Kangaroo-related road crashes on rise

Kangaroo-related road crashes on rise

The ACT and its surrounds is the nation's worst hot spot for kangaroo collisions.

Latest data from a leading insurer also shows the number of vehicle collisions with animals on ACT roads has skyrocketed in the past five years.


The AAMI data showed there were 906 claims related to animal collisions in the ACT last year, up 84 per cent from 2009-10, while Queanbeyan and surrounds – including parts of the ACT – were the nation's roo crash capital.

AAMI corporate affairs manager Reuben Aitchison said the Queanbeyan area's reputation for kangaroo incidents was well established.


"The 2620 postcode, around Queanbeyan, consistently tops our national table for animal accident hotspots, and the vast majority of these are with kangaroos," he said.

The postcode, straddling NSW and ACT areas including Queanbeyan, Hume and Tharwa, was again the most prolific source of AAMI's animal-related claims last year, with the 2580 postcode east of Goulburn number three. So far in 2014 the insurer had received 674 animal collisions in the ACT.

While NRMA's ACT animal collisions claims were down slightly last year, to 530 from 566, the figure is still well up on the 450 from 2010.

Kangaroos have historically made up about 90 per cent of both insurer's ACT animal-collision claims.

NRMA ACT Road Safety Trust chairman Don Aitkin said the increased claims were no surprise.

"I think what's happening is the city is growing and the number of cars is growing faster than the city," he said.

"There's kangaroos all over the ACT; it's been a good few years [for them].

While kangaroo spottings in the capital region are common year round, Mr Aitchison said the shorter days of winter saw a 40 per cent jump in collisions with animals on Australian roads compared to the summer months.

Roads ACT figures, based on reported cases, showed a 20 per cent annual rise in crashes involving a struck animal in 2013, up to 201, but the figure was only three higher than the number reported in 2009.

A Territory and Municipal Services Directorate spokeswoman said the government had taken a number of measures to reduce the risk of kangaroo-related collisions, including in the design of major infrastructure projects.

"An example of this can be seen in the Majura Parkway project, where key design elements included kangaroo fencing, underpasses and skylights," she said.

TAMS lists Fairbairn Avenue, Majura Road, Hindmarsh Drive and Mugga Lane as the territory's exceptional hot spots for motor vehicle collisions with kangaroos.

ACT Policing Traffic Operations Sergeant Rod Anderson said motorists should always be vigilant of wildlife, but particularly during dawn and dusk when wildlife were most active, and during the night when visibility was poor.

"If you notice wildlife near the road, reducing your speed will improve your reaction time and shorten your stopping distance, allowing you to stop the vehicle quickly if the wildlife moves onto the road," he said.

"Excessive speed in such a situation significantly adds to the risk of injury or even death in the event of a collision."

Among other safety tips, Mr Aitkin and Mr Aitchison both said drivers should brake but not swerve if they saw a kangaroo on the road.

The last known Canberran killed in a kangaroo accident was a 34-year-old Giralang motorcyclist who died after he lost control when he struck the animal on the Barton Highway in 2009.

Reporter at The Canberra Times

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