Braking the Cycle: Driving change one learner driver at a time

An internationally acclaimed program that connects volunteer mentors with learner drivers to help them obtain their licence is accelerating toward a major milestone.

Braking the Cycle’s Ipswich operation is two away from notching up 250 licences.

The now statewide program started in Ipswich and Logan in 2012 after it became clear the state’s graduated licensing system presented significant hurdles for disadvantaged young people.

Since 2007, learner drivers have been required to complete 100 hours of supervised driving in various conditions to obtain their provisional licence – a major ask for those facing financial hardship or social barriers.

Raceview teen Zach Manser, 19, was paying $55 an hour for private driving lessons to try and reach the milestone and had logged 20 of his 100 hours before learning about Braking the Cycle.

“My dad has a car but the issue was because I am under 25 I am not covered by insurance so I can’t really go out with mum and dad, it’s not something I’m going to risk,” he said.

Zach, who is now closing in on 70 driving hours logged, recently landed a new job at Yamanto and is keen to get his licence to make getting to and from work easier.

“Public transport is good but it can be a bit hit and miss. If the bus is late then I’m late,” he said.

“I’ve been refereeing for Ipswich Rugby League for three years and one time I was late turning up before refereeing a grand final because the bus was 30 minutes late.

“Braking the Cycle has been really good, the people are so friendly and accommodating and because there is no fee I’ve been able to save a lot. It’s also helped my confidence a lot.”

Licences obtained across Qld

Mentors across the state

Leaner driver participants across Qld

Volunteer mentor Mike Brady is often in the passenger seat when Zach is driving.

The pair have formed quite the connection, with the retiree happy to pass on a bit of life knowledge along with driving skills.

“I really enjoy the interaction with the staff and students and it gives me real pleasure to be helping them achieve their licence,” he said.

“Having a licence gives them more flexibility because they don’t have to rely on public transport, which as we know can sometimes be unreliable.

“A lot of people accessing the program don’t have access to a car at home or someone who can help them get their 100 hours up, so it’s nice to be able to help.”

Mr Brady volunteers for a total of 10 hours across two days a week, however volunteers can give as little or as much time as they can manage.

PCYC Ipswich branch manager Sergeant Neale Porter said the program was always on the lookout for more volunteers.

Cars are supplied by Braking the Cycle, volunteers are not required to use their own vehicles.

“We train our  volunteers and put all our young drivers through an assessment prior to them joining the program,” he said.

“We look to match people we think will be compatible for one another.”

Sergeant Porter said Braking the Cycle was going from strength to strength, and was widely recognised as producing safer young drivers as well as removing barriers to employment.

“Seeing people achieve their goals and watching them come in holding their provisional licence saying ‘I got it’ – there’s nothing better,” he said.

“In terms of community policing, that’s what it is all about, working with the community to provide equal opportunities and helping people reach their potential so they are diverted from committing crime.

“A lot of people we work with are coming from broken homes or face financial or social challenges, and to see them grow in confidence is just so rewarding.”

Braking the Cycle is open to people aged 16 to 25 years with a learner’s permit.

The program is looking for new volunteers to become mentors due to its growing popularity. 

For more information phone the PCYC on 3281 2547 or vist www.pcyc.org.au

More than 1,600 licences have been obtained through Braking the Cycle across Queensland since the program began.

Road Safety Week 2019: Ipswich events

Queensland Police Service; Ipswich Forensic Crash Unit, Ipswich Road Policing Unit, Ipswich District Crime Prevention Unit, working in partnership with Ipswich PCYC Braking the Cycle program, Emergency Services (QAS & QFES) and Department of Transport and Main Roads, will be in attendance at events across the Ipswich District to promote road safety.

All events are supported by Ipswich City Council and Scenic Rim Regional Council.

  • Tuesday 27 August, Park St, Boonah – 9am – 2pm
  • Wednesday 28 August, Drakes Rosewood 44 John St, Rosewood – 10am – 2pm
  • Thursday 29 August, Redbank Plains complex 588 Redbank Plains Road, Redbank – 10am – 2pm
  • Friday 30 August, BP Haigslea 2312 Warrego Hwy, Haigslea 10am – 2pm

Road Safety Week aims to raise awareness of the Fatal Five: Speeding; Drink and drug driving; Seatbelts; Fatigue; and Inattention and distraction.

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