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What should you do if your motorcycle’s tire blows out while on a ride

As with all emergency situations, presence of mind is key.

What should you do if your motorcycle’s tire blows out while on a ride

Although they are uncommon with today's tubeless tires, blowouts are still possible and can be an extremely harrowing experience. The most frequent reason for tire failure is poor tire inflation, more especially, tire pressures that are too low. This is because using a tire pressure that is significantly lower than what the manufacturer advises can lead to uneven tire wear, especially on the sidewalls, which increases the risk of tire failure.

As a result, regularly inspecting your tires' general condition and air pressure can help to ensure that you never encounter a blowout. Tire blowouts can also be caused by worn-out or defective tires.  Most manufacturers recommend a shelf life of no more than five years for most tires, so if your bike is rolling on rubber older than half-a-decade, change them out for added peace of mind.

Having said that, it is our responsibility as motorcycle riders to be prepared for the unexpected, which includes handling a tire blowout while on the road. It seems logical that if a tire on your motorbike were to fail while you were traveling, you would need to move swiftly and decisively to avoid a collision. So spend a few minutes now getting familiar with the following procedures for handling motorbike tire blowouts smoothly and safely.

Avoid any sudden movements

What should you do if your motorcycle’s tire blows out while on a ride

The moment you realize either of your tires have blown out, stay calm and try not to panic. Ease off the throttle gently—not abruptly—and gradually let the bike slowdown through its own rolling resistance. Don’t make any sudden maneuvers on the bars or with your body, and just focus on keeping the bike upright and moving in a straight line.   

Stay off the brakes

If you experience a tire blowout and your bike is equipped with ABS, chances are the braking system will have already entered an error state rendering your ABS useless or severely compromised. In such a scenario, if at all possible, avoid stepping or tapping on the brakes as this could further unsettle an already unstable bike, or worse, cause the deflated tire to unseat from the rim resulting in an unavoidable crash. Instead, if you’re on an open road, allow your bike to coast to a stop and carefully make your way to the outermost lane. 

Don't "fight" the bike

What should you do if your motorcycle’s tire blows out while on a ride

In the event of a tire blowout, your motorcycle will wobble, and violently shudder. This could give you the false impression that it’s going to want to break away from moving in a straight line. However, in most cases, it’s the rider trying to over-correct the situation that causes the motorcycle to lose control. Instead, stay calm, let the bike do its thing, and hold the handlebars firmly. That said, it’s important to keep your arms, torso, and legs loose and limber, allowing you to move with—not against—the bike. Those of you with off-road riding experience will be extremely familiar with this technique. 

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