Deer a road dan­ger

In­creased num­bers cre­ates spike in Alpine road ac­ci­dents

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - BY JUSTIN JENVEY jjen­vey@ne­me­

DEER are now not only a prob­lem for farm­ers but also road users.

The con­tin­ued in­crease in the deer pop­u­la­tion has seen a spike in mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents.

Panel beat­ers say in­ci­dents of peo­ple hit­ting deer are now on par with that of kan­ga­roos while a bus com­pany has im­posed a speed limit for its driv­ers in one ‘hotspot’.

Alpine Spirit’s Chris Bonacci says the deer prob­lem is as bad as it has ever been and their num­bers are high­est be- tween Bright and Har­ri­etville.

“It’s the worst I have ever seen it, you’re on guard the whole time,” Mr Bonacci said.

“In win­ter we’re up and down the road ( to Mt Hotham) two times a day be­tween Mon­day and Fri­day and then up to five times on the week­end.

“We are one of the first peo­ple to use it in the morn­ing and prob­a­bly one of the last to use it at the end of the day.

“We go through there at 7am and then again at about 6.30pm and we’re see­ing deer all the time.”

Mr Bonacci be­lieves more has to be done to warn peo­ple of the deer num­bers on the 20km stretch of road be­tween Bright and Har­ri­etville.

“We have im­posed a speed limit of 80km/h for our driv­ers through there, the speed limit is 100km/ h,” Mr Bonacci said.

“We’ve also set up speed­ing alerts on our GPS units which will tell us if guys are go­ing too quick.

“That’s what we’re do­ing but I think there needs to be bet­ter sig­nage along that strip of road, the lo­cals know to be care­ful but it’s more the peo- ple driv­ing from Mel­bourne that don’t.

“There is a sign on the Har­ri­etville side and I think the Bright side but there prob­a­bly needs to be more, es­pe­cially around Smoko where you al­ways see deer.”

Shane Saric from Bright Smash Re­pairs said he is see­ing more col­li­sions be­tween ve­hi­cles and deer.

“Win­ter is the worst time and be­tween deer and kan­ga­roos I’m get­ting prob­a­bly four or five cars a week,” he said.

“It’s prob­a­bly about 50-50 for kan­ga­roos and deer but there has def­i­nitely been an in­crease over the past few years in peo­ple hit­ting deer, it used to be pretty much all kan­ga­roos.

“Be­tween Bright and Har­ri­etville seems to be the main spot but also near Boyn­ton’s along the pines there.

“With kan­ga­roos there’s no one area where peo­ple hit them, it can even be in the mid­dle of town.”

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