Even though I’ve been riding a dirt bike since forever now, when my son turned 7, I was still concerned about whether I should buy him a dirt bike or not! I had seen many people get injured, and even though I never had anything fatal, I was still frustrated, so I had to do some research. Well, as you can imagine, you google something simple and all kinds of serious injuries appear on the search results, so yes, I was terrified and I thought I’d probably wait for my son to at least turn 10, but that didn’t go as planned!
“Dirt bike riding is definitely a dangerous sport, there’s no doubt about that. However, there are many ways you can approach this sport without risking your well-being, and your family’s at the same time. You can only make a few changes to the way you ride, and it will dramatically reduce the risk of injury, making dirt bike riding a safe sport for everyone, including kids!”
I bought my son his first dirt bike when he was seven, even though I didn’t plan on it. See, I mentioned this to him that I’d buy him one so he can come with me, and then he started asking for it nonstop, so I had to stay true to my word. Once you start teaching your little one the basics and practicing with him/her, you’ll see that there’s really nothing to worry about, because you’re taking every safety precaution there is for your little one to be safe. This brings up the case, we shouldn’t be asking “Is dirt bike riding dangerous?”, because so is every other sport such as playing football, swimming, hiking, etc.
When you think about it that way, dirt bike riding doesn’t seem that dangerous! As parents, we’ve learned of a simple and easy way to keep our kids safe, give them the phone and let them play video games inside all day, but we’re really keeping our kids from enjoying and learning experiences from early on! We all care about our children’s health, so the fact that you’re reading this means that you want to know more about this topic. Well, I had to do it the hard way, I guess even though I knew the risks, I still bought my son a dirt bike, but what does that mean for you?
In this article, we will also mention four-wheelers aside from dirt bikes, mention the risks and point out the safety precautions you can take to enjoy dirt biking as a family without worrying about anyone getting injured. All the points that we will make are backed up with statistics and analyzed data, so with you knowing the risks and what to do to prevent those dangers from occuring, it will be up to you to decide whether dirt biking is a family sport or not! Although, it’s important to note that based on statistics, dirt bike riding is dangerous as it is every other sport, but based on what you can do so you can ride safely with your family, dirt bike riding will not seem that dangerous at all!
Injury statistics on dirt bike riding
We will try to point out some of the most interesting statistics on dirt bike riding injuries, and show you how a slight change in the way you ride can cut the risks of you or anyone close to you getting injured. First, let’s mention the obvious facts! Before everything else, make sure that you have all the necessary protective gear for you and your family, that’s one of the biggest aspects which can seriously reduce the risks of getting injured. Second, don’t drink when riding, and never ride a dirt bike that is more powerful than your skill level, and that goes also for your family members, make sure you choose the dirt bike you ride carefully!
I don’t want to mention this every time I talk about risks, but every sport is dangerous, so hopefully the following points will help you get an idea of how you can enjoy dirt bike riding safely with your family, and with your little ones!
- The majority of injuries that are serious enough to make the rider end up in the hospital happen in dirt bike racing at an official track, despite the fact that just a small percentage of dirt bikes are used at an official track. The message here is that motocross racing, jumping, and doing all kinds of maneuvers are far more dangerous than trail riding. Reliable Source!
- From 2000-2006, there was a high-percentage of deaths in ATV riding. Starting from 2006-2012, the death percentage rate dropped by 30%, and ever since then it has stayed at a constant low. From statistics, only 15% of ATV related deaths occurred in forests, while the majority occurred on paved and unpaved roads. Reliable Source!
- Riders of four-wheel ATV are more likely to die from their injuries than dirt bike riders. In fact, in percentage, ATV injuries are 50% more serious with a closer-to-death chance than dirt bike riding injuries. Reliable Source!
- 1/5 ATV related deaths include children of age under 16, but there’s no exact number and the one given is just a study that some students made a research about, and came up with the results that the number is closer to 25%.
- 35% of the injuries and fatalities made with dirt bikes were made because of alcohol. People that consume alcohol regularly, even just sips when they ride are more likely to crash which can result in serious injuries. Reliable Source!
- More than 50% of fatalities that happen due to the fact that the rider’s wear improper gear, or not wearing a helmet at all! Dirt bike riding without a helmet is something absurd, while apart from that, not wearing the correct size is as dangerous as not wearing one at all! Reliable Source!
- 90% of ATV related deaths are male riders. The cases where the rider survives all end up with broken bones, to be more precise a femur fracture which is the most common break in dirt bike related accidents. A high-percentage of bone fractures are below the waist. Reliable Source!
