A 62-year-old motorcyclist from West Kelowna sustained serious injury to his left leg Tuesday when he was struck by a tire that came off a pickup.
According to witnesses, the driver's-side rear wheel came off a southbound 2006 grey Dodge pickup from Manitoba on Highway 97 near Ponderosa Road in Lake Country, said RCMP Const. Steve Holmes.
"The wheel then passed the truck it had disengaged from, travelled southbound and across the centre line, striking a 2001 green Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was travelling northbound."
Lake Country RCMP, who received the call at 5:24 p.m., said the 53-year-old man driving the truck was unaware the tire was becoming loose.
"There was no vibration, no thumping or banging," said Holmes.
The tire had been replaced about a week earlier.
The motorcyclist was rushed to Kelowna's hospital with a severe leg fracture as a result of the combined speed of the tire and his motorcycle, which was significantly damaged. The pickup driver was unhurt and his vehicle was undamaged.
The likely culprit was lug nuts that became loose over time. Holmes advises motorists to have them re-torqued after a tire change and driving 100 kilometres, as recommended by many garages.
Holmes switches winter and summer tires on his wife's car, and always torques them and re-torques them after her car is driven a similar distance.
"It's surprising. Quite often, I get movement again. It is of value to do that, but how many people do that?" he said.
When switching his truck's heavy tires, Holmes keeps the re-torque notice on the seat to remind him to drop into the tire shop on his way home.
When he was working in Hope, a fully loaded semi-trailer lost one of its rear tires due to metal fatigue of the rim around the lug nuts. When Holmes tracked down the driver at the Coast, the driver had no idea he'd lost a tire until he stopped for another reason and noticed the tire missing. The tire rocketed through a residential yard and knocked down a fence.
"Thankfully, there was nobody in the yard at the time. It was really going," said Holmes. "You don't hear of tires coming off that often, thankfully."