Clocking up the 100 supervised driving hours needed to sit a driving test is particularly tough for young drivers who don’t have someone they can drive with. That’s where the Braking the Cycle program comes in.
Deception Bay PCYC is running the Braking the Cycle program in a bid to solve this problem.
It matches young learner drivers with a volunteer mentor and provides a safe vehicle for them to use.
Mentors provide practical instruction and help participants develop positive road safety attitudes and safe driving behaviours, while also offering positive support and community connection.
One of the 19 volunteer mentors, Barry Winter, joined the program after he moved to Woody Point and was looking for a way to make a difference in the community.
“I wanted something to do after I finished my career and I wanted to do something with youth. I saw this on social media and thought I might enjoy it. It’s been better than expected,” Barry says.
It follows a 37-year career as a police officer in southwest Queensland.
Barry says the program, open to people aged 16-25 years with a learner’s permit, gives young people the skills to become better drivers.
“It gives them independence and furthers their opportunities for employment that’s how I take it. A licence is a very important part of life,” he says.
“You don’t have to have a police background to be a mentor or any experience with that type of thing. Anyone with a driver’s licence can do the program.”
There are 24 learner drivers in the program at Deception Bay PCYC at present, 19 volunteers and two cars. Nine learners have passed their driving test since the program started at the centre.
Learner drivers Brooke Smith, 18, and Shakira Lamprecht, 18, say it had not only helped them clock up more hours it is teaching them give way rules, reverse parking and how to merge.
Neither of the girls has anyone they can call on to help them clock up the 100 hours of driving they need to complete with a licensed driver before sitting their driving test.
Program Co-ordinator Kelly Ryan says having a driver’s licence greatly improves a young person’s job prospects and helps many make better choices.
The program has been running at Deception Bay PCYC since April, 2019, but at many other PCYCs since 2012.
Deception Bay PCYC is looking for more volunteer mentors to help it run the program.
Mentors are asked to commit to one hour per week (flexible hours available), must have an open licence and have or be willing to obtain a Blue Card.
Anyone interested in volunteering can phone Deception Bay PCYC on 3293 0166.
Find out more about the program here