Riding a motorcycle is a very thrilling and exciting experience. It is also a reckless one if the roads aren’t suited for a high speed ride. Crack sealants are very dangerous to motorcyclists especially when not noticed. Thus, knowing what should you do when riding over crack sealants or tar strips might be the difference between life and death for a motorcyclist in such a situation.
Due to the fact that a motorcycle can’t balance itself like four wheel vehicles, any unevenness on the road can throw it off balance and create a hazardous situation. Statistics taken in 2016 have shown that motorcycle riders were 40 times more likely to be involved in road accidents than cars and other vehicles.
Crack sealants are used to seal cracks, seams, or surface joints to prevent water from getting in and causing further deterioration. Most motorcyclists do not notice crack sealants until it is too late. Being observant and noticing it before you get to it is the first key to coming out on top in that situation. The other key is knowing what to do.
Risks Associated With Driving Motorcycles Over Crack Sealants Or Tar Strips
It is not unusual for cracks on paved roads to be sealed with tar or other materials. Sealing roadway surface cracks with tar and other sealant materials is a common maintenance practice intended to prevent water intrusion and further pavement degradation.
Crack sealants or tar strips are names used to refer to bituminous rubberized sealers used to cover up or repair cracks on roads. They don’t just cover up tracks but also help to prevent further deterioration of the road by preventing water from seeping in through the cracks.
This maintenance measure has turned out to be a problem for motorcycles and motorcyclists as it negatively affects friction and causes irregularity on the road. Irregularity or bumps on roads is one of the major causes of motorcycle accidents.
Below are some risks associated with driving a motorcycle over crack sealant or tar strip.
- The texture of the sealant is usually different from that of the asphalt used to tar the road. Because of this difference, motorcycle tires responds to it in a different manner and this might not be good as it can make it go off course.
- The crack sealant or tar strip creates a bump or elevated surface on the road. This bump creates an unevenness which can affect the suspension. If this raised surface is not noticed early enough, it could cause an accident and lead to injuries to a motorcyclist.
- The crack sealant or tar strip exhibits different characteristics during different weather. In hot weather, the sealant is soft; in wet/ raining weather, the sealant becomes much slicker. This irregularity in the surface is bad for motorcyclists. Though you can use a road glide windshield to protect your motorcycle in rainy weather, but balancing the bike totally depends on the rider.
What Should You Do When Riding Over Crack Sealant Or Tar Strip?
For an unsuspecting motorcyclist, a tar strip is an imminent danger. And if he goes into it unknowingly, it might mean injuries. There are several ways a motorcyclist can overcome a crack sealant or tar strip, including-
As earlier mentioned, not discovering the presence of a tar sealant before going through it could mean danger. Being aware of cracks before going through gives the motorcyclist a chance to prepare his mind to take better control of the situation.
Reduce Your Speed
This can be done by slowly rolling off the gas and gently pressing on the brakes. Reducing your speed will allow you to evaluate the amount of traction you have available. After this, you can look through the turn to determine the best line to follow into the tar strip. The best line will take you through the points with more asphalt than tar strip.
If you notice your bike losing traction, remain calm because that will change when you leave the tar strip. Keep controlling the motorcycle and maintain a steady throttle. Not keeping a steady throttle or reducing it will transfer more weight to the front by loading the front suspension thereby overworking the front tire. When you arrive at the corner exit, apply the throttle slowly and smoothly in order to overcome the lack of traction caused by the tar strip.
Also, you should treat the cat sealant or tar strip as you would treat an icy surface. You can do this by using an appropriate curve entry speed and also reducing your lean angle.
Approaching the car sealant or tar strip at an angle of 90° is the most preferable situation when possible. In other cases, the angle should not be less than 45°.
When approaching a crack sealant or tar strip, it is best to loosen your grip on the motorcycle, as tightening your grip will only increase the problem. Loosening your grip allows you to operate the throttle and brakes in a slow and precise way.
Don’t try to swerve as this may lead to loss of control of the motorcycle.
In general, slowing down and keeping the motorcycle in an upright position can help overcome a crack sealant or tar strip. However, the best advice for motorcyclists on this matter of crack sealant or tar strips is to avoid them completely.
Car sealants or tar strips are a popular maintenance measure used to solve the problem of surface cracks. They also help to prevent water intrusion and further pavement deterioration. However, this turns out to be a problematic issue for motorcyclists. While there are many safety measures to take when riding over a crack sealant or tar strip, the best one is to avoid them completely.