February 19, 2014
Certain regions in Canada restrict studs, but studs that hide during better weather could change the law
Finnish tire producer Nokian revealed an innovative (if not new) concept last week: a new tire with retractable studs.
Those of us in more rural Canadian locales are very familiar with studded tires. In icy conditions, the studs have the ability to provide extra grip, but also have some downfalls. The main one being additional noise when driving a car equipped with studded tires. The other issue, which is more political, is studs aren’t allowed to be used in certain regions.
For example, the province of Ontario forbids the use of studs in the Southern region, citing additional damage to roads. However, as Regulation 625 stipulates, cars registered in Northern Ontario are allowed to use the technology.
Retractable studs could change that. If studs could be used in conditions that called for them and retracted when not needed, they could become legal.
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation has the final say in studded tire usage in the province, and since the tire is in a concept phase, they prefer to take a “wait and see” approach.
“While the ministry certainly welcomes, and is willing to consider, innovative new products that could improve road safety, it is important to emphasize our understanding that this product remains in the concept stage and thus it is too early to comment with any certainty,” stated ministry spokesperson Ajay Woozageer.
The concept was popularized by the 1987 James Bond film “The Living Daylights” where the British spy’s Aston Martin Vantage Volante was equipped with retractable studded tires.
Skip ahead to just before the 3:00 minute mark to see Bond’s Aston in action.