Is dirt bike riding safer than ATV riding?
There was a time where ATVs became a trend, and that was mostly from people converting from riding dirt bike’s to riding an ATV. Are you wondering why? Well, if you’re not informed well you end up making bad decisions, and that’s exactly what those people were informed. An ATV is more stable, so it can’t be more dangerous than a dirt bike, but that’s not entirely true. See, over 60% percent of ATV crashes are more fatal than dirt bike crashes, and study shows that the death percentage from ATV accidents is far more greater than with dirt bikes, while on the other hand, the injuries are almost always fatal, which clearly tells which one is safer and which one you should go for!
As to the question why are ATV crashes dangerous than dirt bike crashes, there are hundreds of logical reasons to explain that, for example, an ATV is heavier and it can crush the driver in an event of an impact, an ATV is larger which means it won’t throw you away if you crash, but instead you’ll end up hitting the ATV, and so on. Another reason I can think of why ATV riding is more dangerous is because riders feel more confident on a four-wheeler, thus, they go faster because it’s more stable, and that can result in a very bad outcome! Every reason mentioned seems logical and understandable, but I think that the weight of a four-wheeler contributes more to the risks of injuries, which also makes it more dangerous.
Since we mentioned that four-wheelers are heavy, let’s also point out the fact that an ATV weighs around 700 hundred pounds which is a very serious number! What happens if the rider takes a wrong turn and the vehicle falls on him? Well, 700 hundred pounds of metal impact on the victim with speeding force and momentum, and with all of that, I doubt that the rider can walk away from it! ATV riders also tend to not wear all the safety gear, in fact, helmet use is far less common than with dirt bikes, and that’s one of the main reasons why four-wheel riders are more open to injuries.
How to stay safe on a dirt bike
There are a lot of things you can do, and some of the things I’ll mention will seem pretty obvious to you, but you have to make sure that every safety box is checked before riding! Assuming you haven’t bought your first dirt bike yet, you should do a lot of research before buying it, choose it wisely because the benefits and joy you get from dirt biking depends solely on the dirt bike you use. Never buy a dirt bike just because it looks great, or a dirt bike that everyone is hyping about on the internet. Instead, buy a dirt bike that allows you to ride comfortable, a dirt bike of your own size, skill-level, and experience so you can control it.
Wear all the safety gear there is, don’t leave anything out. The helmet is the first thing you’ll want to buy and carefully choose the proper sizing for your head. A chest protector is as important as the helmet because it will protect the most sensitive areas of your body in an event of an impact. Knee braces will make sure your legs don’t get hurt from trees and rocks that might be on the way. Choose your dirt bike boots carefully, if you’re a trail rider, do research on dirt bike boots for trail riding, if you already have problem with your ankles, search for dirt bike boots for ankle support, and so on. All and all, don’t leave anything out, even gloves are important, they help you get a better grip of the handlebars when riding.
If you’ve done all of the above-mentioned things, you’ve pretty much taken 60% of safety measures than need to be taken before riding a dirt bike. What comes next is to learn the basics from a professional. You can take advice from a friend about a certain riding technique, but it won’t be as reliable as taking advice from a professional. Shane Watts is popular and professional rider who has launched 4 DVDs where he teaches new riders everything starting from basics to more complicated techniques that you’ll need while trail riding. If you have free time on your hands, I highly recommend you check those DVDs out because you can learn a lot from them.
Here are five things I would recommend you do to stay safe when dirt bike riding:
- Don’t push your boundaries, always know your limits
- Ride on designated trails because they have been certified as safe to ride a dirt bike
- Always stay focused on yourself and on the road, at all times
- Avoid paved roads because dirt bikes aren’t designed for that
- Never go solo, always go on your bike ride with at least one other partner
Dirt bike riding has plenty of advantages like every other sport, but I won’t mention the health and body benefits that come along with this sport because that’s not what this article is about. The guideline is, if you, or a family member of yours has decided to choose this lifestyle as a hobby, let yourself and them pursue this course, because with the right approach and the right safety precautions taken, dirt bike riding is not at all dangerous. Consider all the things you read in this article, if they seem logical to you, then you have nothing to worry about, approaching this sport the right way and making slight changes in the way you ride will reduce the risks of getting injured!
I hope this article was able to help you come up to a decision, and if by any chance I left any questions related to this topic unanswered, feel free to contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Please check out this link to see all the protective gear you need to have in order to ride safely a dirt bike. All of the articles are backed up with product reviews and other informative insights which will greatly help you on this journey that you’re hopefully taking!