The Ulster Grand Prix Motorbike Awareness Project has been launched. This educational cross-community scheme aims to equip young people who are using off-road motorbikes inappropriately with the knowledge and skills they need for the legal use and safe handling of a motorbike. It follows a successful pilot in 2018.
The Project is funded and supported by the Department of Justice, the Department for Communities and PSNI, and is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
The Department of Justice is providing funding of £40,000 for the delivery of the initiative over the next year under its Problem Solving Justice programme. Capital funding of £30,000 has been provided by the Department for Communities for a mobile unit, motorbikes and safety equipment and the project is also being supported by PSNI and local PCSPs.
The funding will enable Cornerstone Off-Road Motorcycle Academy to support the delivery of a series of six week programmes for groups of young people in locations identified as experiencing problems with this type of anti-social behaviour.
Learning includes a combination of classroom and practical workshop sessions that teach bike safety and riding skills, and participants will leave the course with Certification in Emergency First Aid at Work, a Motor Cycle Union of Ireland Marshal certificate, Basic Maintenance Skills and Basic Riding Skills.
Robert Graham, Chairman of the Dundrod and District Motorcycle Club said: “The Ulster Grand Prix is delighted to be involved in the Motorcycle Awareness Programme alongside our partners, Department of Justice, Department for Communities, PSNI and Cornerstone Motorcycle Academy. The results from the pilot run last year surpassed all expectations. Through the programme many individuals have been taught vital skills and are volunteering at various motorsport events across the country. The UGP believes it can play a vital role regarding the safe use of off-road motorbikes and this announcement gives us the platform to continue our work in the community over the coming years.”
Brian Grzymek, Department of Justice, said: “The Department of Justice is funding this innovative project to encourage young people to pursue their interest in off road bikes in a safe and responsible way that benefits their own skills and also prevents harm to their own communities. The Ulster Grand Prix and Cornerstone Off-Road Motorcycle Academy are to be commended for their insight and commitment in further developing this innovative project, building on the successful completion of the pilot programme. This is an excellent example of how the community and Departments can work together to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Kathryn Hill from the Department for Communities, said: “The Department is delighted to be involved in this joint initiative, which provides safety awareness, recognised training and alternative opportunities for those involved in riding motorbikes inappropriately in public spaces. The mobile facility, which includes motorbikes, safety equipment and suitable cover from the elements, will enable the very successful pilot programme to be delivered in communities right across Northern Ireland. This “hands-on” approach to educating our young people and changing their attitudes and behaviours has already been extremely effective and I have no doubt that it will deliver similar outcomes in other areas impacted by the inappropriate use of motorbikes.”
Inspector Rosemary Leech, Roads Policing said: “The inappropriate use of scramblers and quads creates significant road safety risks for riders and indeed any other innocent people in the vicinity. The sad and stark reality is that lives have been lost and others have been radically affected because of collisions involving these machines. This project is a welcome development with enthusiastic experts sharing their knowledge and experience, hoping to inspire and channel the participants towards a safe outlet for their interest.”