There is no doubt that riding a dirt bike is fun. Dirt biking is a hobby for many kids and adults. But, if you look at the statistics, you will soon discover that dirt biking is not a very safe sport. Though you might find the dare-devil stuff lucrative and enjoyable, off-road driving often comes with the risk of injury.
The American Academy of Pediatrics forbade the guardians to allow the children aged below 16 to participate in the dirt bike sports in 2000. One of the reasons can be that the children do not achieve the required skills and judgment to ride a dirt bike before they hit 16.
There are some states of the USA that have set the minimum age for dirt biking. Moreover, some states have made it compulsory to use the safety equipment and the supervision of the adults for the kids to ride a dirt bike.
However, you and your kids can minimize the risk by adopting some strategies and a few changes while you ride the dirt bike.
In this article, we are going to show you some dirt bike injuries statistics to let you give a real picture of the injury and the death caused by dirt bike accidents. On top of that, we will also give you a safety guide to follow so that you can minimize the risk of dirt bike injuries.
Statistics of Dirt Bike Injuries
Official race, not the trail riding, is the #1 reason for dirt bike injuries that required hospitalization. From the past statistics, it is clear that the trail riding results in less injury than Motocross and Supercross. Below are some statistics to give you more information about dirt biking accidents.
- Avoidance of helmets during the ride is the key reason for more than 60% of deaths. (Source)
- 65% of the bone fractures during dirt bike accidents affected the body parts below the waist. (Source)
- Deaths related to ATVs have reduced up to 30% between 2016 to 2012. The death rate has remained constantly low from 2012 to 2017. (Source)
- About 50% of the fatalities occurred due to the use of alcohol. (Source)
- Paved roads caused the most ATV-deaths (33%) while the unpaved roads caused 19%. On the other hand, the forest and deserts took only 15% of lives. (Source)
- One-fifth of the fatalities occur to the children who are below 16. Another additional study concluded that the percentage is close to 35%. (Source)
- Men are the most affected by ATV-deaths. It is found that 90.5% of the death victims in ATV-riding are males. (Source)
- Injured victims of 4-wheeler ATVs are 50% more likely to die than the injured victims of dirt bike crashes. (Source)
- In 27% cases, the traumatic brain injury from ATV-riding was caused by the collision with stationary things such as trees. (Source)
Let’s now have a look at some statistics of the Centers for Disease Control on dirt bike injuries. The statistics are based on the study carried out between 2001 and 2004:
- More than 88% of the injured and dead off-road drivers are male.
- When it comes to non-fatal traumatic cases, children of 12 to 15 years of old have the highest rate.
- 33% of the injured people from the dirt bike accidents got fractured while more than 60% of the dirt bike riders who faced the accidents got severely traumatized.
- Nearly 9% of the casualties in the Motocross riding has some connection with showing off and jumping stunts.
- 5% of the Motocross accidents and crashes are the outcome of a collision with other off-road bikes.
- 70% of the recorded accidents took place in the natural environment while about 20% occurred in the Motocross.
- Kids of 16 years and below are the victims of more than 70% of accidents that are non-fatal.
- Nearly half of the head and neck injuries were linked to internal-head trauma.
Causes of Dirt Bikes Injuries
Dirt bike crashes and injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. The following causes are the most dominant ones:
- Collisions with trees, vehicles, houses, stumps, and any blocking agents
- Riding extremely fast on any uneven off-road terrain
- Falling while trying a stunt by jumping, etc.
While a rider gets affected by an accident, the head, neck, and arms are most likely to be injured first. He might get diagnosed with fractions, sprains, and abrasions.
Most Common Dirt Bike Injuries
Now that you know some statistics on dirt bike injuries, let’s have a look at some of the most common dirt bike injuries:
It is one of the most common injuries associated with dirt bike riding. During the crash, the rider often falls off from their bike.
When the rider starts to fall, he stretches his arms out to get rid of the impact of the fall. When he falls with the hands stretched out on the ground, the collarbone goes under huge pressure. Sometimes the pressure is so high that the collarbone gets broken.
The speed of the fall determines the severity of the collarbone injury. It might be fatal in case of a high falling speed.
However, most of the collarbone injuries may take up to 4 to 8 weeks to recover if the severity is low or moderate. During that time, the injured rider needs to wear a sling and splint around the affected part.
In case the patient’s collarbone is damaged severely, he might need surgery. To get back the normal shoulder’s motion, the injured rider may also need the help of a physiotherapist.
The Dislocation of the Shoulder
The shoulder joints are quite fragile parts of the body. When the dirt bike crashes and falls on the ground, you may encounter a shoulder dislocation problem.
Shoulder dislocation is also the outcome of stretching the hands on the ground while you fall. Sometimes The collarbone gets affected and sometimes the joints of the shoulders. However, in some rare cases, both the collarbone injury and the shoulder dislocation might occur.
