Central West Local Land Services and local cattle droving contractors are urging both drovers and drivers to be aware of their responsibilities when sharing our roads with livestock.
The calls for higher safety follow increased cattle numbers using stock routes due to dry weather conditions and limited feed options in some areas.
Gunnedah cattle producer Phil Glover said some road users “don’t know what to do” around stock using roadways.
“I suppose for some people it’s not a common thing to drive through,” Mr Glover said.
“We just run roadside cattle and use road signs to warn people, but my advice to all road users would be just slow down, cattle do unexpected things so just slow down and prepare to stop if you need to.”
Central West Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) ranger Angie Kelly said both drivers and drovers need to be aware of their responsibilities and to exercise patience and care when driving through livestock.
“Drovers will attempt to push stock across roads as quickly as possible whilst keeping them bunched up,” Ms Kelly said.
“Drivers can assist by exercising patience and waiting for all stock and drovers to be safely off the road before continuing on.”
Ms Kelly said that “drivers should also be aware that stock have the right of way at all times” while drovers need to ensure they use road signage correctly.
“Stock signs must also be removed by drovers when stock are no longer present,” she said.
“Following these simple legal requirements helps make the roads safer for both stock and drivers.”
Comebychance droving contractor Bec Hourigan told Fairfax Media she had some seen traffic incidents while droving cattle towards Gunnedah.
“We have had one cow hit and killed, plus one that was hit and nobody came forward,” Mrs Hourigan said.
“These cattle have been on the move with us for about five or six months now.
“The cattle belong to Ben and Lara Hawke and we started with the cattle at Manilla, worked our way towards Barraba and then back to Manilla before now being here in Gunnedah.”
Mrs Hourigan said cattle are not the only things at risk when stock is being moved.
“A lot of people aern’t aware, they don’t notice the signs, we always have six signs out and people just don’t notice us,” she said.
“It is frustrating because they’re are so many mobs around and it’s not only the cattle that are at risk it’s ourselves, it’s our dogs and horses plus we have two little kids with us all the time too and while they’re pretty road savy the traffic doesn’t tend to notice them.”
The droving contractor said the dry weather conditions were the reason the cattle were being moved around.
“It has been good to get back down here as things are starting to cut out near Manilla,” she said.
“We weren’t getting the good fattening feed up there like you can get down here so it was good to get them onto the softer feed down here.”
The best advice Mrs Hourigan gave to motorists is to “drive in a way suitable to the conditions”.
“The big thing is to just slow down and be courteous,” she said.
If drivers notice stock causing immediate danger, inform the police, otherwise call your Local Land Services Ranger on 1300 795 299.
For further information on responsibilities when moving stock, visit www.centralwest.lls.nsw.gov.au or contact Local Land Services.