The RYDA road safety education program has reached two iconic milestones. In Australia, RYDA celebrated it’s 21st birthday at the venue where it all began. Across the ditch, RYDA is finally old enough to drive, reaching its 16th birthday in New Zealand.
RSE’s flagship RYDA program has positively impacted the lives of around 725,000 Australian and New Zealanders since its inception.
CEO & Managing Director of Road Safety Education Limited, Terry Birss, says the contribution of the RYDA program to society has been undeniable.
“We’re proud of the significant difference the RYDA program has made to the safety of young drivers on our roads over the past 21 years through the empowerment of young drivers and passengers,” Mr Birss said.
“Our original cohort of RYDA participants are now in their mid-late 30s and I have no doubt that our focus on education through behavioural change and a focus on young driver and passengers’ attitudes has played a role in reducing road trauma. I’m delighted with the growth of the RYDA program and the reputation that it continues to build on over its 21 years.”
Figures from the International Transport Forum’s Road Safety Report 2021 for Australia show a reduction of fatalities on Australian roads of nearly 40 per cent when comparing 2020 figures to 2000, despite 60 per cent more registered vehicles on the road. While figures from the International Transport Forum’s Road Safety Report 2019 for New Zealand show a reduction of fatalities on New Zealand roads of 23.8 per cent when comparing 2019 figures to 2000, despite nearly 70 per cent more registered vehicles on the road.
However, the figures in both countries also indicate some concerning trends. In Australia, the number of cyclists killed on our roads increasing over the same time and in New Zealand, the number of crashes resulting in injury and hospitalisations increasing, as well as a rise in motorcycle fatalities – highlighting the continued need for education.
“While there is so much to celebrate in this milestone, it’s also evident that there is still a long way to go to create safer roads for all road users. Programs like RYDA challenge the mindset and behaviours of motorists and give them the tools they need to face the challenges on the road. This is key to achieving the long-term goals in a sustainable manner that will not only impact today’s road users, but future ones as well,” Mr Birss added.
From humble beginnings as a Rotary project held in one location in Sydney, RYDA now typically sees, 45,000 students take part each year across more than 350 workshop days run throughout Australia and New Zealand, involving more than 650 schools. RYDA workshops are supported throughout Australia by a dedicated team of volunteers primarily RSE’s community partner, Rotary, and by corporate partners BOC, Toyota, Bridgestone and Boral.
We thank every single (past and present) volunteer, partner, teacher, facilitator, staff member, board member, ambassador, patron or friend of the program who has helped RYDA become the program it is today.