A STAGGERING 82 per cent of RACV insurance claims in the City of Greater Bendigo area are kangaroo-related.
Last financial year, RACV received 1,200 claims in the Bendigo region.
General manager of motor vehicle insurance for RACV Mark Geraghty said the marsupials were the leading cause of claims.
‘‘They’re responsible for the largest amount of claims, followed by wombats. Both are something which can cause fairly significant damage to vehicles,’’ Mr Geraghty said.
‘‘There are around 80,000 claims per year in Victoria so to have 1,200 in one locality is a pretty significant statistic.’’
And with the number of dead kangaroos on the roadside increasing, Nationals member for northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan said it’s time something was done.
“Just this week alone driving on the Hume Freeway I saw 38 dead animals on or beside the road. Thirty-three of those were dead kangaroos,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“The frightening thing is that it’s not unusual to see that amount of kangaroos on the side of the road in recent times, as kangaroo numbers continue to increase.”
The most recent data available from VicRoads shows that the number of motorists who suffered injuries as a result of collisions with animals reached a 10-year high of 128 in 2015.
“I believe kangaroo numbers have increased significantly since then,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said.
“Encountering a kangaroo on the road is a danger to drivers in ordinary circumstances, but when drivers have to deal with kangaroos in this kind of volume it becomes a huge hazard.
“I myself have had several near misses and I know first-hand how dangerous it is to swerve to miss a kangaroo.
“The large number of kangaroos is a significant risk to road users and I hope that no one is seriously injured or dies as a result of hitting or swerving to avoid hitting a kangaroo.”
“The number of kangaroos around is a huge danger to road users. It needs to be addressed to improve road safety and hopefully decrease the number of crashes.”
As for avoiding animals and other hazards, RACV recommends drivers keep to their lane if possible.
‘‘The best thing for drivers to do is follow the road and put your brakes on, you may hit the kangaroo but it’s better than the alternative,’’ Mr Geraghty said.
‘‘With everything, RACV urges motorists to drive to the conditions. Rural Victorians know that dawn and dusk are the worst times for collisions with wildlife.’’
‘‘The worst thing a driver can do is swerve; there’s a high chance that anything else you hit is worse than a kangaroo.
‘‘This is especially true for winding country roads with trees close to the edge and crests which may hide other motorists from view.’’