THE state government has joined Victoria Police and the Transport Accident Commission in an appeal to motorists and other road users to slow down and take more care in a bid to reduce the number of lives lost on the roads in 2018.

The state’s provisional road toll for 2017 stands at 257, including six deaths in the City of Greater Bendigo, and while the toll has dropped from 2016’s 290 deaths, police say there is always more work to be done.

The December 22 death of local cyclist Jason Lowndes, and the death this week of a 71 year-old Queensland man injured in a crash at Barnadown on December 21 capped a year where fatalities on regional and rural roads across the state accounted for 60 per cent of the road toll.

In 2016, there were five lives lost on local roads.

Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said while this was the first reduction in the number of lives lost on Victorian roads in four years, it was sobering to reflect on the number of families moving into the new year without their loved one.

“My deepest condolences to each of the families who I can only guess continue to contemplate why, why have they been thrust into the sadness and loss that is the unexpectedness of road trauma,” AC Fryer said.

“I cannot accept that it is only a matter of time before another life is lost, that the cost of mobility will at times be someone’s life.

“That is why police will continue to run intelligence led state-wide and local police operations that focus on speed, drink and drug driving, distraction, seat belt compliance and fatigue.

“My resolve only strengthens too that we’ll continue to enforce and educate for greater road safety. And we’ll continue to call on the community to acknowledge that they, each and every motorist, rider, pedestrian and or cyclist, has a role in ensuring theirs and other road users safety.”

“When I reflect on all the numbers and breakdowns of each life lost, I acknowledge the increases and decreases and ups and downs, but really at the core of all of this is a deep frustration and sadness.

“Sadness of course, that families have lost a loved one but one of frustration, that people continue to lose their lives to road trauma.”

Acting roads and road safety minister Philip Dalidakis said no number of deaths on Victorian roads was acceptable.

“We will continue to invest in safer roads and educate all Victorians to consider their choices on our roads so they can get home safe to their loved ones,” he said.

We all have a role to play when it comes to road safety – I encourage all Victorians to play their part, make the right choices and keep themselves and each other safe.”

Analysis of the lives lost provisional figures in 2017 shows:

Approximately 60 per cent of deaths occurred on country roads, and about 80 per cent of the fatal injury collisions on country roads occurred in speed zones of 100 kilometres and hour or higher.

Twelve cyclists died on the state’s roads, an increase of 50 per cent on 2016, when eight cyclists died. In November, the TAC and VicRoads launched a year-long community education campaign designed to change motorists’ behaviours and attitudes towards bicycle riders.

Almost 73 per cent of those who lost their life on the road were male.

Deaths involving heavy vehicles increased 10 per cent with 44 lives lost, and heavy vehicles accounted for 17 per cent of all fatalities.