizon

Save the date and watch this space – we’ll let you know how you can get involved.