Hazards on the road

All roads are different, and even roads you’re familiar with can change due to roadworks, unexpected traffic conditions, or extreme weather.

As a motorbike or scooter rider, it’s important to ‘read the road’ and adapt the way you ride so that you can stay safe, whatever the road ahead looks like.

So what does ‘reading the road’ look like?

There are three simple steps you can take to help you respond to hazards on the road:

  1. OBSERVE the road around you constantly
  2. ANTICIPATE potential risks
  3. RESPOND by taking appropriate action before the risk increases

Reading the road in bad weather or poor visibility

If the weather is bad or you can’t see as well as you usually can, slow down to give yourself more time to observe what is happening around you.

If you can’t see very well, it’s likely other road users can’t see you very well either. Turn your headlights on and be sure to wear brightly coloured and reflective clothing so you can be seen from further away.

The visor of your helmet should also be clean and free from scratches to make sure there is nothing else preventing you from seeing clearly. 

Reading the road when there are changing road surfaces

Changing road surfaces can be especially challenging for scooter and motorbike riders. Always observe the road ahead, and slow down if the road surface looks to be changing. 

Keep an eye out for:

  • Painted lines and shiny roads – these can be more slippery than unpainted surfaces, especially in wet weather
  • Dirt or gravel sections of the road – your vehicle needs to be more carefully managed on these surfaces
  • Potholes or sections of the road that have been re-tarred 
  • Tram and railway tracks – take extra care when riding near these in wet weather, and always cross them at a right angle where possible

Information in this article was adapted from the VicRoads website.