Shoulder dislocation causes a lot of pain. The recovery time of the shoulder dislocation depends on the degree of severity.
It might need about one or two weeks for a shoulder dislocation to get ready for rehabilitation. The rehabilitation process only begins when the patient does not feel the pain in the shoulder joints any longer.
If you have got a sprained ankle while riding a dirt bike, you should consider yourself lucky? Why? Well, many riders suffer from broken ankles.
A rider might break his ankle either because of falling off from the bike or collisions with other objects or vehicles.
A doctor often prescribes to go under surgery to realign the broken bones if it is tough to mend the damage in other ways. When the surgery is completed, the injured patient will need casting and physiotherapy to get things working again like before.
You may also end up breaking your wrists when you fall off from the dirt bike. Like the dislocation of the shoulder, this injury may also cause unbearable pain at the beginning. You might experience single or multiple fractures in your wrists.
To recover the efficiency of the broken wrist, you might need surgery. When the surgery is done, it will take about 6 to 8 weeks to get the wrist bones placed in a cast.
However, you also have to go under physiotherapy later on. It links the femur (bottom of the thigh bone) to the
Rupture of the ACL
ACL stands to mean Anterior Cruciate Ligament. It is one of the knee joint ligaments. It links the femur (bottom of the thigh bone) to the tibia (top of the shin bone). This part of the body works to keep our knees stable.
When the rider jumps with bent knees to do a stunt, the rupture of the ACL can occur. The ACL is one of the most affected parts during off-road dirt biking accidents. However, the recovery from an ACL rupture can take up to a year.
An injured rider may need surgery followed by physiotherapy.
Acromioclavicular Joint (AC) Strain
The acromioclavicular joint is one of the weakest points of the shoulder and thus an easy victim of injury. This is the region where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet.
If the fall or injury is severe, you may end up with strained or separated ligaments. To help you avoid the injury in the shoulder, shoulder supports come to great help.
Dirt Bike vs. ATV – Which is Safer?
When it comes to safety, the off-road riding community is divided on the question. By the passage of time, there is a craze now for ATVs as many hobbyists think they are more stable and sturdy while less likely to crash. But, is it true? Let’s have a look at some of the statistics without merely putting our arguments.
- A research team from Johns Hopkins in 2010 has found that 4-wheeled ATVs are more fatal than 2-wheeled dirt bikes. One of the reasons for high fatality can be the heavy-weight of the ATVs compared to lightweight dirt bikes.
- About 50% of injured patients from the ATVs are more likely to succumb to the trauma compared to the injured patients from the off-road motorbikes.
- Victims of the ATV crashes have a 55% more probability of admission in ICU while 42% are likely to require ventilator support compared to dirt bikers.
- Out of 500,000 deaths on the road recorded from 2000 to 2004, more than 50% of the deaths were related to ATVs. So, it is not true that ATVs are safer than off-road dirt bikes.
Do you know the causes of so many fatalities by ATVs per year? The researchers have not found any conclusive reasons for so many ATV injuries and deaths.
If we analyze by our own to find out the reasons, we might conclude with the following statements:
- 60% or more dirt bike riders use helmets, while it is about 30% of the ATV riders who wear a helmet while they ride.
- The weight of a dirt bike is about 200 pounds and if it runs over the rider, the rider can still be alive. On the other hand, an ATV weighs from 600 to 900 pounds and due to this heavy-weight, an ATV rider might not survive if he is run over by his ATV.
So, we can conclude that still now dirt bikes are safer than ATVs if we believe that numbers do not lie!
What to Do After a Dirt Bike Accident?
Do not stay careless knowing that dirt bikers are safer than ATV riders. Accidents can occur anytime and quicker than you think.
It is best to stay alert always and know what to do if you face a dirt bike accident. Here are some steps you should go under when you fall victim to a dirt bike accident:
Check Your Surroundings: This is the first step you should take after a dirt bike accident. Check your surroundings to find whether you are on a crowded trail or track.
If you are in the middle of the track, you might get hit by another bike. So, look around and find out a way for moving to a safer place.
When you are at a safe distance, look back again at the place your dirt bike crashed. If there are any broken parts, move them away so that no other riders in the back get injured.
Check Your Body: Perform a quick check on your body parts. Are they still okay and working? Move your finger, wiggle the toes, and check the joints by trying to move your hands and legs freely.
If everything is fine, congratulations, you are lucky!
But, if anything seems not to be working as efficiently as it should, consult a doctor to check what’s wrong.
Slow Down: Do not go back and ride your bike again as soon as you conclude you are all okay merely feeling that by self-check.
After a dirt bike accident, more than 50% of the rider suffers from trauma and 35% from fractures.
So, wait a few minutes. Sometimes, the adrenaline might mask the pain and make you feel numb about the pain instantly. Check your helmets for any scratches and give a careful look at your head to verify that everything is fine.
