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Hazard awareness for bicycle riders

As a bicycle rider, there are hazards you need to watch for. Give yourself plenty of time to know the rules and be prepared before setting out.

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Checking for hazards

If you're a new rider or have purchased a new bike, it's a good idea to find a space away from traffic where you can practice and build your confidence before you take to the road.

  • See road hazards – pedestrians, motorists, other bicycle riders, potholes, opening doors, and grates.
  • Think about what might happen – anticipate how to avoid a problem.
  • Do what you feel will ensure your safety.

Maximise your safety when riding by constantly assessing your environment for any hazards that may cause a crash.

Scan the road for holes, gaps, uneven surfaces, debris and regularly look over your shoulder to check what is beside and behind you.

Do not wear headphones when riding. You must be able to hear potential hazards so you can react quickly.

Avoiding blind spots

A blind spot is an area outside a motor vehicle that cannot be seen in the rear or side mirrors of the vehicle.

When riding in traffic, it's important to increase your visibility by keeping away from motor vehicle blind spots.

Blind spots for bicycle riders
Be aware of blind spots around vehicles

Heavy vehicles

As a bicycle rider, you should be particularly aware of heavy vehicles including buses and trucks as they pose a great risk to your safety.

The size and weight of these vehicles results in many blind spots, and they need more room to turn and brake.

Remember, if you can't see the driver, they can't see you.

When heavy vehicles pass you at high speed, be aware that the wind will affect your stability and control of your bicycle.

Anticipating vehicle movement

Watch other road users  look at the movement of vehicle wheels, increases or decreases in speed, brake lights and the use of indicators that signal a change of direction.

Make eye contact with other road users and avoid riding alongside a motor vehicle for longer than required.

Stopping

When you need to stop, apply your back brake initially and then your front so that your bicycle comes to a gentle halt.

A sudden stop could send you over the handlebars and cause an injury.

Travelling behind a car

You must not ride your bicycle within 2 metres of the rear of a moving motor vehicle continuously for more than 200 metres.

Rail and tram tracks

Check both ways twice and listen for oncoming trains/trams before you cross a track.

Observe directions given by flashing lights or boom gates warning you of an oncoming train. To ride safely over tracks, approach at a right angle to avoid your wheels getting trapped.

If the crossing is too difficult to ride over, dismount and walk your bicycle.

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