10 road hazards for riders after rain

10 road hazards for riders after heavy rain

Riders tend to be more cautious when it’s wet, but after heavy rain has dried, there are still many road hazards of which riders should be aware and cautious.

We have come up with 10 hazards on sealed and unsealed roads that are unique to road conditions after rain, especially following a long dry spell as we’ve experienced.

The best advice for handling these is to anticipate, slow down and develop your emergency braking and avoidance skills.

10 hazards

  1. Over-confidence: After rain there may be good reason for improved confidence. Rain can clean roads of slippery oil and grime, while a short summer storm can cool the surface and improve grip when it has dried. But over-confidence can be a real danger for any rider, either on tarmac or dirt roads.
  2. Gravel: Rain can wash a road clean and also wash gravel on to the road. This can be a real issue on downhill blind corners where you can’t see the debris scattered across the road.

    10 road hazards for riders after rain
    debris washed across downhill blind corner
  3. Wet patches: Dry roads can still have some wet patches that are prolonged by the shade of trees which can also obscure the patches from a rider’s view.
  4. Animals: Wildlife favour the roadside for the “green pick” which is the succulent new growth that springs up after rain. It grows more lush at the roadside because of the runoff from both tarmac and crowned dirt roads.Roo kangaroo roadkill animals hazards
  5. Gravel driveways: Be aware when passing driveways. Some can be made of gravel that has been washed across the road.
  6. Soggy ground: Be careful when parking your bike on grass after rain as it could be soggy underneath and your side stand may sink.

    10 road hazards for riders after rain
    Stand sinks in soft ground
  7. Ruts: Dirt roads can turn to rivers in the rain and water will gouge deep ruts either across the road or in the same direction as your wheels. Both cause issues with stability and can be hidden around downhill blind corners.
  8. Mud pools: Pools of water are fun to splash through, but be aware they could be covering rocks or other hazards. Also four-wheeled traffic coming the other way will often drive around these puddles and come across your side of the road.

    10 road hazards for riders after rain
    Ruts and puddles can be dangerous
  9. Clay: Not all dirt has the same grip when wet or drying out. Crushed granite can actually have more grip when wet and volcanic red soil can dry to a concrete consistency. However, grip levels can change rapidly as the surface dries or heavy vehicles pummel the road back to gravel and dust. Also, be aware that clay can quickly dry to a thin crust. Don’t be deceived! Underneath it can still be a gooey trap for motorcycles.
  10. Water crossings: Just because the rain has gone does not mean water crossings are safe. It can take hours and days for water to flow down to the water crossing. It will also be flowing faster than normal which can cause disaster, especially if the bottom is slimy moss.

    Water crossings pick hazards
    Oh-oh … slime underneath!

Now click here for our wet weather riding tips.

  1. One of the small but alarming points is that leaves become torque multipliers. They dry out underneath more slowly especially in the shade and torquey bikes, especially cruisers, can suddenly go sideways on corners at very low speeds. Of all the effects listed above this is the one that has caught me out most!

  2. Forgot pot holes and pre pot holes aka sink holes fallen branches and soggy leaf litter.
    The water can erode under the road surface leaving the top looking ok until you drive over it. Unless it is a particularly large sink hole it will only cause a minor bounce as it crumbles away but if it is near a bend or the edge of the road look out! Watch for signs of erosion at the sides of the road and places where the road may have been submerged.

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