Check Your Dirt Bike: When you have marked yourself safe, it is time to give your attention to your dirt bike. Check whether it is leaking or not.
Do not exempt the controls, cases, and handlebars from the check. It is also essential to check for cracked housing, popped seals, and split lines in the bike.
You might find it lining up the wheels and bars after a crash. If the wheel is off-center, you might need to give it a strong kick to get it back to the center. If the wheel is fine, straightening the bars will do.
Never ride a dirt bike with faults if you are serious to keep yourself safe.
Seek Treatment: Do not end up checking your body by yourself alone. It is important to consult a doctor as soon as you can after a dirt bike accident.
Only a physician can diagnose if you have got any fractures, strains, or sprains. If the doctor has found something wrong, you should get ready to accept the advice and treatments he prescribes.
How to Make Dirt Biking Safe?
Dirt biking is not as simple and easy as you might watch on TV or YouTube. You will require years of experience and patience to ride a dirt bike professionally. You have to work hard to gain mastery of the clutch and throttle control, positioning the body, and balancing while you ride.
No matter whether you are just a hobbyist or new dirt bike rider, you should know how to keep yourself self while you ride. Below are some tips that will come to your help.
Wear the Right Clothing
Most of the professional dirt bikers choose high-quality jerseys to wear when they participate in the Motocross or other racing events. A good-quality jersey keeps the rider cool especially when it is hot summer days outside with scorching heat from the sun.
When it comes to choosing a jersey, the first and foremost thing you should know about the jersey is whether the jersey you are choosing is breathable or not.
The second thing you should be looking at is the fabric type. The fabric of the jersey should be light and stretchable.
When it comes to pants, avoid thin and loose-fitting pants by all means. The pair of pants you choose should be breathable and durable. Make sure that the pants you are buying can resist abrasion.
Boots in off-road riding also play an important role to keep you safe. Choose a pair of boots that offer a durable outsole. Make sure that it has enough space for the proper movements of the ankle. A lightweight design along with a protective shin plate are also plus points.
Like the jersey and pants, the boots you wear while riding should also be breathable.
You should not forget wearing comfortable gloves in the crowds of choosing the right jerseys, pants, and boots. Gloves are essential to keep your hands safe from abrasions, blisters, and burns.
So, what kind of gloves should you buy for dirt biking? First of all, we suggest you not to choose baggy gloves. Choose ones that offer padding that helps to lessen the vibration and thus encourage the hand endurance.
Use the Protective Gears
A helmet is the most important protective gear to save your brain from severe injury. But, it must be a full-face helmet made with high-quality materials.
When you fall off from the bike, the rotational force can change the brain position that might cause convulsions. If the case is severe, going into a coma is also possible.
A high-end helmet comes with a superior jaw protector so that your teeth and jaws are safe.
While you buy your helmet, make sure that the helmet is at least DOT-approved. It is better if the helmet is approved by various safety authorities.
An ideal helmet offers you a wide viewport to enrich your riding experience. On top of that, it comes with amazing ventilation to avoid the overheating issue. It is also important to make sure that the outer shell is not too heavy to cause pain in the neck.
If you are a dirt biker, you have to deal a lot with dirt and debris. Protecting your eyes from all the mud, rain, and debris should be one of your priorities while you ride. No matter whether you are a beginner or professional, keeping a pair of high-quality goggles will save your eyes from the splashes of mud and dust when you ride at your top speed.
Do you know the distinguishing features of a pair of goggles you should look before you buy? Let me help you if you do not know.
First of all, good-quality goggles let you use features like good depth perception and light-sensitive selections.
Manufacturers that offer goggles for dirt bikes offer wide lenses. Those lenses help the riders have an efficient vision along with making the best use of peripheral vision. Finally, sweat absorption and ventilation capacity should also be taken into account.
While you are riding off-road, protecting your knees with knee braces will help stay in the safe zone. Knees are very susceptible to injuries and sprains.
Adjustability is one of the key qualities of good knee braces. The knee braces should be lightweight but strong.
When it comes to the knee brace material, manufacturers pick carbon fiber to make good-quality knee braces.
Neck Brace and Other
You can also choose to wear a neck brace to protect your spinal cords. Having body armor and elbow guards can also help you to maintain the highest safety of your body parts.
Questions like ‘how many people died on dirt bikes’ or ‘how many dirt bike crashes a year’ might not have accurate answers as it is not possible for us to know the real numbers. It is because many injuries remain even unreported.
In this post, we have just tried to give an estimation from the previous dirt bike injuries statistics recorded by various trusted sources to make you aware that the number of dirt bike injuries or deaths is not very low.
You must be very careful while you ride on your off-road bike. Life is too precious to lose only due to carelessness.
Follow the advice given above on what to do after a dirt bike accident. Also, make sure that you wear the right clothing and use the required gadgets to keep yourself out of danger even if you fall into an injury.