Paraplegic teaches teens road safety message

Students from Helensvale high School were taught the importance of road safety today by a local man who had become a paraplegic in a vehicle accident.

Darron Shields, from the Paraplegic Benefit Fund, suffered permanent damage to his spinal cord in 2002 when he was hit by a car while road cycle training. He’s since partnered with the City of Gold Coast for a new ‘safe road habits’ educational program trial aimed at preventing needless road tragedies involving young people – who make up over a quarter of all serious crashes.

“I share my story to educate senior high school students on the risks of the road and the consequences of poor decision-making,”said Mr Shields.


“My story offers students a first-hand account of what it is like to experience and live with a spinal cord injury sustained through a road crash. It highlights the importance of attitude, behaviour and choices.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said: “Young people continue to be over-represented in our road trauma statistics.

“17 to 24 year olds only represent 11 per cent of our city’s population, but they are involved in 27 per cent of all serious crashes.”

Helensvale State High School Principal Mark Blackshaw added that the presentation was confronting for the students, but highlighted the important realities of dangers around traffic.

“It is necessary the students know the risks and will help them when getting a licence, sharing a lift or walking and cycling around traffic,” he said.

It’s hoped to expand the program citywide next year with the support of road safety grant funding from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.