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Adam Murphy and Ella Deasy, Transition Year pupils from St Flannan’s College in Ennis, get sneak peak at Ireland’s first e-scooter safety course.

Ireland’s first e-scooter training course launched in Clare

A CLARE-BASED driver education programme has launched Ireland’s very first e-scooter safety course which is set to be rolled out in schools across the country.

The Irish School of Excellence, founded by Clare native Kieran O’Brien, has joined forces with Bird, a leader in environmentally friendly electric transportation, to launch the course.

The announcement of the new programme comes just weeks after the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind highlighted the hazards caused by e-scooters, calling for a ban on their use on footpaths and a reduced speed limit of 12km/h among other proposals.

Mr O’Brien, CEO and founder of ISOE, explained that when it came to setting up the new course he was moved by the organisations’ statements to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport highlighting their concerns about e-scooters.

“We were going to add e-scooter training as part of our overall driver education programme in schools, Mr O’Brien told the Clare Champion.

“But after listening to what was said, the concerns of vulnerable groups such as older people, those in wheelchairs and the visually impaired, I felt we needed a full programme that would highlight these concerns to the students,” he added.

Mr O’Brien pointed out that while that has been a rapid increase in the number of e-scooters, there was no training for people on their safe use/

“For instance, one thing we show is that if you take your hand off the scooter, because the wheels are so small, you will fall off and hit your face off the ground. This course is about user-safety, and the safety of others, when on an e-scooter.”

Pupils in schools across County Clare are set to benefit from the programme designed to educate transition year, Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA), Youthreach and after school students on safe riding practices for the use of shared e-scooters.

The ISOE is Ireland’s largest driver education programme, working with over 570 secondary schools nationwide and based in Ennis.

Covering almost 80% of schools nationally, the ISOE and Bird will roll out Ireland’s first e-scooter safety course nationwide, including in 12  schools across County Clare.

The announcement comes just weeks after the publication of the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 to allow for e-scooters on Irish roads, and ahead of Councils throughout Ireland beginning licensing processes this year.

Once e-scooters are legalised in Ireland, Bird’s ‘E-scooter Safety Course,’ module  will serve as part of the ISOE’s existing ‘Driver Education Course’.

The course is used to encourage young people to adopt a safety-led approach to driving, and is available to Leaving Cert pupils preparing to take driving lessons, as cars and micro mobility devices increasingly share the road.

The pioneering ‘E-scooter Safety Module’ will provide pupils with an overview of the law governing e-scooters; a guide on how to ensure pedestrian safety while using e-scooters; tuition on starting and moving off safely, as well as a tutorial on how to park safely.

Mr O’Brien added, “As our transport network evolves to embrace more sustainable travel options such as shared e-scooter schemes, so too should driving education. It has been heartening to witness first hand Bird’s proactivity in this space.

“Together we have devised a course that will equip young people across Ireland with the education necessary to use e-scooters safely on Irish roads.”

Charlotte Bailey, General Manager for UK and Ireland at Bird said, “Safety is of paramount importance to Bird. As Ireland prepares to embrace shared e-scooter schemes, it is essential that the public is educated on how to use e-scooters safely.

“Bird is proud to work with Irish School of Excellence, an organisation with enormous reach, to spearhead Ireland’s first e-scooter safety course.

“At Bird, we enforce an age limit of 18 years across our platform but believe it is important to begin instilling e-scooter safety early to ensure the next generation ride responsibly.”

Mr O’Brien founded the Irish School of Excellence in 2000 as a venture to reduce the number of road deaths of young drivers killed on our roads each year.

He has devised a course that promotes a common-sense and safety led approach to driving for transition year LCA, Youthreach and afterschool students at school between the ages of 15 and 18, which is taught during school hours.

It is the largest driver education programme in over 570 secondary schools and has access to over 30,000 students and 100 ADI driver instructors.

More information regarding the Irish School of Excellence can be found at their website: www.irishsoe.com

Clare schools where ISOE operate in are:  St Flannan’s College; Rice College; Meánscoil Na mBráithre; Mary Immaculate Secondary School; St Joseph’s Secondary School; Ennis Community College; Ennistymon Vocational School; St Michael’s Community College; Scariff Community College; St Anne’s Community College; St Joseph’s Community Collegeand St Caimin’s Community School.

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