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Take action on hazards

7 February, 2012

Sick of road debris getting in the way of your smooth ride? A clean road is just a phone call away, finds Emma Clark.


Riding through city streets – or any streets – can be more akin to an obstacle course than a smooth ride. Tyre-chewing glass, potholes that could hide a small child, slippery leaf litter and cracked surfaces are an everyday occurrence. Bike paths are not free from debris either, often featuring all of the above plus overhanging branches and plants, rubbish and the odd dog poo.

Thankfully, local councils and road authorities have an obligation to provide hazard-free roads and paths for all users, so reporting the issue should lead to a fix. The authorities rely on people reporting hazards so don’t be afraid of getting on the phone and making the issue known.

As a general rule, most freeways and major highways are regulated by the state road authority, and other roads are maintained by the local council. You can find out who owns which roads by following the links below, or calling your state road authority.

Once you have identified who to contact, call the relevant party to report the hazards. Don’t assume the next person who comes along will report the problem.

Response time varies widely: many councils will usually respond quickly, but some may take weeks to clean up the debris.

Glass, sand, slippery leaves and rubbish in bike lanes or on paths are an easy fix for councils and road authorities. A street cleaner or contractor will be sent out to inspect the problem and the rubbish will be removed. The CBD of most capital cities are swept multiple times a day, so any glass or debris in the bike lanes should be removed within a few hours.

More significant damage such as potholes, cracks and crumbling surfaces and edges are more difficult to fix. You can also report issues such as badly-placed drainage grates or man-hole covers. If you call your state road authority or relevant council, they will classify your report as either urgent or non-urgent and send contractors out to inspect the site and respond accordingly. Urgent reports should be fixed within a week and non-urgent reports can take up to two weeks, depending on the amount of work required to fix the problem. Many urban councils have a policy that major potholes or hazards are fixed within 24 hours.

When reporting a road hazard, make sure that you give the specific location, including any nearby landmarks. If possible, take a few photos of the hazard and attach them to your report. Try to obtain a case number or the name of the person you speak to so you can follow up. Ask to be kept updated on your complaint.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, so if the issue hasn’t been fixed after an appropriate amount of time, continue to follow-up your report until it is resolved. If the council or road authority is really dragging its feet, get your riding mates to call and report the issue as well, as several complaints are harder to ignore.

Who you gonna call?


Who owns the road? 13 22 81

Report a Hazard: 13 22 81 or online


Who owns the road?

RTA Road Hazards: 131 700


Who owns the road?

NT Roads: (08) 8999 5511


Who owns the road?

Main Roads Traffic Management: 13 19 40

Who owns the road?

Department of Transport: 1800 018 313


Who owns the road?

Department of Transport: 1300 135 513


Who owns the road?

VicRoads Traffic Management: 13 11 70


Who owns the road?

Main Roads WA: 138 138

Have you ever reported a  road hazard? What was the result?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Kev permalink
    7 February, 2012 1:45 pm

    I’m not going to squeak too much in case I get mistaken for a mouse!

  2. 7 February, 2012 5:09 pm

    This is more specific to Western Australia, well in part, but also for smartphone users there are applications that allow them to report issues from the road.

    The smartphone applications are Neatstreets and Snap-Send-Solve.

    My personal preference is Neatstreets but I also have an understanding of when either Mains Roads or the local council is responsible.


  3. Dave permalink
    8 February, 2012 5:46 pm

    There is a nice iPhone app called ‘Snap,send,solve’ that uses gps to locate the appropriate council and send a report including photos.

  4. Adam permalink
    8 February, 2012 5:54 pm

    Snap-Send-Solve works fine all over Australia. Highly recommended, free on the iTunes app store

  5. Glenn permalink
    9 February, 2012 8:56 am

    When reporting a problem to be fixed by council, I use Snap Send Solve.

    The app finds the responsible authority from your location and the problem type. It gives you the relevant fields to fill out and option to include a photo. It also includes a pin on a map to let them know where the problem is.

    • 13 February, 2012 4:43 pm

      Yep, we tested Snap Send Solve as part of the article. It is pretty awesome way to use technology, and sure makes it easy to report any issues. HIghly recommended.

      • Bruca permalink
        27 June, 2013 12:18 pm

        But is there a similar app for ‘android’ users

      • 28 June, 2013 11:03 am

        @Bruca Yes there is Neatstreets which in my view is superior to Snap Send Solve as it has the ability to send the report to the relevant authority, e.g, Main Roads in WA is responsible for PSP not Councils.

  6. Wazdoggy permalink
    9 February, 2012 12:16 pm

    I reported a couple of holes in the asphalt on a bridge on the Capital City Trail in Melbourne last week (Bicycle Vic put me onto the right council body). I had an immediate reply from Stonnington Council and the holes were fixed the next day. Mighty impressed with the turnaround, well done to the Stonnington Council on this one.

  7. Arfy permalink
    9 February, 2012 9:04 pm

    General wear-and-tear is one thing, but what about hazardous road-furniture (cateyes, in-road drains, etc) that are always located near the kerb on major roads? We need cycling-friendly standards brought in for road furniture, and BN to advocate for us.

  8. 29 March, 2012 4:59 pm

    What about going back to the source with some or all of this junk and introduce National container deposit legislation such as they have in SA?

    Do you think a 10 cent return fee on a bottle would remove a lot of shattered glass from road shoulders and bike paths etc?

    • Harvey Beetle permalink
      29 March, 2012 7:24 pm


      • 30 March, 2012 3:09 pm

        Why no? They have it in SA. Would be interesting to know how it goes there.

    • 30 March, 2012 3:08 pm

      In WA the Conservation Council of WA is currently running an online petition calling for a 10-cent recycling refund for drink containers. It seems to be a hard road to go down. There is also some discussion about this petition in the Australian Cycling Forums.

      • Harvey Beetle permalink
        30 March, 2012 3:46 pm

        (No reply link to the actual comment I’m replying to, so I’m replying to this one, sorry!)
        No, I don’t think a 10 cent return fee on a bottle would remove a lot of shattered glass from road shoulders and bike paths. I don’t believe 10 cents would be any where near enough to stop people (mainly youths?) littering, especially if they have to carry the bottle a fair distance, and especially if at night time while slightly (??) intoxicated. I have also witnessed what I eventually came to believe was an intentional shattering of a bottle on a road by two 4WDs working as a team, probably experienced at it. If that was true, or if any people do intentionally litter and smash bottles, then it hardly matters how large the refund would be, it would continue to happen.

  9. Russell Keep permalink
    14 July, 2013 10:49 am

    How about the “detour” sign where the Eastlink Bike Path goes under Eastlink just south of Greens Rd. The Signs are at Greens Rd and Perry Bangholme Rd., but provide no alternative route.

    Russll Keep.

  10. 18 July, 2014 8:20 am

    Snap Send Solve or NeatStreets. Both are available for iPhone or Android.

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