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Become familiar with your motorcycle manufacturer's inflation guidelines. Look in your motorcycle owner's manual to find the right PSI (pounds per square inch) of air pressure for your tires. Some bike manufacturers also list this formation on the bike itself. Common locations include the swing arm, front fork tubes, inside the trunk and under the seat.

Proper tire inflation is crucial to proper performance, tire service life and safety. Under-inflated tires overheat, are more prone to blow-outs, sidewall failure and premature wear. Similarly, over-inflated tires may fail prematurely and wear improperly.

Keep in mind that these recommendations are usually dependent upon the weight of you and your passenger, as well as any cargo. For instance, some manufacturers advise adding 3 or 4 PSI when carrying a heavy load. Know your vehicle weight and load, and follow the PSI recommendations specific to your motorcycle. Failure to do so can result in adverse motorcycle handling (wobble and weave) or tire failure, or both.

Check your tire pressure often and adjust as necessary, using an accurate tire gauge. Motorcycle tire manufacturers recommend checking pressure at least once a week. However, many motorcycle safety experts recommend checking tire pressure and tread wear every time you take your bike out.

Make sure you get a matching set of front and rear tires. Unlike car tires, you need to make sure that your motorcycle tires are a matched set. At a minimum, they should have complementary tread patterns, should both be either radial or bias ply, and ideally be the same make and model. Despite what some may say- Size matters. It’s best to choose replacement tires of the same size as the motorcycle’s original equipment tires. Remember that front and rear motorcycle tires are not designed to perform exactly the same functions and are not interchangeable. You'll need one front tire and one back tire of a complementary make, model and size.

Avoid riding on the shoulder or near medians where sharp objects and other tire-damaging debris tend to accumulate. Constantly monitor the way your motorcycle rides so you can detect any rapid air loss — and respond appropriately without delay.

While tire blowouts are not common, the absolute best way to “handle one” is to avert it before it happens. With today's tubeless tires, actual blowouts are rare, but may still occur. When tires do fail, the most common cause is improper tire pressure usually pressure that's too low. Checking the overall condition and pressure levels of your tires frequently can go a long way toward ensuring you'll never experience a blowout.

If one of your motorcycle’s tires should fail while you’re riding, you’ll need to react quickly and decisively to avert a crash. So take a few minutes now to familiarize yourself with the following steps for successfully handling motorcycle tire blowouts: Ease off the throttle and slow down gradually.

Do not use the brakes. Braking, especially braking hard will only make keeping control of your motorcycle even more difficult. If you must use some brake, apply gradual force to the brake on the good tire and ease your motorcycle to a safe stop.Beware! Using the brake on the wheel with the bad tire can cause the tire to separate from the rim, resulting in immediate loss of control. Be aware, however, that integrated braking systems don't permit rear-brake-only applications, while linked braking systems do not allow for single-brake operation. On motorcycles with either of these two systems, braking with the good tire only may not be possible. Any braking necessary should be done very lightly and with great care. Avoid downshifting too. Like braking, this will only make your bike less stable.

Firmly hold on to the handlebars while keeping your arms bent. Do not “fight” the steering to correct the wobble or weave that will likely develop. Focus instead on maintaining control by keeping your motorcycle directed in as straight a line as possible until it comes to a stop. Remain seated until your motorcycle has come to a full stop. Once stopped, push your motorcycle as far away from the travel lanes as possible. Until Next Time - Keep the rubber side down!

Ride Safe, Ride Smart, Ride Responsibly!

Teresa “Trauma Mama” McClelland
MSN RN
A.B.A.T.E of Arizona State Safety Officer

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