Kangaroo collisions spike causing smash repair backlog

The city's smash repairers are feeling the brunt of increased kangaroo collisions with a backlog of weeks to fix damaged cars.

Kangaroos are moving into metropolitan areas of the city in search of food due to drought conditions, ACT Parks and Wildlife Service reports.

Owner of Braddon Smash Repairs, Jeff Badcoe with a car that has damage from hitting a kangaroo.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

In the first seven months of the year, ACT rangers were called to more than 2200 incidents of a motor vehicle hitting a kangaroo.

Several smash repairers who spoke to the Sunday Canberra Times reported a massive spike in the number of vehicles they were fixing due to animal collisions, with kangaroos being the most common.

Braddon Smash Repairs owner Jeff Badcoe, who has been in the industry for 40 years, said he had never seen so many animal crashes in his career.

"Eighty per cent of our work right now would be kangaroo hits," Mr Badcoe said.

"I'm getting in six per week at least."

He said it was a serious safety concern for motorists and always sad to see an animal killed.

It can also do some damage to the hip pocket with repairs after a kangaroo collision frequently exceeding $5000 and could reach as high as $10,000, Mr Badcoe said.

"They do quite a bit of damage to the modern-day car," he said.

"I've never really experienced this much backlog in repairs. I had to stop people booking in three weeks ago."

Wildcare spokesman Philip Machin also reported they are "bursting at the seams" caring for orphaned joeys.

He said the drought conditions were bringing more kangaroos to roadsides and urban areas but this did not mean there was a greater number of the animals in the area as was often assumed, they are simply more visible.

The period from dusk well into dawn was the danger period for motorists at risk of hitting a kangaroo and urged drivers to slow down and take extra care at this time.

Animal proof fencing installed along the Tuggeranong and Majura Parkways has not appeared to lower the number of animal collisions reported to the ACT government.

A Transport Canberra and City Services spokesman confirmed there was the same number of crashes reported in the two years prior to the installation of fencing along the Tuggeranong Parkway as there was since the fences were installed in 2016.

"From January 2014 to December 2015 there were 17 crashes reported as a result of collisions with animals along treated sections of Tuggeranong Parkway," the spokesman said.

"From December 2015 to July 2018 there has been 17 animal collision crashes reported on the same road sections."

Installation of the fences along the Tuggeranong Parkway was one-third complete in June 2016.

"There have been 10 animal collisions on the section of Majura Parkway with kangaroo fencing, from April 2016 to July this year."

In reality, the number of animal collisions with motor vehicles along these roads is significantly higher, as the evidence from ACT Parks and Wildlife would suggest.

The government spokesman said animal collisions were under-reported.

Owner of Braddon Smash Repairs, Jeff Badcoe, has a massive backlog in jobs partly due to the number of animal collisions.

Photo: Jamila Toderas

"The numbers of reported crashes are low, and so subject to the distortions of the statistics of low numbers," the spokesman said.

The overall cost for the fencing along Tuggeranong Parkway was about $2 million and included changes to line marking, signage, and additional street lighting.

The costs for the fencing along Majura Parkway were included in the $288 million overall budget for the road which consisted of federal and territory funding.

"The sample base is too small to make any judgement in relation to the effectiveness at this time," the spokesman said.

"As the measure was implemented in 2016-17 it will be due for evaluation in 2021."

The amount of wildlife in and around Canberra at the moment was highlighted in a recent viral video when about 15 kangaroos hopped down Strickland Crescent in Deakin.

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