Road Safety committee to celebrate 50th

Mr Tom McKeown chair of Ballymoney Road Safety Committee preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Committee in the Town Hall early next month. Mr McKeown is pictured with the chair of Road Safe N.I. Joan Kinnaird who is also a member of the local committee.
Mr Tom McKeown chair of Ballymoney Road Safety Committee preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Committee in the Town Hall early next month. Mr McKeown is pictured with the chair of Road Safe N.I. Joan Kinnaird who is also a member of the local committee.

AN exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of Ballymoney Road Safety committee will be held early next month.

The event which will take place in Ballymoney Town Hall will celebrate the work of one of the most successful committees in Northern Ireland whose achievements in advancing safety issues in the Borough and beyond have earned praise from many quarters. Much of what has taken place in the past 50 years has been due to a dedicated committee and the exhibition will reflect the many campaigns, initiatives and engagements with statutory bodies, schools and youth organisations.

Most notable amongst these was the lobbying for the A26 dualling work on which is now in progress; the Millennium project in 2000 where a major survey of residents identified road safety issues and led to the publication of a strategy led plan pointing the way forward. The document still has relevance today.

Other no less important issues include working with various statutory agencies for a roundabout at the Kilraughts road junction on the by-pass, carrying out seat belt, headlight and general vehicle defect surveys as well as the misuse of mobile phones. A national Walk to School week also figured prominently.

The committee also organised a Bike Safe event at Millsport in Ballymoney. Working in partnership with five organisations entrants had the opportunity to have a free assessed ride-out with an Advanced Police Motorcyclist.

School quizzes, public speaking gained widespread support from primary and secondary schools and another notable accomplishment was a Safe Driving event at Dalriada School for students in Upper and Lower 6th who were newly qualified drivers. The event which aimed to raise awareness of the general risk to young drivers was held in memory of a young student at the school, Shannan McCracken, who died in a car accident just outside the town on July 24 2009.

Monthly meetings also sought to highlight dangers on the roads particularly during the winter months with representations to the various statutory bodies.

The exhibition will be held over three days on December 5, 6 and 7, when visitors will have the opportunity to see the very first minute book with a list of members including former Mayor of the Borough, Mrs Molly Holmes who was elected chairperson and whose commitment provided a strong impetus for others.

Mrs Holmes spent years working tirelessly for the committee alongside one of the current members Mr Sam Knox whose association stretches back 42 years.

Mr Knox ‘s passion for road safety issues has been characterised not only by his association with the local committee but also for his work as Director of Road Safe NI, formerly the #road Safety Council for N.I . Another stalwart is Joan Kinnaird who in addition to her work for the local body is currently chair of the Road Safe N.I.

Mr Knox said the exhibition was a way of charting the committee’s achievements in the past half century with visitors able to have a clear picture of the various aspects of the committee’s work. “Over the three days we hope to showcase what the committee has achieved down the years. We will also be using the occasion as a recruitment drive for new membership and also hoping to engage more with the business community going forward,” Mr Knox said.