Recognising the importance and the actuality of the issue Vuelta Sport Association in cooperation with three partners (Easy Drivers Radfahrschule from Austria, Mobycon from the Netherlands, Fundația Comunitară Mureș from Romania) decided to develop a cycling road safety education program in the frame of Erasmus+ Program. The four partners had two and a half years and a 340 000 € subsidy from Erasmus+ Program for the implementation of the project.
The aim of the participating partners in the strategic partnership for cycling road safety education was to set up a standard educational program with the connecting Mentors’ teaching material which could be used in the future in all the elementary schools.
The partnership consisted of 2 organisations having experience in the field of safety cycling education (from Austria and Hungary), one Romanian partner, who had just started to initiate such a program, and an advisor partner from the Netherlands.
The educational material was set up jointly by the partners basing on their previous experience and advices of the Dutch supporter. Parallel to the school educational and Mentors’ teaching program a free access online learning material was also set up, which should have been useful as a support material to the school education program, as a home guide for parents intending practice with their children and also for interested people not reached in the schools. The online version includes the most important basic elements of the safe cycling; it is also available in four languages (HU, RO, AT, EN) – https://www.safe4cycle.com/en/interactive. Doing so, this game could be a useful basis for further utilization in other countries. The supplyer company already strives to develop the online material, there are some interesting partners for the future promotion.
The target group of the current project was the 9-12-year-old (in Romania 12-16-year-old) age group using or wanting to use bicycle on the roads. The school educational program had have both theoretical and practical part.
As the theme of the project is mainly a practical activity beside the theoretical job a lot of job-shadowing were built in as the best way to gain the most important practical details and good experience from each other.
The 30-month-long project had 3 phases:
1) Preparation - the school educational and Mentors’ teaching material was set up (based on the existing materials);
2) Pilot project year in at least 3-3 elementary schools in each country in order to test the program in practice and collect the experience. Thanks to the big interest and needs in our countries there are more schools applying to take part at the educational program as soon as possible.
3) Dissemination - the educational program through the free access online game was introduced for the public in the frame of cycling road-shows in the partners’ country (ME).
Impact of the program is calling attention of children, parents and teachers, but most of all the decision-maker stakeholders on the importance of road safety education. By educating pupils the aim is to reduce the number of traffic accidents at least 50% in the next 5 years in the involved regions. Reaching this goal as a long term impact more people will use bicycle as a healthy and sustainable type of transport, which is an expanently grooving power of the tourism sector. All of this cannot work without a changed-minded social background. The Safe4Cycle project gives inspiration for the professional job and could serve as good and strong base to future projects.
By achieving the goals a visible project with visible results has been created. The most significant achievements have come up at national levels: The biggest achievement in Hungary was nominating the Government Commissary responsible for cycling in 2016, Mr Máriusz Révész. Thanks to our lobby job and good cooperation with his department the road safety education became high priority topic of the Government Commissary. Starting closer cooperation with the Hungarian Police: by registering app. 260 policemen from 20 counties for the cycling Mentors’ Training program.
Declaring the Certified Cycling Instructors’ program as Klimaaktiv partner (program of the Austrian Energy Agency) is a big appreciation. Furthermore, awarding the diploma also to Hungarian and Romanian experts is an international impact and important measurement of the Austrian Ministry. Starting cooperation with the regional educational institution in Romania in order to deal with cycling and traffic road safety education in the schools; recognising the power of the civil sector are excellent results of the international partnership.