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A tyre safety organisation has claimed that motorcyclists are ignoring advice and taking “dangerous and unnecessary risks” with their lives by failing to look after their tyres properly.

Tyresafe cited figures from the Department for Transport from 2008 that claimed that there was a 28% increase in the number of motorcycle accidents where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.

The organisation also claimed that statistics from VOSA, the motor vehicle testing agency, also suggested that motorcycle users need to pay greater attention to their tyres, with VOSA claiming that tyre defects in 2008/9 contributed  to 26,000 motorcycle MOT failures, equivalent to 75 per day, representing an increase of 1,500 on the previous year and an increase of 2,500 when compared with 2006/7.

“The sharp rise in the number of bike accidents being caused by faulty tyres is very worrying and completely unnecessary,” comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “Tyres play a vitally important safety role for motorcyclists and it is essential that they are properly maintained and looked after. Simple, regular checks of pressure, tread depth and condition could have gone a long way to preventing all of these avoidable accidents. Tyre safety is a year-round activity but it is particularly important for those riders who do not use their bikes all of the time to give their tyres a thorough inspection before they start using them again this spring. They should then make these checks part of their regular routine throughout the riding season.”

To combat the problem, motorcycle dealers across the UK will be offering free tyre safety checks throughout April, giving bikers the chance to get a free, no obligation visual inspection, looking in particular for any cracks, cuts or bulges in the tyre which can make it both dangerous and illegal. Examiners will also look for 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. Finally, the tread depth will be examined to make sure the tyre has sufficient tread to remove water from the road surface and meets the legal minimum tread requirements.

“Checking tyre condition, pressure and tread depth is a very quick and simple process,” added Jackson. “By taking just a few minutes to regularly carry out these checks, riders can significantly improve their safety and reduce their likelihood of being another road casualty statistic. For riders who are unsure about how to carry out the checks themselves they simply need to pop into their local dealer who is supporting bike tyre safety month where they can have the checks carried out for free, by qualified professionals.”

For further information about motorcycle tyre safety including a free downloadable information leaflet, visit www.tyresafe.org.

TyreSafe’s 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 handbookInspect tyres for cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded into the tread pattern and replace if necessaryUse 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

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