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Rider quandary over kangaroo crash

roadkill doctor
Kangaroos are in plague proportions

A rider who hit a kangaroo on an outback NSW road in 2013 won his bid for compensation in the NSW Supreme Court for a blameless accident last year, but now the judgement is mired in the appeals process.

The rider was travelling south on the dirt road between Hungerford and Bourke in 2013 on an BMW F 650 GS Dakar when a kangaroo jumped out of the shadows and hit the rider, resulting in serious injuries.

Hungerford road is one of the long straight and wide red dirt and bull dust roads typical of the far west of NSW. It is only graded every six months or so and often corrugated, with low scrub on both sides.

A claim for injury compensation was made under the NSW CTP no-fault insurance scheme.roadkill kangaroo

The CTP insurer rejected the claim on the basis that the driver in a single vehicle accident was not entitled to claim under the NSW CTP scheme and secondly that it was not a blameless accident due to the speed the rider was travelling at even though it was under the 100km/h speed limit for the road.

The case required thorough examination of the way the NSW legislation is written to determine the ability of the rider to make the claim and then examination of whether the speed of the rider was a factor in the cause of the accident.


The court case found that under the NSW CTP scheme a rider or driver is entitled to claim where the accident is not as a result of their own actions or in other words is a “blameless accident”. This is an important legal point for riders and drivers.

Secondly the Judge accepted the rider’s judgement that the speed at the time of the accident was appropriate in the road conditions at the time of the accident. It is not often a rider’s judgement is accepted over the experts who are brought into a case years after the fact of an accident.

One aspect of the case and a previous case brought before the courts which is worth noting is that if the rider had swerved to avoid the kangaroo he may not have been entitled to claim as the resultant accident may have been considered due to his actions not the actions of the roo.

roadkill kangaroo
Animals are a constant danger on country roads

However, the judgement was appealed and a new decision handed down that also pointed out that it doesn’t matter if you perceive a threat and have no time to react.

Now that decision is subject to yet another appeal, so the final judgement on where riders stand when they hit fauna or stray livestock is still up in the air, at least in NSW.

The laws may vary from state to state and it s best to seek legal help to recover damages in a motorcycle crash with livestock or fauna.

  • Original story by Wayne Carruthers


  1. Wow, I thought we have a big problem here in Texas with deer but that is really a lot of Roos… The problem here is the deer are mostly out at night making the hard to see them…

    Ride safe my Ozzie friends…

    1. Roo’s are at their worst as in the evening and in the early morning but they can turn up at anytime during the day or night.
      Emu’s can be worse during the daylight hours.
      Stay Upright Ivan……..

  2. Here in Brisbane we have an Exploding population of Feral Deer, Lord Mayor estimates approx. 400 in and around Brisbane and it’s Districts. A leading Professor at the Queensland University estimates between 2500 & 3500 in and around Brisbane & Districts as the Councils Culling Programs are not working and/or being done.
    On the 26/6/15 7pm I was riding along Centenary Hwy (100km suburban road) when I noticed a car a fair bit ahead pull off road and turn facing towards, the oncoming traffic, I stayed in outside lane and slowed to about 80km when out of nowhere and only about 2mtrs in front of me standing sideways landed this 350kg Feral Stag Deer and all I could do was put my head down and ride into it.
    I’m real lucky I got away without major injury, BUT the worst thing at the moment is NO-ONE in Council, Road Management etc want to know or do anything about it.
    Sadly someone is & will get killed. You don’t expect it in the city. So if anyone is riding into Brisbane, Just be careful ’cause there isn’t any signs either.

  3. The Australian kangaroo population varies between 50-60 million depending on the conditions.

    That means there are up to ~3x as many kangaroos as people in Australia.

    No wonder we hit them from time to time.

    Sometimes you get a hint that there are kangaroos about… but sometimes you don’t.

    If the rider had slowed down then he did the right thing… but it’s not always possible to do so.

    We suspect that a large number of single vehicle accidents (1/3?) involve a second vehicle, animal or bad road conditions. It’s simply convenient to blame the rider… but it ignores the cause of the accident and does nothing to prevent the next accident. It also perpetuates the myth that riders are irresponsible road users.


    1. Problem is,

      Our road authorities don’t seem to realize the extent of the animal strike problem. (or are turning a blind eye to it)
      And like to label these sort of accidents as singular vehicle accidents, which our police assistant commissioner (Victoria) likes to throw fault at the rider/driver. And as pointed out in the PIMS report, accident data collection is sadly lacking.

      The insurance industry realizes the extent of the problem, hence why I got bent over and screwed with an exorbitant excess, it would have been less than half the excess, had I run into a car at my fault.

      Twice this year, our car has been involved in an accident involving Roo’s.

      Thank God it, was the car not one of the bikes.

      The next greenie whom tells me Roo’s are endangered, will cop a right spraying let me tell you.

      Ride free and safe

  4. I hit a roo on the highway, one morning, on the way to work. I got out of it okay (a few dings, but basically sound) but it completely ruined a perfectly good ZZR1100. I still miss that bike.

  5. I hope the rider wins his case but honestly I would never have thought of even trying to get compensation under the CTP scheme as my understanding was that it only related to a passenger. You learn something new every day.

  6. If everybody who hit a roo could get compensation, CTP premiums would be $10,000.

    It would be nice, I agree, but when in roo country its part of the deal, like potholes, – that you accept are a risk.

    I’ve hit several and even ran over one once that slipped over right in front of me. Yes, I went down. It can and will happen even with the greatest care.

  7. Experience teaches you to be super alert when in animal country. I escaped disaster once when I perceived some unknown movement right at the corner of my eye. Didn’t know what it was, but sure enough a second later a flying roo went straight across the road at full speed. He would have knocked me for six if I had not perceived that unknown movement.

    Yes, I’ve hit several, but I have escaped a lot more close calls by being super vigilant in roo country.

  8. Howdy Ivan Sims
    Was in your neck of the woods last year, Had a great time and great memories.
    Loved Fredericksburg, Fort-worth,and the rest of the state you have some great roads there.
    I will be back next year.
    Will move there if I can get the little lady to move!
    Merry Christmas Ivan

  9. Roos have limited depth perception & being a prey animal, they zig zag or dodge to counteract attack. It is second nature to them as it to us to see & avoid some obstacles. Us humans are so priveleged & allegedly so smart advanced, we can do brain training to re wire these natural tendancies such as that in arcade shooting games where the object is to shoot the enemy, not the civilian or member of public by identifying with a image. Remember we train for that instinct. Animals will most likely never have that advantage. They do not get road training. I have hit subsequently killed two roos. We need to remember, & I do not give two shits what you wanna call it, tree hugging, but before all our road networks & destruction of bushlands, animals had places to live. There depth perception is advantageous when out running a dog, but not a vehicle doing straight line kms per hour. To test it out for yourself, try standing right along side a fast moving train, then try to run through between adjoining carriages. It’s terrifying. The last thing that will go through your mind will be your ass as it hits the train structure, then the Ambulance will be hitting 100 to get your remains to the hospital. To add to that, certain animals move about more on a full moon, in better light, for food or fancy, they are often hit & killed or left to die I believe more frequently around these times of the month. Also, they come to the road, for grass, for food. They don’t have carparks such as those at fast food centres we have created all over the country side for our convenience. I am sorry you totalled your bike & damaged yourself though. I understand it is not fair.

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