GO-KART - KartSTART by Toyota, which was at Westerner Park July 6th to 8th, teaches kids safe driving skills through the use of go-karts. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: KartSTART revs into Red Deer

Go-kart event teaches kids about safe driving skills

KartSTART, a program which teaches young people safe driving skills, returned to Westerner Park for the third year.

“It is a driver training program, put on by Toyota Canada,” Owner and retired professional Race Car Driver, Russ Bond said. “The idea is that we bring out all of these go-karts and we get kids 10 years and up to come out.”

A track is made at Westerner Park using hay bails from local farms and the bails are then donated to a farm which takes care of returned race horses.

Bond said the program is unique because the kids have fun, but also get a head start on safe driving.

“What the kids think is that it is fun to drive go-karts, but they don’t know how to drive yet,” Bond said. “We teach them that and it is a life skill.

“The idea here today is not about racing — it is driving around and trying not to hit anything. They have some fun, learn about what pedal is which and off they go.”

One of the big changes this year has been to ensure that as many kids as possible can participate.

“The big change this year is that we now have a mobility kart with hand controls,” Bond said. “Anyone who has mobility issues or are in a wheel chair — we can include them too. We want to include everyone.”

Bond has seen the event grow in Red Deer, one of KartSTART’s 10 tour stops, and he appreciates the way the community has welcomed them.

“We have seen a lot of referrals from people who have been here before. They will say, ‘Oh my friends came and tried it last year’,” he said. “The support from the community has been very nice to see and I am pretty sure we will be able to up the days here next year.”

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