Dirt bike riding does not have to have dangerous outcomes. There are guidelines riders can observe to minimize the risks every time they hop on a bike. If you engage in motocross sports, you have encountered the various regulations imposed by the AMA including protective gear and the standards of competing bikes. Safety rules are not just for professional racers as every dirt bike rider should be aware of the various means of protecting themselves and any third parties.
Here are some very useful tips to avoid dirt bike injuries and make this sport more exiting:
Wear Protective Gear
You should have protective gear of high quality to guard against bodily harm. A quality helmet will shield your face and brain in case of a crash. Do not go the cheaper way of buying an inexpensive helmet. Opt for a helmet from a reputable company. At the very least, buy one with DOT-certification. Helmet sizes vary between brands, so make sure you have your measurements and the right sizing chart. A good helmet will typically have a snug fit, not loose or tight, and proper venting to cool you down because you will be sweating a lot.
Next up is a pair of goggles to enhance your vision and prevent debris, mud, and rain from getting into your eyes. The goggles should additionally have vents as you do not want them steaming up to block your vision during riding. The best googles have replacement lenses, a good field of vision, and are of good quality.
Your hands will be in steady contact with levers and grips which is why you need a pair of gloves. Gloves will also improve your hand endurance and prevent the formation of blisters. A rider’s feet should be protected by a good pair of boots. Your everyday boot may seem suited for the job, but it will be torn into pieces by the kick starter and foot pegs. A quality boot will protect your ankles and feet and prevent cut shins.
Riding pants and jerseys are more than a fashion choice. They regulate air flow and absorb impacts with their inner padding. You will stand to accumulate a lot of bruises and scratches along the way, so it is only ideal to get quality riding clothing.
A neck brace minimizes the damage to your head during a crash by controlling your head’s movements. Knee braces protect the knees as they are pretty vulnerable during riding. Other protective gear includes a kidney bowl, pads, and a chest protector.
Keep Your Bike Properly Maintained
Buying and riding is the first half of the bike riding experience, with the rest being maintenance. Mechanical issues cannot only hamper the bike’s performance but your safety as well. Several things should be included on your maintenance checklist.
Evaluate the air filter for any harmful particles and any moisture it may have collected. The next part to examine is the brake pads. The brake pad material wears down over time leaving just the backing plate which can damage the brake rotor. There is nothing as dangerous as brakes that do not work correctly. You should generally replace the pad if you discover 0.04 inch of the pad material remaining.
Engine oil keep’s your engine running properly and should be frequently checked, especially before a ride. The engine level should typically be halfway the sight glass. Pressure and heat break down oil over time, making it essential to change it and avoid heat build-up. You should also utilize motorcycle-specific oil. Another function to look out for is the chain tension. A loose chain will likely hop off a sprocket while one that is too tight will be broken by tension with unfavorable results.
Sprockets, with the aid of the drive chain, channel energy to the rear wheel and they, therefore, withstand heavy energy loads. The sprocket teeth easily break or crack from loose or tight chains. A pre-fluid examination is also critical to ascertain the levels of the radiator fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, and the coolant fluid. Your bike’s wheels undergo a significant load, which is why mechanics are often seen wrenching on the wheels of bikes during competition. Ensure that the rims are round and have no cracks.
Know Your Skill Level
The safest practice a rider can employ is to understand their skills and level. It does not matter how long a rider has been out on trails or which bike they are using. Riding fast does not also make you more experienced. Expert riders slow down quicker and also opt for slow speeds when navigating obstacles.
Beginner riders are typically still familiarizing themselves with brake, throttle, clutch, and shift control. They would not be comfortable ascending or descending skills or even encountering obstacles. Beginners should practice on open spaces like fields until they accumulate more skills.
Novices are more familiar with the control aspects of dirt bikes and are more comfortable with easy track trails with short ascents and descents. Intermediate riders have mastered many techniques which come in handy when navigating relatively sharp ascents and descents.
Expert riders are at the top tier, and they seek challenging adventures in rocks, deep sand, rubble, and slippery ground. These riders have no problem with steep inclinations and descents. Expert riders are in good physical conditions and exhibit a high level of endurance.
Many bike rising crashes take place because of riders making inexperienced decisions. Build your skills steadily and slowly and know your limits.
Use the Right-Sized Bike
Purchasing a dirt bike is not as easy as going to a store and buying an appealing model. The bike must always be of the right size. Your experience will dictate the most appropriate bike. Beginners can keep the cc’s below 250 and get used to the feel of dirt bike riding before purchasing a more powerful vehicle.
A rider’s size directly affects the bike they use when it comes to overall safety. To know if the bike fits, sit forward on it and see if your feet make contact with the ground. The vehicle is probably small if you are flat-footed on the ground. If you have to use your toes to balance, the ride is too big for you. Ideally, one-third of your foot should touch the ground such that you can use your feet to balance the bike if you hit a bump.
Avoid Paved Roads
Dirt bikes are designed for off-road driving. This means that the basic construction of a dirt bike is optimized for use on loose and rough terrains. Taking the bike to a paved road puts you at risk because of the inherent design of the bike. The bike’s tires are not designed for the amount of traction on-road motorcycles and will, therefore, put you at risk.
A lot of accidents occur because of collisions with vehicles. Street bikes are bigger because they can withstand the drag present by driving along with bigger vehicles. Dirt-bikes, by design, are smaller and will be prone to colliding with cars on paved roads.
Do a Practice Run
You are excited to ride along a trail and cannot wait to get to riding. Not so fast, however, you can do a trail run to familiarize yourself with its layout before riding hard and fast. Dirt bike riding is also a mental sport as you will rely on your memory a lot.
To navigate the obstacles effectively, you should at least evaluate them on slower speeds. You will anticipate hurdles more comfortably and adjust your controls to cross them more easily.
Minimize the Risks
Expert riders always have a hydration pack. Keeping hydrated is extremely important for the sharpness of your mind. The last thing you want is a compromised focus-level.
It is also an excellent measure to ride in a pack. Find buddy friends who are into the sport and organize tours with them. If you are involved in an incident, the injuries can be more severe if you take too long to access medical aid. Let your family know the trails and the tracks you intend to visit so that they can be involved in case they lose communication with you. Ride in the daytime and not in the night so that it is easy to trace you.
Like with other vehicles, handling a dirt bike will need your focus and keenness. Accidents are commonly facilitated by riders under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This is quite a dangerous situation as your judgment will be compromised, which can be deadly with a powerful machine like a dirt bike.
The only way to completely eliminate dirt bike injuries is not to ride one. Dirt biking is enjoyable and, enthusiasts should be able to enjoy it without putting their lives at risk. The most obvious move to off-road safety is packing up on protective gear. Wear everything if you can, from helmets, gloves, goggle, braces, pads, and boots. As long as it is comfortable, protective gear will keep your body secure.
Crashes are frequent among riders who over-estimated their skill levels. Build your skills slowly and visit trails that you are confident you can handle. You will also need to have the rightly-sized bike and maintain it, especially before racing. Dirt bikes are not meant for public roads so stick to designated trails and tracks. All these safety tips will be for nothing if you ride under the influence of alcohol so avoid alcoholic drinks while riding.