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Harley Tire Issues and The Need For More Safety

Today, I want to discuss an article that’s been going around some of the biker groups here in Georgia and throughout the United States.

Some of the takeaways are for the safety of all motorcycle riders and what advocacy groups can do to start getting involved with some of the broader safety issues.

The article I’m referring to is the tire defect allegations against Goodyear on Harley Davidson motorcycles.

What Is The Defect In Question?

What has happened is there is a Goodyear tire that Harley Davidson used on its motorcycles starting back in 2006 and going forward. It’s called the Dunlop D 402 tire and here are some of the stats.

These tires are used on Harley Davidson’s, and they’ve failed allegedly in 11 states, and have caused four deaths and 22 injuries, that we know of. All of which have occurred since 2006, with this article specifically mentioning the Morris’.

The Morris’ are a husband and wife who were traveling in 2008 up to Myrtle Beach for their anniversary weekend. When driving through Georgia, their tire allegedly blew out, and Mr. Morris lost control.

His wife was on the back of the bike, and she passed away. Mr. Morris was severely injured, he has recovered, but lost his wife. This article goes talks about the defect and how on that particular tire, there were only 700 miles on the tire. This issue was present on 12 different lawsuits across the country against Goodyear.

Has There Been A Recall For These Harley Tires?

Now, there has not been a recall on these specific tires, and Goodyear says it’s not defective. However, this is just one of three issues.

The first issue is overloading, the second is the under-inflation of the tire, and the third is defects in the road causing the tire to blow out.

Many of them have been settled, while others are still going on with the lawsuits.

So, I leave it up to you all as to whether you think if you’ve got this tire you need to replace it or not. Again, no national recall yet, but it is certainly of concern.

What Can We Learn From This?

Here’s the broader takeaway from the investigation that provides a safety perspective for all of us riding motorcycles.

Obviously, as Goodyear’s arguments in these cases go, you need to be looking at the inflation of your tires constantly, and you need to be looking at overloading of your bike, and obviously avoiding hazards on the road.

But, when it comes to defects in tires and how to avoid them, there’s really no way. Here are the two areas that are of concern.

One, all cars and SUVs since 2007 have to be manufactured with tire monitoring software. You’re probably familiar with that if you’ve got a 2007 or earlier model. Bikes don’t have to have it.

If you have a blowout, you’re more likely to be injured or killed on a motorcycle than you are in an SUV or other four-wheeled car.

How that has slipped through regulations is unacceptable.

The second one is there’s no requirement that the rim of the wheel of a bike must contain the tire when there’s a flat.

It’s beyond a run-flat tire, they’re talking about not having a full on blow out where the tire just disintegrates, and all you have is the rim itself. Obviously, that’s a big concern for motorcycle riders as you lose control.

This technology has been required since 2007 on SUVs and other four-wheeled vehicles, but not on motorcycles. Again, this is unfavorable to me because this has not been dealt with.

When we’re talking about a device such as a bike that you lose control, that could be the end of your life, unlike when you’re in a secure car or SUV.

If you’ve got these Dunlop tires, make your own decision on whether you think they need to be replaced, especially given the evidence that’s out there.

Again, there has been no national recall yet, but there’s growing evidence of something being awry with these tires given the number of incidences that are out there and to look at these two initiatives. We need to see if there’s anything that bikers or safety groups can do to advocate to have the laws changed, so manufacturers of tires for motorcycles and the motorcycle manufacturers themselves have to abide by the same regulations for SUVs and other motor vehicles.