The owner of the Giant Koala at Dadswells Bridge has suggested a speed limit drop and signs warning about pedestrians be installed on the Western Highway through the town.
Pat Crute's comments come after a driver was killed in a collision while leaving the tourist attraction's car park on Sunday.
Police said a car was leaving the carpark for the Western Highway about 3.20pm when it was involved in a crash with a truck.
Emergency services arrived a short time later but the driver of the car, believed to be a woman in her 30s, died at the scene.
Horsham Acting Sergeant Heath Martin said the coroner would investigate, and that police believed the woman was an American.
He said police had ruled out laying charges, and that they believed speed was not a factor in the crash.
Mrs Crute has owned the site for the past five years. She said in that time the number of tourists visiting the town had grown.
"We have had a lot of near misses - cars and caravans turning in with traffic behind them, and they seem to not be able to see the koala or signs far enough back so that they can turn in safely," she said.
"It's an 80 kilometre sign and I've sort of suggested doing 60 kilometres, but they're sort of not interested in that. We've had that many near misses we watch from the shop, and this one wasn't a near miss. Tourists do have difficulty getting in here, especially if they don't know the road.
"We have pedestrians walk across the road as well to the turkey farm, and I've asked VicRoads and the council when we had a meeting last year, what about pedestrian signs? We also have people park on the other side of the road to take photos (of the koala), and that is very dangerous because they're right on the side of the highway."
Dadswells Bridge resident Bill Bloodworth responded to the crash as a Country Fire Authority volunteer. He said the speed limit on the highway through the town needed to be lowered from 80 to 60.
"When you're trying to pull up a 40-tonne truck as a car comes out of that car park, you've got no hope whatsoever," he said.
"At 60 kilometres you've at least got a chance. Now we have had a fatality we need to push VicRoads hard on this."
Mr Bloodworth, who has lived in the town for 17 years, said he considered the Western Highway "an extremely dangerous stretch of road".
Regional Roads Victoria's western region director Michael Bailey said it was always happy to listen to the community's thoughts on road safety,.
"Our key priority to ensure that any change is safe for all road users," he said.
"We've recently installed additional signage ahead of the 80km/h zone at Dadswells Bridge to ensure that drivers are aware that they're entering a populated area and need to slow down to the posted speed limit."
Regional Roads Victoria is responsible for maintaining existing turning lanes.
The organisation said speed limits were set to strike the right balance between safety and traffic flow, including factors such as crash history, road user types and the number of access points along the route.
- The Wimmera-Mail Times
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