Deer a road danger
Increased numbers creates spike in Alpine road accidents
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.”