Over 60 folk participated in a Road Skills event organised by Roads Policing Maydown for Limavady Custom Cruisers members and motor vehicle students from Omagh and Limavady Further Education Colleges. The event was held at Kirkistown on Tuesday 15 March 2011 and by the time, bacon butties were eaten, registration and briefing completed the rain had disappeared and sun decided to grace everyone with its presence.
The day was primarily an educational opportunity designed to improve driving knowledge and technique. Each participant had a unique opportunity to drive on the track while under expert tuition from a Road Policing Officer. It provided the space for participants to make a mistake in a controlled environment and to receive one-to-one feedback and to gain advanced driving tips. Everyone also had the opportunity to enjoy being taken around the track in a Westfield kit car.
Inspector Haslett highlighted that while road traffic fatalities in N Ireland halved last year, across Northern Ireland the 16-25 year old age group still account for around 30% of all collisions where someone is killed or seriously injured. He added an educational strategy was developed back in 2006 and focused on the Limavady area as over 50% of all collisions were someone was killed or seriously injured (KSI) involved a young person. That picture has dramatically changed and in 2010 not one young adult was involved in a KSI within Limavady Borough Council area. The Road Skills event provided the opportunity to roll out an educational approach to a wider geographical area and to do things differently. By working in partnership with Limavady Custom Cruisers and the Omagh and Limavady Colleges we can combine resources, knowledge and expertise in order to make a real difference.
Inspector Haslett referred to two of the three E of road safety Education and Enforcement and said while the Police would prefer to use Education as their first approach, however, Enforcement is used for slow learners and encouraged all the participants to use the knowledge they had gained during the day to stay safe and to enjoy the roads while keeping speed for an controlled environment.
Before boarding buses back to Limavady and Omagh, participants said that the day had taught them many things including road traffic collision causation factors and also when driving how to take a better driving line, to judge their position, their speed, the appropriate gear and to improve their braking technique. Police Officers also highlighted some of the bad driving techniques which they observed including coasting, poor position of hands on steering wheel, using the clutch in the corner and encouraged everyone to use the techniques taught as good technique can mean the difference between life and death.
Prizes were awarded in three categories:
Mark Bingham 1st (50), Graham Cairns 2nd (30), William Moore 3rd (20)
Jamie Taylor 1st (50) , Gary Nichol 2nd (30), Jordan Neil 3rd (20)
Awarded by each Police Officer for best under instruction Car cleaning kit sponsored by Halfords
James Ballentine, Jonathen McMillan, Jonny Mullan, Paul Donaldson, Chris Blair, William Moore.
A special thanks to Trackskills and Rory ONeill for their organisation and ongoing support, the Marshals without whom the day could not have taken place, William, Adrian and Alan for their expertise and Limavady Custom Cruises and Omagh College for supplying the vehicles.