13th April, 2021 — Road safety

All on board for a Bute footy experience

It’s a common misconception, especially among city folk, that driving in the country is a walk in the park. No traffic, no worries.

Locals know better. When a car crash on a quiet York Peninsula road in rural SA claimed the lives of a young brother and sister, the whole community around Bute was rocked.

With these deaths at its door, and similar crashes not uncommon in the mid-north farming region, the Bute Football Club takes road safety seriously.

That’s one reason why their new 22-seater bus is the club’s pride and joy.

“Clubs nowadays have a duty of care to look after their players. Drink driving is a major issue, road accidents are a major issue. Fatigue and drinking play a massive part in both of those,” said club secretary Scott Brown.

Bus pride and joy at Bute Football Club

The town has a population of about 300. Bute’s reputation as a family friendly Good Sports club means it draws a lot of its 250-strong membership from surrounding farms. They come in from the bigger towns of Kadina and Wallaroo. Even Adelaide an hour-and-a-half’s drive away.

“I think it’s the atmosphere we’ve created,” explained Scott. “We’ve worked very hard in the last few years to make it a very, very family friendly club. The social side of things is a lot better, we look after the kids as well.”

That’s where the bus comes in. And the safe transport plan as part of the Good Sports policy. With away games up to three hours’ drive from where some members live, being able to pick them up and drop them off safely is a real benefit.

“It takes that fatigue factor out of driving home after a game and a long day, and they are able to have a couple of drinks and socialise. We can get them home,” Scott said.

“Likewise, on home-game days we’ve been using the bus to drop players home after the game. Which has worked out really well because some Sunday mornings there’s 30 cars still parked in our car park from the day before. You can tell people have had a good time and used the bus to get home.”

Saying no to drink-driving in Bute

“Having the bus takes out that drink-driving [risk], especially in a country community. More and more people jump on the bus on a fairly regular basis now.”

Scott said it was an added bonus that there were several club members that didn’t drink.  They will often act as designated drivers and drop people home. He said the attitude at the club and in the region around not drink-driving was very positive.

“The community is actually really good about it. In the last 10 years we’ve had couple of major accidents in the area. I think it’s woken them up to it a bit. So, they’re a lot more proactive in making sure people don’t drink and drive.”

Creative fundraising ideas

Of course, it’s not every club that can afford its own bus. But Bute Footy Club got creative when it came to fundraising.

It’s in the enviable position of having their own cropping acreage that its farming members sow and harvest for free. All profits go to the club. Scott said it’s a great little earner that took the pressure off the volunteers, the bar and canteen.

Scott urged other clubs to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising for keeping members safe.

For instance, a fundraising movie night on the Bute Oval is in the pipeline, with a big screen, popcorn and all the trimmings.

“Sometimes a club’s got to think outside the square - more than just a barbecue shed and a sausage sizzle here and there.”

This is why the Partnership we have with THINK! Road Safety is so important. Think! Road Safety is a South Australian Government initiative working to remind all South Australians that road trauma can be avoided when everyone thinks about their own behavior when driving, riding, or walking.

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