Water crossings

Video reminds riders of flood caution


This video reminds riders to approach flooded roads with caution as flooding is expected to continue across four eastern states and South Australia over the next few weeks.

The above comical, but serious, video comes from Mumbai, India, where four days of constant rain has flooded many roads.

NSW, Victoria and southern Queensland country is awash after weeks of storms and riders report not only a lot of flooded roads, but also severely damaged roads. Now “cyclonic” storms are set to hit South Australia.

More severe wet weather is also predicted throughout summer which highlights the official caution to all motorists: If it’s flooded, forget it!

Police are fining motorists hundreds of dollars for negligent driving if they attempt to cross flood waters and get stuck, requiring rescue.

Don’t be that idiot who takes their bike out to go playing in flooded waters and ends up losing their bike and forcing emergency services personnel to risk their lives trying to save you.

Water crossings can be enormous fun, but it’s just not worth it when the water crossing is flooded.

Water crossings cautionYou may have crossed this particular crossing before and think that the water is just a little higher than normal. However, there could be a sink hole underneath and you could lose your bike like the Indian rider in the video.

Worse, you could be swept away in the fast-running waters.

Flooded water is unpredictable. Is the level still rising, how fast is the water flowing, is it flowing at different rates in different parts of the crossing, is a sudden surge of more water on its way, is there a hidden deep hole like in the Indian video, what objects have been washed down and are now submerged underneath such as barbed wire?

There are too many unknowns.Water crossings caution

One of my water crossing failures was in a low-flooded causeway. I was riding a big Yamaha Super Tenere through on the clear wheel tracks but the water was flowing faster where there was a gap in the weeds upstream.

Even though it was a low level and the bike substantial, the water velocity was enough to push my front wheel slightly off track, into the slime and down I went.

I was lucky not to be swept off the causeway into the fast-running creek.

It was a stupid thing to do and I acknowledge that.

water crossings flooded caution

After the storms have passed and the skies turn blue, there will be an enormous temptation to go out and play in the waters.

However, flood waters can take a lot of time to subside, so continue to ride with caution and read our tips for water crossings.

  1. Some years back I decided to go exploring to see what damage had been done after a severe tropical cyclone. My sports tourer would have been hopeless in those conditions and there were many places that my 4WD would not get through so I used my dirt bike. My main concern was the possibility of getting flat tyres because there were trees and branches everywhere as well as iron, nails and a lot of other debris from shattered buildings. Fortunately that did not happen.

    I stayed out of any deep flood waters but in one place I rode through a section about 40cm deep. Surprisingly the water was clear enough that I could just see the white line so I rode down the centre of the road. If I could see the line I could be sure that the road had not been washed away.

    The wind had stripped the rainforest bare and there were piles of leaves everywhere. While riding up a hill I came across a fallen tree that blocked my side of the road and I had to stop because a car was coming the other way. The road in front of the tree was carpeted with wet leaves and when these are piled on top of each other they give almost no traction. The bike skidded into the tree but I remained upright (learn to ride properly and you don’t need ABS) and because it was uphill I had slowed enough for the long travel suspension to absorb the impact with no harm done. I paddled backwards with my feet but then had a lot of trouble starting off because, going uphill, the rear wheel just spun on the wet leaves.

    The biggest danger turned out to be powerlines. There was no danger of being electrocuted because the whole network was dead and there was no power within 80km (it took 3 weeks for the power to be restored to my home). We tend to think of downed powerlines as being flat on the ground, and if that had been the case they would not have been dangerous. But in many places one power pole was flat on the ground while the next one was still standing and the lines were hanging across the road, often at head height. Powerlines are hard to see and it is difficult to judge their distance (this has killed many ag-pilots). On roads that were being used by trucks and other vehicles I knew there would be no danger. But on minor roads I had to watch out for power poles, both standing and flat on the ground, and then look to see what was attached to them. It was annoying because I wanted to look around but instead I was totally focussed on looking for power poles. These days I am mostly a road rider but, as well as my other bikes, I always keep a dirt bike or trail bike for experiences like this.

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