Truck tyre debris a hazard to riders

Our highways are littered with shredded tyre debris mainly from trucks often using retreaded tyres, posing a significant danger to vulnerable riders.

Ride down any highway in almost any country and you will see heaps of tyre debris, mainly from trucks.

In the USA they quaintly call it “road gators” because they look like alligators crossing the road. Both should be avoided!

Retreads are cheap and legal so long as they comply with the Australian Standards. Retreads have a lower speed rating of 140km/h, but it is still well above the legal highway limit.

Modern retreading processes are supposed to be a lot more reliable and are even used in the airline industry and military.

Tyre debrisTyre debris

So why do we see so much dangerous truck tyre debris on the road such as the above which was dragged off a busy highway?

We assume that there must be a lot of rogue truck operators and tyre companies out there that are retreading the same tyres too often and/or overusing tyres. 

RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Russell Manning says retreads are mainly used by the heavy vehicle industry due to the high cost of new tyres.

“It would be financially and environmentally irresponsible to throw away a truck tyre just because the tread has worn down due the amount of raw materials that go into its manufacture,” he says.  

The displaced tyre treads you see on the road typically come from a rear (usually a trailer) axle so they’ve done a lot of work and have been retreaded a number of times before they failed.”  

Blowout danger

To avoid hitting these “road gators”, we suggest you avoid following vehicles too closely as they can obscure the road ahead.

Also ride in the wheel tracks as they are more likely to be cleared of debris by other vehicles.

Not only is truck tyre debris a danger to riders, but so are the tyres when they blow out as this video graphically shows.

That is why I always quickly ride past a truck and would prefer to cop a speeding fine than be hit by a blown-out tyre.


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