After visiting the Netherlands in March, in the frame of the Safe4Cycle project the project partners from Hungary (Vuelta Sport Association) and Romania (Fundația Comunitară Mureș) in May 2016 travelled to Graz to get acquinted with the Austrian safety cycling education.
The project partners met the representatives of various organisations that take part in the traffic education of children, like the Pedagogical Institute of Graz, the Austrian Youth Red Cross, the ÖAMTC (Österreichische Automobil-, Motorrad- und Touringclub) to get informed about all aspects of safety cycling education in Austria. The host of the program was the Austrian project partner, the Easy Drivers RADFAHRSCHULE.
In the five days many professional programs were organised. Werner Madlencnik explained the principles of his work with the Easy Drivers RADFAHRSCHULE, which is organising various 2-hour-long bicycle courses for children (and adults as well), aiming the improvment of the basic cycling skills and the preparation for the voluntary practical bicycle exam of the 4th class pupils. Project partners has visited a basic cycling course in a primary school and a preparation course at ÖAMTC Traffic education garden. Last day morning the guests visited a voluntary practical bicycle exam that had been very strictly supervised by the police. In Austria children aged between 10 and 12 are only allowed to ride on roads alone, if they pass the exam.
Prof. Karl Ederer from the Pedagogical Institute of Graz in the afternoon introduced the basis of the theoretical traffic education in the primary schools. In Graz some traffic education lectures are built in the curriculum of the students (the future teachers) in the Pedagogical Institute, and the pedagogues also have the possibility to take part in some traffic education courses. Sabine Madlencnik presented the theoretical preperation of the 4th class pupils for the cycling exam in the Traffic education garden of the ÖAMTC. This exam is obligatory for all 9-10-year-old pupils in Austria.
Furthermore Mag. Wolfgang Frühwirth, the director of Federal Sports Academy Graz presented the system of the education of bicycle tour instructors, the project partners discussed some liability and law issues of cycling education with Fabienne Schachner. Schöckl Trail Area has been showed by Michael Gölles, who has explained the development of the downhill tracks of the area, and their plans for the future, including training of kids on the slopes. On Monday evening visitors were invited for a dinner by the mayor of Graz, Mag. Siegfried Nagl.
The program last day finished in Flöcking, where the activity of the Austrian Youth Red Cross (ÖJRK) had been presented, particularly the role of the organisation in cycling education – ÖJRK is the publisher of the ’Voluntary Bicycle Exam’ booklet that helps preparing the pupils for the exam.
Project partners thanks to the director of Easy Drivers RADFAHRSCHULE, Werner Madlencnik got an overall view of the Austrian safety cycling education wtih many good practices and ideas that can be built in the methodology of Safe4Cycle program.