Eyre Highway closed after cyclist killed in Nullarbor crash with truck

South Australia

Road closed for 200km between Eucla and Nullarbor Roadhouse after 57-year-old man from Queensland died at the scene

The Eyre Highway was closed on Christmas Day after a truck crash killed a 57-year-old cyclist on the Nullarbor plain.Photograph: David Branigan

A major highway connecting the east and west of Australia has been closed on Christmas Day after a cyclist was killed in a crash with a truck on the Nullarbor. Police said the crash occurred just after 9am on Wednesday on the Eyre Highway in South Australia, about 10km west of the Nullarbor Roadhouse, 1,610km east of Perth and 1,080km west of Adelaide. The cyclist, a 57-year-old man from Queensland, died at the scene.

There was no official word on the truck driver's condition. The Eyre Highway was closed just before noon to all traffic for almost 200km between Eucla and the Nullarbor Roadhouse. Western Australia police were manning the roadblock at Eucla, which is just on the WA side of the border, and South Australian police were turning traffic around at the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

The road would be closed for several hours while major crash investigators travelled to the site from Adelaide, SA police said in a statement. The year-to-date road toll in Australia is 1.3% higher than previous years, according to statistics from the federal bureau of infrastructure, transport, and regional economics. In the 12 months to 30 November, 1,183 people died on Australian roads.

Provisional state figures, which are updated daily, show a sharp rise in deaths in Victoria from 208 in 2018 (a record low year) to 262 for 2019 as at 23 December.

South Australia has shown a similar pattern, rising to 106 so far in 2019 from a total of 80 in 2018, again a year with an exceptionally low number of deaths.

The national road toll for 2018 was the lowest recorded in four years.

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