PRO DRIVE: Driving simulators are the latest tool used by the Braking the Cycle driving program. Instructor Erik Kershaw uses it with Adit Gak.
PRO DRIVE: Driving simulators are the latest tool used by the Braking the Cycle driving program. Instructor Erik Kershaw uses it with Adit Gak. Rob Williams

PCYC doesn't want to put brakes on program

AN INCREASE in the number of learner drivers needing assistance behind the wheel has meant the Ipswich PCYC's Braking the Cycle Program now has a wait list of up to a year.

The hugely popular program relies on volunteers to help participants clock up the necessary 100 hours of supervised driving they need to progress from a learner licence to a provisional licence.

This in turn leads to people of all ages having increased employment opportunities and community connections.

Ipswich PCYC development officer Angela Watts said Redbank was one suburb which had an extremely high number of people wanting to take part.

"We have a 12-month wait list in Redbank, which is horrendous,” she said.

"Currently we are only operating the program one day a week.

"We're operating 23 sessions every Thursday, which is not meeting the high number of people looking to use this service.

"Many people who are utilising our service are Sudanese people, some of whom have never even used a vehicle before.”

To be eligible to participate in the Braking the Cycle Program, participants must be

able to do a few of the basics like being able to safely manoeuvre a car.

"We are finding, particularly in Redbank, many people need assistance with steering a car,” Ms Watts said.

"They need to get this correct before we can let them jump into one of our cars.

"Our cars aren't dual control, so they really need to have and know the basic controls of a car before they can go out with one of our volunteers.”

Thankfully, the Braking the Cycle Program has received a little extra help to ensure they are able to continue teaching more people to learn how to drive.

They have been given access to a driving simulator with Pro Drive, which they run every Thursday out of the Redbank Plains Library.

"The simulator is quite realistic,” Ms Watts said.

"It's obviously computer graphics, but the screens wrap around you so you look like you are in a vehicle.

"You are able to see in the rear and side view mirrors and it doesn't even let you start the car unless you have your seatbelt on.

"This is quite beneficial to us because it means we are able to offer this to those who need help with getting their basic steering and manoeuvring of a car right before they jump on the road for real.

"We will also use the simulator at other times of the year for road safety events.”

The simulator is proving to be quite popular and Ms Watts said she had received lots of positive feedback from people who had used it.

To help, please telephone the Ipswich PCYC on 3281 2547.



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