A 33-year-old rider has died after hitting a stray cow early on Tuesday morning (February 19, 2019), prompting a call for mandatory reflective ear or tail tags for cattle as used in Scotland.
Beef farmer Terry Moody of Upper Clarence Combined Landcare says it’s a major safety issue that has been exacerbated by an increase in Black Angus cattle which are harder to see in low-light conditions.
The rider hit the cow on Eltham Rd near Lismore before 5am.
Police say a report on the fatality will be prepared for the Coroner and Richmond Police District officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The rider’s name has not been released and police say the breed of cattle is not known.
“The number of times I’ve nearly hit black cows is ridiculous,” Terry says.
Terry says the number of Black Angus cattle has increased 30% in the past 10 years because of the McDonald’s promotion of Angus Burgers.
Terry says he is not a rider, but he recently ran his truck into an “invisible herd” of the black cattle on a major highway, narrowly missing several cattle.
“I came over the hill on a state highway doing 100km and at the last second saw a herd of black cattle right in front of me,” he says.
“They are getting loose because there is no rain, so they are madly trying to find feed and breaking out of paddocks on to the road.”
Terry says it is the land holder’s responsibility to keep cattle fenced in.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of the tag manufacturers and they say they are having trouble getting them to work but they do in Scotland” he says.
“For the sake of someone developing a decent reflective tag, more motorists could die.”
Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman Steve Pearce says motorcyclists are most vulnerable to livestock and wildlife because they stay away from A roads and mainly ride B roads.
“We’re hearing of a lot of crashes in country areas, usually after 3pm and on a weekend you are at the biggest risk,” he says.
“These B roads aren’t as well managed by local councils, they don’t have the vision of A roads and they have more access to farms and properties,” he says.
“If the fences are down, the animals can get out.
“I’ve heard that if they are hungry or thirsty cattle will work their way through fences if they see water or feed.
“With the current drought conditions, it’s a bigger problem for motorcyclists.
“It’s something that riders need to be aware of.”