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Black cattle a danger to motorcyclists

roadkill cattle

A 33-year-old rider has died after hitting a stray cow early on Tuesday morning (February 19, 2019), prompting a call for mandatory reflective ear or tail tags for cattle as used in Scotland.

Beef farmer Terry Moody of Upper Clarence Combined Landcare says it’s a major safety issue that has been exacerbated by an increase in Black Angus cattle which are harder to see in low-light conditions.

The rider hit the cow on Eltham Rd near Lismore before 5am.

Police say a report on the fatality will be prepared for the Coroner and Richmond Police District officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The rider’s name has not been released and police say the breed of cattle is not known.

“The number of times I’ve nearly hit black cows is ridiculous,” Terry says.

Terry says the number of Black Angus cattle has increased 30% in the past 10 years because of the McDonald’s promotion of Angus Burgers.

cow cattle black angus
Black Angus

Cattle warning

Terry says he is not a rider, but he recently ran his truck into an “invisible herd” of the black cattle on a major highway, narrowly missing several cattle.

“I came over the hill on a state highway doing 100km and at the last second saw a herd of black cattle right in front of me,” he says.

“They are getting loose because there is no rain, so they are madly trying to find feed and breaking out of paddocks on to the road.”

Terry says it is the land holder’s responsibility to keep cattle fenced in.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of the tag manufacturers and they say they are having trouble getting them to work but they do in Scotland” he says.

“For the sake of someone developing a decent reflective tag, more motorists could die.”

Riders vulnerableroadkill cattle

Motorcycle Council of NSW chairman Steve Pearce says motorcyclists are most vulnerable to livestock and wildlife because they stay away from A roads and mainly ride B roads.

“We’re hearing of a lot of crashes in country areas, usually after 3pm and on a weekend you are at the biggest risk,” he says.

“These B roads aren’t as well managed by local councils, they don’t have the vision of A roads and they have more access to farms and properties,” he says.

“If the fences are down, the animals can get out.

“I’ve heard that if they are hungry or thirsty cattle will work their way through fences if they see water or feed.

“With the current drought conditions, it’s a bigger problem for motorcyclists.

“It’s something that riders need to be aware of.”

  1. There has been drought conditions in northern NSW and western NSW for about 2 years now we are all hungry including the cows haven’t you seen the signs drive/ride to conditions slow down be aware of your surroundings quite simple really I am not putting reflective tags on my friggin cows .
    Please spare me from this bullshit.

      1. Poor us farmers..Its an industry like any other No other large or small business gets the same sympathy..Try running a truck down the wrong side of a freeway with no lights and see how you go. may be wrong but i think qld is the only state left where livestock has right of way over vehicles ..Ridiculous…Hi vis ? why not? you need it in every other industry

    1. @Peter Woods: While I agree that it’s bs to put reflective tags on the cows, you seem to indicate they are *your* cows. Now, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but your reaction seems to overshoot the mark a bit since it’s your job to ride your fences, and/or provide fencing that isn’t coming down. If one was able to guarantee their livestock couldn’t get out (like with super-stupidly expensive metal fencing, as opposed to just barbed wire and wooden fenceposts) then there wouldn’t be an issue with it, at least for those ranchers that did such a thing.

      Reflective spray paint (that I suggested) would be cheap. Yeah, it would look dumb. But in the end, it is the ranchers’ responsibility to keep their livestock contained.

      1. Firstly, I’m not being a smart arse here.
        There maybe rare occurrences with ‘odd’ stray livestock, but you have more chance of an incident with another vehicle or wildlife that frequently dive out of nowhere.
        If there’s a serious issue with cattle where you ride, make the products & labour available to the farmers in that area so you’re more protected when riding.

  2. Why not just have the ranchers spray, every so often, a big ol’ fluorescent stripe on them! Won’t bother the meat, and might make them more visible.

  3. Should be mandatory for all livestock and wildlife to wear a Hi Vis fluorescent vest as they are notoriously hard to see.

  4. As far as I know it isn’t an offence if your cattle stray onto roads because of laws we inherited from England following settlement, however in my opinion this needs to change. If livestock stray onto roads due to poor maintenance of fences then the owner should be liable for any damage to vehicles that hit them.

  5. Tags are a good idea..But you really have to take care in rural areas cattle will tend to
    wander into the road to take a look…sheep and roos dart eveywhere..I really try to avoid riding dusk to dawn in rural ares . Its a bit like russian roulette. That said i was leaving the imbil rally [slowly] one morning Only to be overtaken by speed by a bunch of sportsbikes just
    as a mob of roos came across the road Still dont know how nobody got hit There was much braking and weaving …and dirty underwear i think

  6. I have lived and worked on cattle properties. Cattle come in many hard to see colours, so do cars!
    No one has a right to ride at maximum speed. We all have a responsibility to ride to the conditions, so if you are screaming around at 100+ km/h on roads where animals exist and in low light conditions it would seem you are not riding to the conditions.
    If you think the farmers hi vis ing their cattle is the answer then you are an overtitled and self centred person who is basing their demands on “I want what I want”.
    Slow the heck down in rural and semi rural areas. Pay attention to the conditions and expect that a kangaroo is going to jump out in front of you or a cow is going to be around the next corner. Realistically something as small and lithe as a possum or fox will do as.much damage as a.cow if you hit it at high speed.
    Stay off the roads an hour before and after sun up and sun down that is the most dangerous time of day because animals are.moving to and from watering points.
    Try a bit of education and some logic.

  7. Geez , where I ride some times there are no fences, and the roads are clearly marked as such, and to be aware of livestock on sides of road, now when I see this I slow down and take care. If it’s night you need to take extra care, better still don’t ride at night. And as for livestock escaping through a fence and at night , good luck with that, your not going to get anything done about it. I am just glad ” Cows don’t have Guns ”
    Look ! you won’t have to worry about this issue with escaped livestock soon, if the GREENIES have their way , cows , bulls and all livestock will be banned. Bloody things add to the greenhouse effect, can you image how much methane gas is added to the atmosphere everyday by these buggers farting all day.

    No more cows or any livestock, no more coalfired powerstations, no more petrol powered vechiles, and you lot are worried about black angus cows escaping, Oh, did I mention that they , the government controlled by the Green vote will have us all fitted with gas meters to measure and tax us on our methane emissions.

    Can you imagine it , every time you leave home , you will have to wear Hi Vis clothing, if there is any livestock left out there , they will be painted in Hi Viz colours, all vechiles will be the same Hi Viz colour.

  8. Hi Viz on Kangaroos and wallabies would be the go….. Really…… It’s simple as ride sensibly… to the conditions… to the roads and to the locality…. The best grass is beside the road in the drought conditions I’ve been riding thru in the Darling Downs/Granite Belt area… I don’t begrudge the farmers whose stock end up grazing on it… I don’t need to get where I’m going at Warp speed… and I often end up riding home to Murwillumbah at the worst time of day (on dusk)… I ride accordingly… sometimes quite slowly…. I’ve seen tons of suicidal wildlife but plenty early enough at slower speeds. And I ride B and C grade roads and tracks and forest roads etc

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