Around 230 students in Northamptonshire were given the opportunity to drive a car and ride a motorbike, in a safe and controlled environment as part of a new initiative being piloted in the county.
Organised by Northamptonshire Highways, working with the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and Northamptonshire Police, the pre-learner road safety event is designed to give young people the opportunity to experience the road as a driver and rider.
Year 11 and 12 students from the Brooke Weston Academy in Corby took part in the pilot scheme, which if found to be successful, could be rolled out across secondary schools in the county.
The event comprised an hour of classroom-based education, an hour driving a car and an hour riding a motorcycle with qualified instructors.
The classroom session is designed to to instil good habits in a positive way by helping students understand what constitutes good driving and riding, which Northamptonshire Highways says will be ‘hugely beneficial’ when they start taking lessons on the public highway.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “This is a great way for young people to get experience of riding a motorbike or driving a car in a safe and controlled way.
“By instilling good habits in a positive way the sessions will help school pupils understand what constitutes good driving and riding, which is obviously hugely beneficial for when they start taking lessons on the public highway.”
Keith Millard, highways safety officer with Northamptonshire Highways, said: “There was a real buzz around the school and the students arrived with a degree of excitement and nervous anticipation.
“For many students this was their first opportunity to drive or ride a motorbike. Some of the students had never ridden a pushbike so riding a motorcycle proved to be a real challenge.
“Many were surprised at how ‘easy’ it was to drive and ride and they all returned safely with a huge smile on their faces.”
It is also hoped that the session will give the 80% of students travelling in a vehicle to school the opportunity to consider mode shift and travel independently.
Want to know more about teenagers/driver traning and road safety?
Key facts & summaries of research reports – visit the Road Safety Observatory (driver training)
Online library of research and reports etc – visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre (teenagers)