How Do I Make My Dirt Bike Safe? - Safety Tips & Gear
December 21, 20215 min read
There are plenty of extreme sports in the world, and dirt biking is an adrenaline junkie motorhead’s favorite. Dirt biking gives you a sense of freedom, clarity, and mental stimulation that you can’t find in any other sport. However, like any other sport there are serious risks involved, and catastrophic consequences for the unprepared. Dirt bikes are a leading cause of injury in the extreme sports world due to the low barrier of entry and high-speed crashing potential.
For experienced and novice riders alike, safety is the number one concern. By keeping yourself and your dirt bike safe, you can continue with the sport you love for years to come. Here are some of the most common questions asked about safety when riding a dirt bike.
How do you stay safe while riding a dirt bike?
Riding a dirt bike requires skill, patience, and quick thinking. There are many ways for you to stay safe while still having fun with this exhilarating sport.
Always wear proper safety gear
The one time you don’t wear it is the one time you’ll need it. Always ensure that prior to biking, you are wearing a DOT-approved helmet, riding gear, safety gloves, and appropriate boots or footwear that can minimize damage caused by an unsuspecting crash. Pay particular attention to the safety rating on your helmet – a substandard piece of headgear can cause more damage than it stops.
Don’t ride on paved roads
There are a number of reasons to avoid riding your dirt bike on paved roads. Dirt bike suspension systems are usually built differently from road bikes and don’t provide the support needed for traveling long distances on hard surfaces.
Dirt bike tires aren’t designed for gravel or blacktop and will wear out faster when in long-term road use. This can be hazardous without traction and have a greater risk of accident and injury. Riding on paved roads also creates visibility issues. Cars coming around bends may not see you until it’s too late.
Inspect your bike before you ride
Assuming that your bike is safe to ride could be the last mistake you make. Due to the heavy-duty nature of the sport, dirt bikes often develop mechanical issues that aren’t apparently immediately after a ride. Inspect your bike before every ride to make sure that it’s in tip-top shape.
Ride within your ability
While it might be tempting to tackle expert-level trails, trying out tracks or obstacles above your ability can be dangerous for many reasons. You can block the path for other dirt bike riders, hesitate at an obstacle last minute or incorrectly attempt a maneuver and end up causing serious injury. Stay on designated trails – they’re marked for a good reason.
How do I make my dirt bike safe?
Every rider is different and has varying preferences for how they like to ride. Safety, however, is a big constant. The following tips are universal to make your dirt bike safe.
Choose the right bike for you
Riders come in different shapes and sizes, and what is good for the 6’ linebacker will not be good for the 5’3” advertising executive. Choose a bike that is the right size for you to ensure better control and handling at all times. Riding a bike that is too large for you can hinder control and steering, and increases your chances of an accident and serious injury. As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t reach all the controls – it’s too big, size down.
Sometimes your daily inspections may miss a specific or hidden problem with your bike. A full mechanical service can help identify many issues with your dirt bike that could result in unsafe or even dangerous riding. Depending on how often you ride, having your bike looked over by a specialist bi-annually or after any kind of incident can give you peace of mind.
After you’ve ridden, you may be too tired to notice any damage caused by the trail. Ensure that your tires are correctly pressured and aren’t showing signs of wear-out. Test your brakes to ensure that they are functioning effectively. Test all other controls to prove functionality and make sure that nothing is loose, missing, or broken. If anything is, don’t ride it – get it repaired.
Are dirt bikes safer than street bikes?
This question is a bit of a loaded one, as it depends on a few things. In their relative environments, dirt bikes and street bikes are as safe as each other. However, if you try to ride a street bike on a dirt bike track or vice versa, there would soon be problems.
Dirt bike tracks are typically filled with rocky terrain, branches, and other obstacles for riders to maneuver around. The flexible suspension and tire tread of a dirt bike allows for quick, effective maneuvering and supports heavy impact from jumps and tricks. Riders typically wear light jersey protective gear designed for aerodynamics and breathability rather than heavy-duty protection in case of an accident.
Street bikes are designed for high speed on flat, solid surfaces. Riders wear thick, leather gear in order to prevent or minimize the occurrence of road rash or serious injury in case of an accident.
Ridden correctly, both street and dirt bikes are safe as long as they are operated by an experienced driver in an appropriate environment.
What safety gear do I need for my dirt bike?
Safety gear is the most important factor for ensuring your protection in case of an accident. When choosing your safety gear, make sure that it is appropriate for your level of activity. Here are the four most important pieces of safety equipment for any dirt bike rider.
Your helmet is the most important piece of safety gear, as it could save you from a concussion, brain injury, or death. Ensure that your helmet is correctly fitted to your head and that all safety and chin straps are properly adjusted and intact. Choose a DOT-certified helmet with a guaranteed safety rating.
Properly enclosed footwear is a must for any rider. This reduces the severity of injury to the legs, feet, and ankles. They also reduce the chances of burns from exhaust pipes.
Sweating is the biggest enemy for a rider, as it can distract and hamper their ability to grip controls and brakes effectively. Riders should opt for moisture-wicking lightweight jerseys and pants that allow for a full range of movement and temperature control. Risk Racing’s line of VENTilate gear is specifically tailored to minimize temperature fluctuations and sweat while maximizing performance.
The high speeds of dirt biking can result in pieces of dirt, insects, and flying objects becoming lodged in a rider’s eye, obstructing or even damaging their vision. For this reason, riders should opt for outrigger framed goggles with a face seal and oversized strap for a comfortable fit over the helmet.
Risk Racing’s JAC V2 goggles include a tear-off style goggle lens system designed for quick removal and assembly. With a firm face seal and multi-layered foam/felt lamination, sweat is absorbed for a clean, fresh feel free of lens fogging.
There are many ways for you to safely enjoy dirt biking. This fast-paced and exciting sport is only as dangerous as you make it. Properly following these safety tips will make sure that you can continue to ride your dirt bike for years to come.
Risk Racing provides innovative solutions to common problems faced by motocross and dirt bike riders around the country. If you’d like to learn more about our products and how they can make your dirt bike safer, click here to visit the home page and start exploring.
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