Rise in kangaroo crashes sparks road warning
A SPIKE in crashes with kangaroos has the NSW Ambulance advising road users to be aware of wildlife while on our roads.
Since August 1 NSW paramedics have attended 38 collisions involving kangaroos, three for wombats and two for possums.
While there was only one reported case in our region - at Tooloom a 24 year old male rolled his car swerving to miss a kangaroo - road users are warned to be on the lookout, particularly around dawn and dusk.
On Friday night , a 57-year old male motorcyclist died after colliding with a feral pig on a country road at Coolah.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Rhys Dive said dry weather and soaring temperatures was forcing wildlife to road sides, looking for plant growth. Over the past two years paramedics have attended 224 incidents involving wildlife. It's estimated that one in seven crashes on country roads involves animals.
Insp Dive said avoiding animals on roads and bush tracks involves a degree of luck, however there are ways to minimise the risk.
"Animals often move quickly and are unpredictable so it's hard to know what to do next when confronted," Insp Dive said.
He said incidents included vehicles losing control and either rolling or colliding with trees and other obstacles, and sudden braking that results in collisions with other vehicles, including rear-enders.
Insp Dive advised people to stay alert and slow down, especially at sunrise and sunset when visibility is decreased and animals tend to be more active.
"Quite a few of the incidents which have occurred in the past few months have involved motorists travelling in excess of 100km/h and the sudden impact has caused the vehicles to roll or veer into trees and down embankments," he said.
He said road users should also prepare if they see any sudden movement from the edges of the road and be patient if a vehicle ahead suddenly slows down or stops. He added kangaroos travel in mobs so a kangaroo sighting, including deceased kangaroos on the road, is a sign there are others nearby.
Among this month's casualties was 50-year-old Col Wooderson, of Bowral, who collided with a kangaroo while riding his bicycle on the Old Hume Hwy at Berrima at 5.15am last Monday (23/10).
"It all happened so quickly. It was still dark and quite foggy and I was riding down a hill with a mate. The kangaroo came from the bush and straight at me on to the road. The last thing I remember was him looking at me and me looking at him," he said.
"We always see them around but there's probably a bit more at the moment because it's so dry and they're coming on to the nature strip for feed."
Mr Wooderson was catapulted over the handlebars and landed on his head, the force splitting his helmet. He was rushed to Liverpool Hospital suffering two broken bones in his neck, a spinal fracture and significant cut to the forehead.
"I've had a few close calls with kangaroos over the years. It's just fortunate I was wearing a helmet as it probably saved me from even worse injury," he said.
The NSW Centre for Road Safety further advises people to reduce speed when they see animal warning signs; only brake when it is safe to do so; and never swerve - it is safer to hit an animal than swerve and lose control of your vehicle.
Insp Dive reminded that, with the amount of grass feed around, farmers are taking the opportunity to put their stock on to stock roots. "So aside from wildlife, we've also got cattle and sheep on the roads as well," he said.