No matter what vehicle you drive, the condition of your tires is critical. This is especially true when it comes to motorcycles. In a car or truck, a bad tire can be supported by the other three tires for at least a short time. With motorcycles, however, riding with one worn tire can be fatal. Stories of motorcyclists losing their lives come out every day around the country. Many times, a faulty tire can be the culprit and cause of the fatality.
Worn tires on your motorcycle can be life-threatening. Let’s take a closer look at what to do before you ride, and what to do while riding, to be sure your tires are in good shape.
How to Conduct a Pre-Ride Motorcycle Inspection
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation lists the following acronym to help with pre-ride bike inspections: T-CLOCS – this stands for Tires and Wheels, Controls, Lights and Electrical, Oil and Fluids, Chassis, and Sidestand. You must inspect each of these each time before you ride your motorcycle. While all of these are critical for a safe ride – the condition of your tires is paramount.
First, be sure your tires have enough air. Then, check the tread depth. Many tires will have a wear indicator strip at 1/32” from the bottom that shows when the tread is too worn to ride on. When your tire reaches 1/32”, it’s no longer safe. You can check this with a tread depth gauge, but if you don’t have one, you can use a penny. When you insert a penny into the groove, you want to make sure you can’t see Lincoln’s head. The top of Lincoln’s head is at 2/32”. At this point, most tire manufacturers recommend replacement. When the tread is worn below that point, you know it’s time to invest in new tires.
What Warning Signs for Worn Tires Should You Be Aware of?
When your tires are worn and become dangerous, you’ll feel warning signs when riding your motorcycle. If your bike starts to wobble, you’re usually low on air. If your motorcycle starts to vibrate, makes a weird sound, or the handling becomes unstable – that’s an indicator that the sidewall of your tires is too worn or separating.
If you experience any of these warning signs while riding, slow down and pull over as soon as it’s safe. You’ll want to replace your tires right away, or if that’s not possible mid-ride, be sure you have enough air to reach your destination. Tires are worn from the constant cycle of heating up and cooling down. When you initially get on your bike to ride, the tires are cool. After you get moving, they heat up. When you stop riding again, they cool back down. This cycle is what causes the tread and what causes the sidewall to separate.
Another effect of this heating up and cooling down of the tires is the hardness of the rubber. As you ride your bike over time, the rubber begins to harden to the point that it’s unsafe. You don’t want the rubber to be too firm for safe operating. One way to check this is to press down your fingernail into the rubber – you should see a fleeting indent from your nail. If the rubber is too hard to leave an indent, it’s time to replace it. Hardened rubber diminishes the traction of your tires against the road. We also see this in the tires of motorcycles that are rarely used. These tires can become dry rotted – essentially the oils in the rubber begin to evaporate, the chemical bonds break down, leaving a dry tire behind.
Ensuring that the rubber of your tire is in excellent condition keeps you riding safe.
Trust St. Petersburg’s Motorcycle Accident Attorney with Your Claim
Your tires significantly affect the safety and operation of your motorcycle more so than any other vehicle. Keeping them in good condition keeps you riding safely. At Marsalisi Law, we care about the thriving motorcycle community of St. Petersburg, FL.
If you’ve ever been injured while riding your motorcycle, contact Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi. He’s recovered millions of dollars for victims of motorcycle and car accidents in and around St. Pete, FL. He specializes in motorcycle crash cases and will stand up for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Call (727) 800-5052 to Talk to Frank. The consultation is free. You can also fill out a contact form online.
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