Riders are being urged to use a mobile phone Roadkill Reporter app to record roadkill in an effort to identify hotspots and help save lives.
It cited Australian insurance data that found more than 80% of animal crashes involved kangaroos. Other common animal strike crashes involved wombats, dogs, cats, and cattle.
“The majority of animal/vehicle collisions in Australia occur on regional and remote roads and most often take place around dawn and dusk or during the darker hours,” it found.
However, Austroads also noted an underreporting of animal-related crashes.
Roadkill Reporter app
To help identify hotspots for roadkill crashes, all Australians are this month asked to download the free Roadkill Reporter app for Android and Apple iOS which was developed by wildlife scientist Bruce Englefield.
The app allows users to take a photo which is GPS and time stamped that is then logged online with authorities.
Data is then used to “mitigate” roadkill crashes in hotspot areas with remedies such as over- and under-road crossings for animals, signage, fences.
A 2016 study by Californian non-profit science and medicine research communication hub, PLOS, found that fences were the most effective measure, reducing roadkill by 54%.
Independent Riders Group spokesman Damien Codognotto says animal-strike crashes can often be mis-reported as single-vehicle crashes.
“No carcass, blame the rider. Tick ‘lost control of the bike’,” he says.
“Riders hit, or are hit by, animals on Australian roads; the rider goes down; the animal goes into the bush to die.
“VicPol turns up quarter of an hour later and an officer, probably with no scientific training, gets out an electronic device and ticks digital boxes.
“VicPol, do not record roadkill in the crash reports of far too many collisions.
“VicRoads concludes motorcycles are dangerous and roadkill is not a major hazard.
“Victoria’s crash stats are unreliable and often misleading. Then VicRoads multiplies the hazard by fencing run-off areas with kilometre after kilometre of roadside barriers that keep frightened wildlife on the tar.”
He urged all riders around the nation to download the app and start recording areas with roadkill and known crash sites.
“Animal strikes are a very serious threat to all road users, especially motorcycle and scooter riders,” he says.
“It is also a horrible thing to lose so much of our wildlife each year.”