Take action on hazards
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
RTA Road Hazards: 131 700
NT Roads: (08) 8999 5511
Main Roads Traffic Management: 13 19 40
Department of Transport: 1800 018 313
Department of Transport: 1300 135 513
VicRoads Traffic Management: 13 11 70
Main Roads WA: 138 138
Have you ever reported a road hazard? What was the result?