Motorcyclists are being urged to be particularly vigilant of potholes this spring as the country’s road surfaces suffer following one of the harshest winters on record. With AA Insurance reporting a 300 percent increase in accident claims due to pothole damage in February 2009, TyreSafe is advising motorcyclists to keep a close watch on the condition of the road as many gear up for long trips over the Easter bank holiday.
“The contact patch between a motorcycle tyre and the road is smaller than a car tyre’s contact patch, meaning that optimal grip is critical,” comments TyreSafe chairman, Stuart Jackson. “Bikers rely more on the condition of the roads than car drivers, as any uneven surfaces can be felt directly by the rider when steering and cornering. A deflection caused by a pothole could easily result in the biker losing control of the bike and falling onto the road.”
The ‘freeze and thaw’ effect experienced during periods of cold weather accelerates the deterioration of road surfaces and the creation of potholes. When the temperature drops, rainwater contained within cracks in the tarmac expands and breaks up the bitumen. Riding over potholes can cause significant handling problems for motorcyclists, as the resulting loss of grip reduces their ability to maintain control of the bike, particularly as they lean into corners, when stability is crucial. The impact caused by a tyre hitting a pothole could also cause damage to their tyre, potentially resulting in a bulge on the tyre sidewall as the structural integrity of the tyre is compromised.
“Any motorcyclists who are concerned about potential damage to their tyres caused by potholes or poor road surfaces should visit their local tyre dealer for professional advice,” says Jackson. “Many dealers will be offering free tyre checks as part of Bike Tyre Safety Month, which will run throughout April.”
For further information about motorcycle tyre safety or Bike Tyre Safety Month, please visit www.tyresafe.org
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001. TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%.
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