Road deaths are rising as people resume regular travel following coronavirus restrictions, with cyclists particularly at risk.
Official data shows 280 people died on Australian roads in the September quarter of 2020, compared to 248 deaths in the July quarter.
While that represents a 12.9 per cent increase, the number of lives lost on the road for the year to date is almost five per cent lower than 2019, with 57 fewer deaths between January and the end of September.
Australian Automobile Association managing director Michael Bradley said the result “correlates with reports of increased travel and traffic, as people have been returning to the nation’s roads during the most recent phase of COVID-19”.
Differences between states are stark.
Road deaths in Victoria, where coronavirus travel restrictions were most severe, decreased by 14.1 per cent or 37 fatalities in the 12 months to September 2020. NSW experienced a 5.6 per cent reduction in the road toll, South Australia dropped by 3.8 per cent, the Northern Territory by 10.8 per cent and Western Australia by a remarkable 18 per cent, or 30 deaths.
But fatalities in Queensland increased by 15.3 per cent, 33 additional deaths on the road.
While the number of drivers killed was relatively stable, passengers are less likely to have been harmed on the road in 2020, with 25 fewer fatalities in the 12 months to September this year.
Pedestrian and Motorcyclist deaths dropped by 15.1 and 11.5 per cent.
Cyclist deaths on the road increased by more than 30 per cent in the last year, with 47 bicycle riders losing their lives on Australian roads in the 12 months to September.