Tires are among the most important components of vehicle safety as they are the only points of contact between vehicle occupants and the ground. Reliable tires are critical on any vehicle, but even more so a motorcycle. While a tire failure can cause a passenger vehicle to be uncontrollable, a motorcycle is much more likely to suffer a loss of control should its tire fail. Severe injuries and death are almost a certainty when a motorcycle tire fails.
One motorcycle tire that has a history of failures due to design and manufacturing defects is the Goodyear Dunlop D402. During a case lawyers in our firm handled last year against Goodyear Dunlop, we learned that numerous serious injuries and deaths were linked to D402 failures. Recently, one of the motorcycle world’s leading safety advocates lost his life when a D402 on his Harley experienced a sidewall blowout. Currently, there are at least five active cases in litigation involving this tire.
The Goodyear Dunlop 402 is made by Goodyear specifically for Harley-Davidson at its Buffalo plant in New York. As you may know, the D402 is a tubeless tire. To form an effective air seal, a tubeless tire relies on intense pressures of the tire bead area against the wheel rim flange to form an effective air seal. This is the area of the tire wheel assembly where the rubber of tire essentially fits to the rim. Even the smallest abnormalities or defects can compromise the air seal and lead to a catastrophic failure. When this tire fails, its loss of air pressure can be so sudden and severe that the sidewall actually blows out. Several of the tire failures that we are aware of occurred due to defects in this critical area.
Even though Goodyear and Dunlop have been aware of the issues with the D402 tires for numerous years, the companies haven’t responded properly. They have failed to take any corrective actions to the design or manufacturing processes of the tire to eliminate these safety issues. If you would like more information on this subject, contact Rick Morrison, a lawyer on our firm’s Persona Injury/Product Liability Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Rick.Morrison@beasleyallen.com. Rick has successfully handled a number of tire failure cases. He will be happy to discuss tire safety issues with you.