No Matter the Quality of a Bicycle Tire, Dry Rot Can Be an Unnoticed Killer

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For close to five decades, I have been an avid bicyclist.  For the past three and a half decades, I have also been a bicycle accident and defective tire lawyer.

This past weekend while inspecting a bicycle rim and bicycle tire prior to the first long bicycle ride of the season, I noticed a few small cracks on expensive high-quality bicycle tires purchased not so long ago. When I went to pump air into the tires to the required inflated pressure, the cracks were not as visible.  While dry rotting of a tire normally takes years, I was surprised to notice the presence of such a great number of small cracks on a relatively new bike tire.  One of my fellow riders told me not to worry about it and in fact, the bike shop mechanic also said these were not a problem.  The man who sold me the tires stated that the tires were not ruined and that the dry rot was not advanced enough to cause a problem.

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He stated that tires can be cracked yet safe as long as they are not splitting apart or if the bead isn’t connecting to the rim anymore.  He claimed that the tires were perfectly rideable with no worries.   Many bicyclists claim that tires inflated to the max pressure will most likely be fine even with the presence of small cracks.  I vehemently disagree.  As an experienced tire defect and bicycle accident lawyer, I have seen sudden, unexpected blowouts and failures that experts traced back to the existence of such defects.

As a bicycle accident attorney, I have learned that chance favors the prepared mind and have handled all too many cases involving deaths and catastrophic injuries to bicyclists and motorcyclists that could have been avoided by properly checking and replacing a problematic or defective tire.  Dry rot and cracks indicate a potentially unsafe situation.  Imagine a tire failure while traveling at excessive speeds downhill.

The Cause of Dry Rot on Bicycle Tires

Even though many bicyclists and motorcyclists are notoriously frugal, tires with dry rot should be replaced.  Rubber tires on bicycles and motorcycles undergo amazing stresses and tires degrade over time caused by the evaporation or breakdown of oils and chemicals in the rubber tire compounds as well as UV exposure, chemicals on roadway surfaces, and acid rain.  If you think of an old rubber band that has been sitting around, you will note that it loses its flexibility, becomes more brittle, and starts to crack at the surface.  The same thing happens to bicycle and motorcycle tires.  Many don’t give a second thought as to the dangers.

If one thinks about it, motorcycle and bicycle tires are stretched millions of times as they roll through life and in my mind, the most important safety element on a bicycle that should be maintained regularly is the tire.

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Many of the anti-aging chemicals used in tire compounds are more effective when a tire is heated up on a frequent basis which means that when motorcycles and bicycles are rarely ridden or accumulate low mileage, they are more likely to experience cracking and sustain dry rot.

I don’t care what other bike owners or bike mechanics say, if you notice cracks on your tires you should replace them.  It is also important to keep the inflated tire pressure at the recommended rating which will give you better handling and better wear, as well as a safe riding experience.

Speak to a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

The Philadelphia bicycle accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm have been recognized by their peers as top attorneys rated for the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards having been rated in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.  Our bicycle accident and motorcycle accident attorneys understand from experience on both sides of the fence how bicycle and motorcycle accidents happen and what needs to be done after an accident.  We always offer a free, no-obligation consultation.

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