Many parents are often unsure if riding dirt bikes is safe for kids.
One day your child wants to start riding a dirt bike and they begin to develop a love and desire for it. You must realize that it is great that your child wants to challenge themselves because it takes a lot of courage to start riding a dirt bike.
Is dirt bike riding dangerous for kids? Riding on a dirt bike is definitely dangerous for children, just like any other sport, but there are safety measures that will help minimize the risks and even make riding dirt bikes relatively safer.
Children aged 3 years or older can start riding on a small dirt bike that can safely ride on only 50cc gas. If your children are between the ages of 5 and 8 years, you can allow them to ride on large dirt bikes under parental supervision and only when you trust them in their ability can you let them ride alone. Of course, the child should first know how to ride a regular bike and there are some things you must know before letting your child ride a bike safely.
Statistics on dirt bike injuries
The following statistical data that you are going to see will help you to understand some of the risks of riding dirt bikes. It is very important to wear safety equipment and not to ride a dirt bike that does not fit your size. If you want to hear more about how to choose the size of a dirt bike that best suits you, I wrote this article here.
- Drinking alcohol causes about 50% of dirt bike related deaths.
- Between 25%-30% of those killed by dirt bikes were under the age of 16.
- About 65% of riders killed were not wearing a helmet.
- More than 30% of brain injuries occur in an environment surrounded by trees.
- 60% of bone fractures occurred below the waist.
- There’s a 29% chance that the femur will break.
- In the years 2006-2012, deaths on dirt bikes decreased by about 30%.
- ATV crashes are 50% more likely to be fatal than dirt bike crashes.
ATVs are much more dangerous than dirt bikes
So, as I showed you, about 50% of ATV crashes are more likely to be fatal than dirt bike crashes, and the truth is that riding on ATVs becomes much more dangerous each year.
It’s surprising to a lot of people that ATVs are more dangerous than dirt bikes but actually there are some reasons why dirt bikes are safer.
- 1 ATVs are heavier than dirt bikes – dirt bikes only weigh about 200 pounds compared to ATVs which weigh about 1000 pounds. If an ATV falls on you it can crush you and even cause death.
- 2 ATVs can crush at high speed – ATV crashes can be much more deadly than dirt bikes crashes, especially on a steep mountain or even a big dune. Crashes can cause you and the ATV to roll together and when that happens, the chances of death are very high because the ATV gains a lot of momentum and you risk being crushed by it.
- 3 ATV riders do not wear safety gear – another thing that makes ATVs more dangerous is that ATV riders do not wear as much protective gear compared to dirt bike riders.
In general dirt bike accidents are more common, but ATV accidents are much more deadly.
How to stay safe on dirt bikes
- Buy a bike that suits the size and height of the child! If the bike is not suitable for your child’s size it can make them lose control very quickly.
- It is very important to be careful and remain alert to what is happening around you at all times.
- Read the owner’s manual – A lot of riders forget to read the owner’s manual. It is very important to read it because it will give you additional safety instructions to help you stay safe.
- Explain to your child the importance of safety – It is very important to explain to your child about the importance of safety so that they are careful when riding.
- Protective equipment – Purchasing protective equipment is the most important thing you as parents can do to keep your child safe. The average price for safety equipment is $350 and I know it is very expensive, but good safety equipment saves lives. I personally recommend you buy expensive protective equipment to ensure it’s the best quality.
- Don’t ride on roads – Children are not allowed to ride on roads no matter what. It endangers their life because dirt bikes are not meant to ride on roads. I recommend riding in sand parks or on riding tracks that are especially adapted to dirt bike riding.
- Check out the dirt bike before riding – It is very important to check your dirt bike before riding because if you have a tear in the tires or in the wheels, your child can lose control and have an accident. Before each ride, make sure to check all the parts, especially the wheels and tires.
- Do not ride at high speeds – It is very important to ride at low speeds, especially beginners. If your child rides at too high a speed, they will lose control and have an accident therefore, it is very important to limit the speed at which your child is riding.
- Don’t ride in the rain – Another thing that is very important is not to let your child ride in a place where there is rain or mud because the risk of accidents increases. Therefore, I do not recommend you let your children ride in wet weather.
