Riders have been encouraged to report animals – livestock and even wildlife – that are roaming loose on the roads as they have the potential to cause a severe motorcycle crash.
Riders are advised to contact either the police, road authorities or the local council.
The call comes as recent rains have spurred roadside vegetation growth that attracts both livestock and wildlife.
Lack of reports
Learn2Ride owner and Mackay Road Accident Action Group member Brett Hoskin says many crashes with animals are not reported.
“In 2012, there were two motorcycle fatalities in the Mackay region,” he says.
“We looked at the crash and injury data and discovered that numerous crashes were not reported.
“Livestock including deer was often jumping at rider head height.
“We discovered that the data we obtained from insurance claims provided a better picture of the regularity of crashes.”
According to Suncorp crash claims data, the kangaroo, wallaby and pademelon (yes, that’s right!) are the biggest enemy of riders accounting for 70% of all crashes with animals.
Cows, sheep and other livestock are involved in crashes in much smaller numbers.
However, Brett says we shouldn’t be complacent about loose livestock.
“It is impossible to stop all livestock from entering the road way,” he says.
“Watching stock wander into the table drain does not contain them.
“The fact is that containment can never be 100%.
“Livestock on roads should be reported to the Police by dialing 000 and insisting that the stock is a road hazard that will result in a crash,” he says.
Brett suggests riders avoid riding at night and slowing down while riding on unfenced rural roads.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Rhys Dive agrees that motorists should report wildlife and stock on the road.
“Since August 1, 2017, paramedics have attended 38 collisions involving kangaroos, three for wombats and two for possums,” he says.
“With the amount of grass feed around, farmers are taking the opportunity to put their stock on to stock routes, so there is also cattle and sheep on the roads,” he says.
In NSW, if you find injured wildlife call WIRES on 1300 094 737 or NPWS on 131 555.
In Victoria and other states, you can call police, local councils or wildlife rescue services.
While the NSW Centre for Road Safety advises it is safer to hit an animal than swerve and potentially lose control, that is not true for motorcycles.
Riders should make every effort to avoid hitting an animal. Even hitting a small animal can be lethal to a motorcyclist.
Right of way
All states require farmers to have adequate fencing and to place relevant warning signs on the road if they are moving stock across the road.
However, in Queensland, livestock has right of way on the road.
That makes it difficult to sue the owner in the event of a crash.
In other states, the farmer would be liable for damages and industry for what is referred to as “livestock trespass”.