Don’t gamble with bike tyre safety
As April’s bike tyre safety month continues, TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, is highlighting the high price that motorcyclists continue to pay for not looking after their tyres properly.
The latest Department for Transport road casualty figures show there were 82 motorcycle accidents in 2009 where illegal, defective or underinflated tyres were a contributory factor.
Although it represents a slight decrease on 2008, each one is an avoidable accident, says Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, who warns motorcyclists not to be complacent about their tyres.
“Whilst we welcome the news that there are fewer tyre related motorbike accidents, the number is still far too high. Tyres play a crucial part, perhaps the most important role, when it comes to motorbike safety as they are the only point of contact that the bike has with the road surface.”
Additionally, statistics from VOSA’s MOT data reveal that the level of tyre neglect still needs to be addressed. The percentage of motorbikes failing their MOT first time because of defective tyres and wheels in 2009/10 remained at just under 4 percent, similar to the previous year.
However, to help motorcyclists ensure their tyres are in a safe and roadworthy condition, TyreSafe has teamed up with tyre and motorcycle dealers across the UK to offer a free tyre safety check throughout April’s bike tyre safety month.
The checks will include a visual inspection, looking in particular for any cuts, bulges or cracks in the tyre, plus any any irregular wear patterns which can be a sign of problems with other components, set-up or riding style.
Pressures will be checked against the recommended levels with any necessary adjustments made for any pillion or pannier loads. The tread depth will also be examined to make sure the tyre has sufficient tread to remove water from the road surface and meets the legal minimum tread requirements.
Jackson adds: “To help avoid becoming another road casualty statistic, riders should check their tyres at least once a week. Particular attention should also be paid before the first ride of the season, especially if their motorbike has been stored in the garage over the winter months. Dealers supporting bike tyre safety month will be delighted to carry out the checks for free for motorcyclists who are unsure about how to do it themselves.”
TyreSafe top tips for motorcycle tyre safety:
– Check your tyre pressures from cold at least once a week using an accurate gauge
– Inflate tyres to the level recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook
– Inspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded into the tread pattern and replace if necessary
– Use dust caps to keep dirt away from the valve core and to act as a secondary air seal
– If your rims are cracked or bent they should be replaced immediately
– Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1mm (for bikes over 50cc)
– Replace old or damaged valve stems
– Select the correct type of tyre for your machine and riding style
– Check that both tyres fitted to the bike are made by the same manufacturer and have the same tread pattern
– Make sure that your tyre has been fitted the right way round by checking the directional arrows on the sidewall
– When replacing tube type tyres always use a new inner tube make sure your tyre/wheel assembly is balanced correctly
– Keep oil and grease off your tyres using detergent if necessary
If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your bike to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.
For more information about motorcycle tyre safety or bike tyre safety month, visit www.tyresafe.org/bikesafety