What Are “Tank Slapper” Motorcycle Accidents?

What Are “Tank Slapper” Motorcycle Accidents? Every motorcyclist enjoys the thrill of a fast ride. But going too fast on your bike can lead to the death wobble, or the “tank slapper.”

A tank slapper motorcycle accident can happen when the front tire goes out of alignment with the rear tire. Once the front tire is out of alignment, it will try to get back into alignment with the rear tire and start the wobble. Tank slappers can happen to both experienced and beginner riders. They are life-threatening situations that can seriously hurt or kill riders. But riders are not the only ones who can cause tank slappers.

Common causes of tank slapper accidents

Tank slappers can either be caused by the rider or the motorcycle. The motorcycle can cause a tank slapper when the setup is wrong. For example, the motorcycle is in danger of losing alignment when the front suspension rebound and compression is off.

Riders can cause tank slappers to happen when they tighten their grip on the handlebars, which can add to the wobble’s momentum. Coming down too hard after a wheelie can also cause a tank slapper. But there are other parties whose negligence can cause these types of accidents.

Road defects

If there are dangerous road conditions like potholes or uneven surfaces, these conditions can cause tank slappers. Riding over these conditions, even at low speeds, can cause serious alignment issues with motorcycles.

Motorcycle riders are safest when they’re traveling on smooth and even roadways. That is why riders set speed records on flat surfaces in light wind conditions.

Even roads with sharp corners can put riders in danger. The bike’s front wheel or suspension can be set off when riders turn corners too soon or too quickly. This can cause the handlebars to suddenly shake out of control.

Responsibility of road maintenance

It is the responsibility of the local or state government agencies to maintain the roadways. Adequate road maintenance includes removing any potholes, obvious debris, and uneven surfaces from the roads. These are the conditions that can cause serious damage to a vehicle’s tires. Potholes in particular can mess with the alignment of the front and rear tires.

When government agencies deliberately fail to deal with road conditions, that is an act of negligence. Like all acts of negligence, they can place several people in harm’s way.

Motorcycle defects

Another party whose negligence can cause tank slappers are motorcycle manufacturers.  The motorcycle design itself can lead to alignment issues. If the handlebars or tires are already defective, riders are guaranteed to face problems with alignment.

What are the dangers of tank slapper accidents?

When riders try to calm the bike down during a tank slapper, it can make the situation worse. When the wobble cannot be controlled, it becomes stronger and stronger until the rider is thrown off of the bike. The lack of control with a tank slapper can cause you to experience traumatic brain injuries, road rash, spinal cord injuries, and fractured bones. Being ejected from a motorcycle can lead to catastrophic injuries.

Dealing with a tank slapper can also cause serious physical and psychological trauma. You can experience serious mental disorders after your accident. You can suffer from PTSD symptoms, anxiety, and depression. You may have to overcome emotional distress before being able to ride on a motorcycle again.

These issues can affect your ability to enjoy riding for a while, or ever again.

How to prevent tank slappers while riding in Kansas City

Tank slappers are common issues for older motorcycles. Many modern motorcycles come with dampers installed on the handlebar, which can help prevent oscillations from happening and allow the rider to maintain control.

However, there is a way for riders to regain control of the handlebars if the tires lose alignment. The best action that riders can take during a tank slapper is to resist fighting it. Trying to apply opposite force to the handlebar can make the situation worse. The motorcycle is trying to form a straight line by itself when the tires lose alignment. If you keep the throttle at the same position and place light pressure on the handlebar, the motorcycle will straighten itself out. You also want to avoid suddenly releasing the throttle or slamming on the brakes.

To avoid losing control of your bike, avoid suddenly switching gears as you ride. Riding smoothly can prevent your tires from wobbling. A sign that you are aggressively switching gears is the shake of the motorcycle at every gear shift. This can increase the chances of the tires wobbling.

Who is responsible for my Kansas City motorcycle accident?

If your motorcycle tires were affected because of dangerous road conditions or defective parts, you can hold different parties liable for your injuries.

One of the parties is the government agency responsible for road maintenance. Government agencies have a duty to remove dangerous hazards from the roads. If it is proven that the government agencies deliberately ignored any potholes or debris, you can hold those agencies responsible for your injuries.

Just like the government agencies, motorcycle manufacturers have a duty to prevent any hazards from happening to you. Motorcycle manufacturers have a legal obligation to produce safe and hazard-free products for you and other consumers to use. Defective motorcycle parts can constitute an act of negligence. That means that the manufacturer failed to properly investigate their product before introducing it to the marketplace. You can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer to seek your compensation.

After suffering injuries from a motorcycle accident, we want to help you get back on your feet. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our lawyers are passionate about helping you get the justice that you deserve. To learn more about our services, call or text our office at 816-471-5111, or fill out our contact form. We have an office in Kansas City, but can also meet with you in Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph and Parkville, MO, as well as Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City, KS, by appointment.