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10 traffic hazards on rider lookout list

Western Australia WA government lane filtering consultation paper and online survey traffic look stealth

Apart from scanning the road for hazards such as potholes and gravel, riders need to be on the lookout for potential hazards in the traffic.

Motorbike Writer reader Moe Adamson approached us with a number of suggestions for traffic situations that could be particularly hazardous to riders.

We have increased his list to 10 and are asking readers to help build a more comprehensive list of potential hazards.


1 Unsecured loads:  Riders should be on the lookout for tradie utes with unsecured loads or big items such as ladders that are only held on with occy straps. Under Queensland law, offenders can be fined $243 and lose demerit points if they do not secure their load. The law should be widened to other states!

Unsecured load in a ute look
Unsecured load in the back of a ute

2 Hi-ace vans with undermount spare wheels: These wheels are not secured by safety chain and can be bumped out. 

3 4×4 tailgate mounted spare: These can often fall off and bounce into the path of a following rider.

4 Wobbly hubcaps: Not only are these likely to come adrift, but they are a good indication of the low standard of upkeep by the motorist which could mean a dangerously unroadworthy vehicle.

5 Trailers: Trailer maintenance is often neglected, leading to seized wheel bearings and wobbly wheels which can cause an accident. Again look out for loads not secured properly, boats not tied down and faulty brake and indicator signals.

Passing lanes gap look6 Weaving and slowing cars: Cars that weave around or slow down for no reason are a good indication that the driver is distracted by their mobile phone, infotainment system, kids fighting in the back seat, pets or something else. The driver could also be drunk, under the influence of a drug or tired.

7 Trucks: Not only do motorcycles disappear in the many blind spots around trucks, but you also need to look out for unsecured loads. Who hasn’t been sandblasted by debris behind a truck? Sand or grit can blind you if your visor isn’t shut. Also, be aware that truck tyres are often retreads and can delaminate, sending dangerous rubber shrapnel flying like in this video.

8 Hire vehicles: These are an indication of a tourist driver who could be from overseas and may wander on to the wrong side of the road! They may also be unfamiliar with the area and suddenly make a dangerous turn they almost missed on their satnav.

9 Uber and taxi drivers: The professional standards of taxi drivers has diminished in recent years. Together with the influx of non-professional Uber drivers, they are to be avoided for their erratic driving.

10 Volo and Camry drivers: Ok, we know this is pigeonholing, but there do seem to be particular brands that attract people who are either lulled into a false sense of security by the vehicle’s safety features or are simply not interested in driving!

Now add your traffic hazards that riders should be on the lookout for. Put your comments in the section below.

  1. Cyclists scooters and pedestrians in traffic.
    Cyclists and scooter riders tend to pop out of nowhere to filter through traffic without even the slightest thought that they aren’t the only bike on the road. Pedestrians can jump out in front of you sometimes deliberately especially if they are drunk either on alcohol drugs or the power of a uniform. I have on several occasions had to avoid an idiot in uniform who has jumped out from behind a vehicle or bush to flag down a vehicle not even looking at what might kill them just like a child chasing a ball.
    Trucks with duel wheels leaving construction sites , the road surface near construction sites and barriers near construction sites.
    The tyres of trucks can trap a large amount of crap that can fling back at you especially large rocks caught in duels, the road surface can be covered in slippery muck and nails etc.
    The barriers can get blown about by the wind or get bumped into your path.

  2. Traffic lights that have just turned green, there’s always the chance of a driver who thought he could just get orange/yellow, but has failed misserably.

    The tail end of a traffic jam, keep some distance (if you’re not allowed to filter) and keep prepared to GTFO incase somebody is distracted by some techno-gizmo.

  3. Sheep and cattle trucks – a sub category of trucks in general, but with the added “pleasure” of being struck by stinking excrement. And it IS definitely an offence in WA to have an unsecured load – although I don’t know what the fine is.

  4. Number 10 (Volvos) is out of date. The aged, inattentive/distracted and generally-incompetents who used to favour the ugly but safe Volvos all left the brand about 10 years ago and started buying Subarus (when Volvo was bought by Ford and Volvo’s stopped being ugly and boxy) . These days it’s “Bloody Subaru Driver”!

  5. LOL Volvo and Camry drivers. This is a common belief and therefore must have elements of truth in it.
    Also drivers with hats.

  6. Or young P plate drivers (mostly women) who think it is there absolute right to do makeup/ hair/ selfie shots in whatever lane they want. Rear view mirrors are for checking how you look, right?!

  7. Re Item # 10. Please add in Honda Civic drivers. They have taken over from the Volvo drivers!

    1. I remember well the curse of the Volvo drivers in the 80’s & 90’s (I had a helmet at the time with the sticker “Volvo aware rider” on it), they don’t seem to be as bad this century though, BMW & dual cab ute drivers seem far worse these days.

  8. Drivers that are facing the Sun. I’ve had a few turn across in front of me so am always on the lookout when in these situations.

  9. The #1 hazard is motorcycle riders who think lane splitting is a good idea. It’s one of those “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” things.

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