- Supervising your children – Another important thing is that you supervise your child, especially if they have just started to ride on a dirt bike. It is very important to ensure that your child does not ride too fast.
- You must learn how confident your child is riding a regular bike before you give them a dirt bike.
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What safety equipment do you need to keep your child safe?
Helmet – Helmets are undoubtedly the most important protective equipment that every child must wear. About 65% of dirt bike related deaths were riders who did not wear a helmet, and this why a helmet is the most important thing that your child must wear.
If you want to know which helmets are best for your child, I have an article that lists the best helmets available. Click here to view.
Gloves– It is very important to wear gloves, not only to protect your child against dangerous injuries to their hands but against sores and other pains. If you want to read more about which gloves to buy for your child, I have an article on this that will show you the best gloves for your child. Click here to view.
Defenders- Wearing protectors are very important to help protect against bone fractures and injuries.
Goggles– Without eye protection, it is easy for sand and dirt to get into your eyes which can cause you not to see the track and you can lose control of the dirt bike. It is also very important to make sure the lens of the dirt bike is high quality. If you want to read more about goggles for your child, I have an article on this that will show you the best goggles on the market. Click here to view.
Boots – Many parents think that sneakers are good enough, but the truth is that it is very dangerous, especially when your child reaches high speeds. In addition, dirt bike boots are the only thing that can get to the ground and help your child be in control.
If you want to see which boots to buy for your child, I wrote an article that will show you the best boots for ATV and dirt bike riders. Click here to view.
Where should I take my child to ride their dirt bike?
Many confused parents do not know where to take their children to ride their dirt bike so now I’m going to show you which places are the safest for riding.
Parks- Riding inside a park is perfect, especially for small children aged 3 to 8. It is important to make sure the park is maintained and that there are no cracks in the ground. You must also obtain special permission before you start to ride in non-public parks.
Public trails – Another perfect place for your child to ride is on public trails or trails specifically adapted for dirt bikes. Today there are lots of trails designed specifically for dirt bike riders. It is also very important to make sure that there are no objects that can damage the wheels or potentially cause your child to have an accident.
Clubs and riding groups – If you live near to dirt bike clubs or riding centers with trainers that can teach your kid how to ride, it will be awesome and I highly recommend you take them there. In my opinion, this is the best place to ride because they have high quality facilities for your child to ride with their friends and coaches. It can be an amazing experience for your child if you join them up to clubs or driving groups.
The child’s level of readiness and the role of the parent
The child’s level of readiness
In the end, it does not matter how much your child thinks that they can move on to the next level, what matters is if you think that they are ready. The most important thing is the child’s level of preparedness, their maturity and how they handle responsibility.
I would not trust a child who does not show maturity and responsibility in other areas of life for example, doing homework or helping with household chores. If your child is not responsible in these areas, they’re not likely to be ready for the responsibility that comes with dirt bike riding.
That’s why your child’s riding abilities are not enough for them to move on to the next level.
The responsibility of the parents
The responsibility of the parents is very important because you are ultimately responsible for your children. It is important to keep in mind all the safety rules and always supervise them until you are 100% sure that they can ride alone without your help. Always explain to them the rules and dangers that may result in the impact of an unsafe shuffle on the dirt bike. Always remind your child to be responsible in any situation and always remember to support and encourage your child, even when they fall.
Can kids ride a dirt bike on a road? Never let your child ride their dirt bike on the road. It is very dangerous because there are cars that can hit your child. In addition, falling on asphalt can be very painful.
What kind of weather should my kids go riding in? In general, you should let the kids ride only when there is sun, never let your child ride when it is raining. The risk of crashing or having an accident is much higher in wet weather than in dry weather.
From what age can kids start riding a dirt bike? Kids can ride dirt bikes from age 3 and above.
Riding a dirt bike is a very fun sport, but it can certainly be dangerous if you do not understand all the safety rules. If you and your child stick to safety rules, nothing serious will happen to them. Always remember to wear appropriate protective gear such as helmets and stick to riding in safe areas.
Thanks for reading. Until the next time.