Dirt biking can be fun and exciting, but can also present several dangers to riders. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 24,000 riders under the age of 20 were treated for injuries related to off-road motorcycling, or dirt biking, between 2001 and 2004. Dirt biking injuries can occur while riding or when stopped before or after riding. The off-road environment of dirt biking creates some dangers to riders, as well. Wearing appropriate attire and safety gear and practicing safe riding precautions can prevent many injuries from occurring.
Dirt bikers are exposed to many risks and dangers while riding. The speed and height that can be reached when dirt biking increases the risk for bodily injuries. Because dirt bikes are commonly ridden very quickly over rough terrain or jumped over hills and ditches, the danger of falling from significant heights and hitting the ground with great force is high. Injuries from these types of falls or crashes include bruising, cuts and scrapes, muscle strains and sprains, fractured bones, joint dislocations, internal injuries, head injuries and, in some cases, death. Wearing appropriate attire and safety gear and dirt biking with caution can help prevent or reduce the risk for serious injury.
Prior to riding, after riding and after a fall or while stopped, there are certain dangers associated with dirt bikes. Mounting and dismounting the bike should be done out of the way of other traffic as unexpected or out of control bikes could cause a dangerous collision. Especially on a dirt bike track or trail, it is important to move away from the track or trail as soon as possible after a fall or crash and use caution as riders may not be able to see of have time to react to a stopped bike and rider.
There are many dangers associated with dirt biking because it is done in an off-road setting, through the woods, on trails or on specially made jumping tracks. Dirt biking through the woods or on trails in more remote areas can be dangerous, especially when riding alone. Mechanical problems with the bike or crashing in remote locations can leave riders stranded and exposed to the elements including wildlife, extreme temperatures and difficult terrain. To avoid these dangers, never ride alone and take maps and emergency gear, such as a cellphone or radio, flashlight, and food and water when riding in remote areas.
As with any motor vehicle, a dirt bike can present dangers to the rider because of mechanical failure or other problems. Mechanical or engine failure while riding with others or on a jumping track can be very hazardous as the rider and bike could become an obstacle for other riders or may jump short or long causing a fall and crash to the ground. In addition, dirt bikes have the potential for fire and burn injuries to the rider, especially after a crash or collision. To prevent or reduce the risks of mechanical failure or dangers, always inspect the dirt bike before riding and address any mechanical problems as soon as their are noted.
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation; Tips and Practice Guide for the Off-Highway Motorcyclist; August 2005
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation; Parents, Youngsters and Off-Highway Motorcycles; 2005
- CDC: Nonfatal Injuries from Off-Road Motorcycle Riding Among Children and Teens -- United States, 2001--2004; June 2006
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