Follow the sign, slow down, save a koala
MOTORISTS will have another reminder to slow down and take care in koala habitats with newly-installed flashing signs.
Lismore City Council has installed vehicle-activated signage along Wyrallah Road in the final phase of a project to protect the region's vulnerable koalas from road deaths.
In the last few months Council has created koala zones with static signage and pavement markings along stretches of Wyrallah Road and Tuckurimba Road that are identified as koala blackspots.
Lismore City Council environmental strategies officer Wendy Neilan said the signage completes installation of the new safety measures, which were funded with a grant from the NSW Save Our Species program.
"Koalas are vulnerable to extinction in NSW and these roads cut right through some of their prime habitat,” Mrs Neilan said.
"Our roads were built through their homes, the place they live and raise their young, and they need to traverse this habitat for breeding and feeding.
"It is up to us as drivers to be vigilant about their presence.”
The electronic signs are activated today and will flash when people exceed the signed speed limit of 80kph.
"The signs are equipped with an inbuilt radar which can record the speed and number of vehicles passing,” Mrs Neilan said.
"Since we erected them three weeks ago the signs have collected data which shows that 40-50 per cent of people travelling in the koala zone are exceeding the speed limit.
"Unfortunately for koalas the highest speeds recorded, some in excess of 120kph, coincide with the most likely time for koalas to be moving around and across roads, which is dawn and dusk.
"That's a lethal mix and bad news for our koalas.”
Mrs Neilan is hoping the new vehicle-activated signage will remind drivers to slow down and stick to the speed limit while driving through this important area of koala habitat.
"There's good evidence to suggest vehicle-activated signage works. The signs are easy to see and the message is clear - slow down for koalas,” she said.
"Driving at the speed limit of 80kph as opposed to 90kph in the Wyrallah Road blackspot area may extend your travel time by less than one minute but it can significantly reduce your chance of hitting wildlife.
"We hope that the community will consider this a small price to pay to help save our beautiful koalas.”
To report sick or injured koalas, phone the Friends of the Koala hotline on 6622 1233.