OF all the iconic native creatures we are so fortunate to have in the Myall Coast area, Koalas are especially important to the area but are susceptible to injuries and death by wild dogs and interactions with vehicular movements.
With the recent commissioning and activation of the Koala Speed Sign at the Eastern end of Singing Bridge at Tea Gardens, members of The Myall Koala & Environmental Group have been left perplexed at recent findings of speed data recorded at the site.
Secretary of the Group, Ian Morphett, has spoken about some alarming trends with data taken at the site.
Mr Morphett said, “The Koala Group has just received the first statistics from the speed sensing sign on the Singing Bridge.”
“I’d love to know who the idiot was who clocked speeds between 100kph and 121kph five times, at night on the 13th, 14th and 15th of May.”
Mr Morphett said, “There is not much chance of avoiding a koala at those speeds.”
“The average speed of the 9256 vehicles who passed the sign on the first six days of recording was 60.6km/h which was a good improvement on the 64.8kph when measured last year,” he said.
Despite the numerous amounts of signage and even with the electronic speed activated sign, motorists still flout the warnings and continue to exceed the nominated limit of 50kph in the area.
On Friday 17 June, News Of The Area conducted a survey of East bound vehicular traffic from Tea Gardens to Hawks Nest over Singing Bridge.
OUR INVESTIGATION SHOWED: In a 30 minute period there were 213 vehicles pass over the bridge heading towards Hawks Nest.
Of those, there were 171 activations of the electronic Koala Speed Sign, suggesting that 80% of road users may be exceeding the speed limit and putting Koalas in the area at risk by doing so.
Speaking with News of The Area about our results, Ian Morphett said, “It’s not surprising, but we are confident people are slowly getting the message as average speed this is now lower than what was recorder before the sign was installed.”
“People often ‘ask us why isn’t there also a sign on the Tea Gardens side of the bridge’? This is purely due to cost, with the current sign costing us $14,000 but we are devising a fund raising plan shortly to hopefully be able to afford the second sign in the future,” he said.