Kangaroos are on the hop

The Department of Transport is encouraging Victorians to be vigilant for kangaroos when travelling around the state, particularly during spring.

This time of year marks the start of breeding season and wildlife across Victoria is becoming more active. Kangaroos especially pose a hazard to our road and public transport networks.

Motorists, in particular, are urged to be aware of an increasing number of kangaroos bounding across roads in outer metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Last year, the number of vehicle collisions involving kangaroos peaked in October, and the trend looks set to continue this year due to increased rainfall across the state. Grass at the sides of roads is often fresher due to increased water run-off, making these areas more appealing to wildlife.

Colliding with an animal as large as a kangaroo can not only damage a vehicle but can also cause serious injury to motorists and passengers. In 2019, 21 percent of collisions on Victorian roads involving kangaroos resulted in serious injury to occupants.

At this time of year, motorists need to be on the alert for kangaroos, especially at dusk and dawn. Kangaroos can be quite unpredictable, and headlights can ‘blind’ animals, confusing them and initiating a reactive fight-or-flight response.

Swerving violently to avoid an animal on the roadway can result in a loss of vehicle control or serious collisions with oncoming traffic. Any actions taken to avoid hitting wildlife should be done safely, by steering straight and applying the brakes in a controlled manner. While it is sad, a collision with an animal is a preferable outcome to that of a collision that may result in injury or death to humans.

Motorists who encounter injured wildlife should contact Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300.

Our public transport system is also impacted by the increased activity of wildlife. Metropolitan train services can be delayed due to animal strikes, particularly on the the Hurstbridge and Mernda lines which run through the most rural part of metropolitan Melbourne.

On the V/Line network, more than 750 animal strikes were reported in the past year and the majority of the trains involved required a deep clean bio-wash. This process can lead to delays for passengers, trains running with fewer carriages than usual or services being replaced by coaches.