Reporting hazards and other issues on roads and shared paths can be one of the easiest ways that you can help keep your local area bike-friendly. But with over 100 local governments and several state government agencies responsible for cycling infrastructure in WA, knowing who is the appropriate agency to report to can be tricky, so we have prepared a guide on how you can determine who best to contact and have the best chance of your hazard rectified.
Government agencies genuinely want to ensure that their infrastructure is safe and well maintained. Community feedback is vital to help government agencies keep cycling facilities safe and comfortable.
The first thing to keep in mind when reporting a hazard is to be polite and respectful as, despite your best effort, the hazard you have reported may not be that government agency’s responsibility. Being respectful will also help ensure that the cycling community is viewed as helpful rather than unreasonable. For example, most shared paths along railway lines and major roads (known as Principal Shared Paths) are the responsibility of Main Roads WA, most other shared paths (can be known as Recreational Shared Path or just Shared Paths) are the responsibility of the relevant local government. However, there are always exceptions so it is best to politely check with the relevant local government and be prepared to resubmit your report if you are informed that they are not the responsible agency.
If you are reporting a small maintenance issue (e.g. tree pruning, small pothole, sweeping) this may get resolved straight away, larger requests may require some patience. Larger requests that may be expensive to resolve and may take time to budget and plan.
When submitting a report, provide as much information as you can so that the agency you are reporting to knows exactly what you are reporting and where it is. This will save you needing to answer follow up questions. For this reason, it is best to email your report so you can attach photos and a marked (google) map to give staff as much information they need to action your report.
What to include in your report:
- One hazard/issue at a time (start with the most important)
- Photos (some councils have attachment limits, so keep photos to under 10mb)
- Exact location (e.g. use your phone to get an exact GPS location or attach a marked aerial image from Google Maps)
- Time of day (if your reported hazard is time-dependent).
Keep a copy of your report so that if you need to send the report to a different agency you can easily copy and paste and resend.
TIP: For larger requests, keep a copy of your report and bring it to your council’s next Bike Plan community engagement activities (these are usually run every 5 years but differ from council to council).
To find which local government you should contact
- Zoom and click on the below map at the location of the hazard and take note of the local government name and email address that appears.
What if your local government asks you to forward your report to Main Roads WA or the Public Transport Authority?
- To report a hazard to Main Roads WA
- To report a hazard to the Public Transport Authority
- Email email@example.com
Take note of the report number and follow up if the hazard has not been resolved in a reasonable time (be fair).
Some examples of hazards that should be reported are:
- Bumps or cracks in a path surface due to the encroachment of tree roots.
- Areas of path prone to flooding/pooling
- Broken glass and overhanging tree branches.
- Caltrop or doublegee plants, which can puncture bike tyres.
- Excessive sand or debris that requires sweeping
- Cars parked or roadwork signage placed on or across paths.
- Hazards or issues during road and path works including on the designated detour route.
Motorbikes, trail bikes and other motor vehicles on shared paths
- Contact Police if the incident is occurring now and/or is causing danger – report the incident to the Police Assistance Centre on 131 444.
- If you are a reporting an incident that is no longer causing danger, please report to the relevant local government in the first instance. They may encourage you to also report to Crime Stoppers https://www.crimestopperswa.com.au/make-report/ so that Police are aware of the issue and can investigate.
By making these reports you tell your local government that cycling is important in your community and you will also feel the satisfaction that you have played your part in improving cycling in your local area and the entire cycling community will benefit from your contribution.