Safety Tip: When the Tire Fails

Northern Colorado IMRG Safety Tip “When the Tire Fails”

I’ve been asked this question quite often by riders, so I figured it probably ought to be a safety tip for all to read…

Braking a motorcycle under ideal conditions seems rather simple. Emergency braking, a little more complex; requiring lots of practice. But braking and bringing your bike to a safe stop when a tire fails is a whole different animal.

When a tire fails, and they don’t very often, the most important thing is to get the motorcycle stopped as soon as possible. The longer the wheel with the deflated tire spins, the increased chance it will come off the rim. The first action is not to panic. Immediately roll off the throttle and quickly, but gradually get over to the side of the road. No drastic steering inputs. If you do, you WILL lose control. Use the opposite break of the deflated tire; so if it’s a rear tire flat or blowout, utilize the FRONT brake only. If you apply pressure to the lever controlling the deflated tire, you will dramatically increase the chance of the tire separating from the rim. Downshifting would be okay if it’s the front tire that is effected, but if it’s the rear tire, downshifting will apply the same type of forces on the rear wheel as the brake.

All in all, it’s a bad day when this type of event occurs. By conducting risk-mitigation measures, you can greatly reduce your chances of having tire failure. Utilize the proper pre-ride inspection (T-CLOCS) to ensure there are no foreign objects stuck in the tires or significant damage to the tire. Make sure you check and adjust air pressure in the tires accordingly.

Until next time, Ride Safe!