Rules for Racing Dirt Bikes

by Robyn Lynne Schechter
Dirt bike racers must wear protective clothing.

Dirt bike racers must wear protective clothing.

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Dirt bike racing, also known as motocross, has rules that are similar to those found in other forms of racing. If you are new to dirt bike racing, spend ample time learning competition and safety rules. Knowing what to expect on race day, and what is expected of you, promotes smooth and safe racing.

Technical Inspection

Competition dirt bikes must pass technical inspection prior to the race, and they are subject to inspection any time deemed necessary by the stewards during the race. Each race has technical requirements based on the age and gender of the competitors, as well as the unique attributes of each track. These requirements are designed to ensure the safety of all participants. If a rider refuses to have his bike inspected, he is automatically disqualified.


Flags are used to communicate vital information during a motocross race. A green flag starts a race, and indicates that track conditions are safe for racing. A yellow flag indicates that an accident has taken place on the track, and all racers must reduce their speed. During a yellow flag, competitors may not jockey for position. A black flag indicates that a rider is being disqualified for failure to adhere to rules, or for unsportsmanlike behavior. A red flag means the race is being stopped because of an emergency. When a red flag flies, racers proceed slowly to the start line and must park their dirt bikes. A blue flag tells a racer that he is off pace, and that he must stay out of the way of more competitive riders by holding his line. The end of the race is signaled first by a white flag to indicate one lap to go, and then a checkered flag to signify completion of the final lap.


Motocross racers must be properly attired during a competition. Full-face helmets are mandatory during races, and if it is a time-trial race (as opposed to freestyle -- in which competition is based on tricks and style) a shatterproof shield must protect the eyes. The helmet should be equipped with an emergency removal device. This helps emergency personnel take off the helmet with minimal movement of the head, neck and spinal cord.

Electronic Devices

Racers must be free of electronic equipment used to communicate or entertain, such as cell phones or an iPod, while on the track. Using an electronic device on the track is a dangerous distraction.

About the Author

Robyn Lynne Schechter is a freelance writer currently living in Los Angeles, Calif. She has been an online contributor since 2007 on, covering branding developments in the fashion, music, sports and entertainment industries. Schechter graduated from Hood College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and is also a graduate of Albany Law School.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images