Are Dirt Bikes Dangerous to Ride? Stats & Tips

Yes, if not handled properly, dirt bikes are dangerous. Regular dirt bike riders know that injuries are inevitable. Whether on motocross tracks, trail riding, or off-roading, the possibility of getting a minor injury to a more significant hit is just a corner away.

Dirt Bike Injuries Statistics

  • From 1980-1991, the number of dirt bike accidents recorded was 1500 and among them, 1870 people were injured while participating in European Off-Road Competitions. (Source)
  • The dirt bike injuries statistics from 2001-2004 show that 88% of casualties were in male riders. Collisions resulted in 60% of injuries being extremities and 35% fractures. (Source)
  • Riders aging from 12-15 years old had the highest rate of non-fatal trauma and those of 16 years and under get more than 70% of non-fatal injuries. (Source)
  • Around 5% of crashes involved a collision with another off-road vehicle, 9% of injuries were due to jumping maneuvers, and 70% of injuries happen in the natural environment. (Source)

Common Dirt Bike Injuries

Dirt bike riding is a high-risk sport and common injuries happen mainly due to collisions with other riders, lack of safety gear, uneven terrain, and falls during jumps. Some of these injuries are:

Head and Neck Injuries

Dirt bike riding may cause mild to severe neck injuries including strains, springers, fractures, and spasms. While head injuries are considered to be one of the most fatal injuries. A study by National Trauma Registry concludes that wearing no helmet is one of the major factors in head-related injuries. A helmet can reduce facilities by 37% and brain injuries and hospitalization costs by 67%. (Source)

Broken Bones

Over 35% of dirt bike accidents lead to fractures and broken bones and among them, 65% of injuries occur below the waist causing long-term health damages. Broken collar bones are also high in number taking 4-8 weeks to recover. While 6-8 weeks for a broken ankle or wrist. (Source)

Cuts, Bruises, and Abrasions

Road rash or abrasion during riding due to friction can happen to any area of the body. Common cuts, bruises, and abrasions take up to 2 weeks to recover and though they are painful, they don’t leave any scars.

Spinal Cord Injuries

From 2005-2010, spinal cord injuries in dirt bike riders were 174 with ages ranging from 6 to 75 years old. Among them, the major spinal injuries were in males from 21-30 years old. (Source)

Dirt Bikes Are Statistically Safer Than ATVs

Here is a research result from 1997-2006 by John Hopkins University depicting that dirt bikes are far safer than ATVs.

  • The ATV incident casualties are 50% more than dirt bike accidents.
  • Around 42% more ATV victims get on a ventilator than dirt bike riders.
  • 55% of four-wheeler victims get to ICU than dirt bike riders. (Source)
  • Hospitalization of ATV-injured riders increased to 150% in youth younger than 18 years old.
  • Female ATV riders 15-17 years old experienced the sharpest rise of 250% of them being hospitalized. (Source)

Our Top 8 Tips for Dirt Bike Safety 

  1. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear

Wearing appropriate protective gear is one of the essential parts that keep you safe while riding. So, do not forget to wear your safety gear and make sure you are comfortable in them. Head to the upcoming section where you will get the essential safety gear list.

  1. Check your bike before riding

Before getting on your bike check its oil level, brake fluid level, chain and sprockets, wheels air pressure, and all nuts and bolts. This pre-checklist is imperative to avoid possible accidents.

  1. Take A safety course

Take a dirt bike safety course to learn the fundamentals of how to navigate challenging terrain. With complete control, composure, and confidence, you can avoid thriving danger.

  1. Ride at a safe speed and within your abilities

Jumping over obstacles at high speed may make you excited with your speed crossing 100 mph. This is the speed at which you are highly susceptible to accidents. Therefore, you need to be cautious with both power and speed. 

  1. Stay hydrated and fuel up

Sweating during your riding session will lead to dehydration. Keep a water bottle, hydration pack, and citrus fruit in your backpack, and hydrate yourself after every 30 minutes. 

  1. Communicate with other riders

Either take your riding partner with you or be a helping hand to others in your riding group. Off-road riding could bring you in difficult circumstances and you need someone to be on your side while dealing with emergencies.

  1. Be prepared for emergencies

Before setting off, take a road map with you so that you don’t get lost during your trip. Also, inform someone about your route. If possible, carry a GPS locator, spare batteries, and a first aid kit to handle an emergency.

  1. Know your limits and take breaks when needed

Though competitive riding works as an adrenaline booster, it increases the chances of major injuries too. Therefore, when in a competition keep your limits, practice safe ridings, and choose dirt trails to avoid fatal falls.

Special Dirt Bike Tips for Kids

Here are a few tips to help you train your kids for dirt bike riding.

  • Choosing the right bike size and power

Buy the dirt bike compatible with your child’s age and fit their size. It is crucial that your child’s dirt bike must fit his size and that his feet should touch the ground as it will help him to stabilize and balance riding.

  • Supervision and training

Keep supervising your child. Encourage them and correct their mistakes. This will not only prevent accidents but will also help you to assess your kid’s riding style. A well-supervised and gentle training will boost your kid’s confidence and they will learn better.

  • Adjusting the bike to fit the child

Adjust the bike to fit your child’s size. Bikes that don’t fit your kid’s size are dangerous to ride and hard to control. For kids from 3-10 years old they should ride on a 50cc dirt bike and those over 10 years of age can go for a bigger engine.

  • Limiting riding time and areas

Teach your kids to manage speed. Limit their riding time to a few minutes and area to a few yards. During the first few rides, let them increase the speed for a few seconds and then slow it down. Keep supervising this exercise to make sure they do not ride too fast.

  • Encouraging safe riding habits

Teach your kids one skill at a time and encourage them. Young kids especially those under 5 years and younger should start riding with training wheels.

Tell them the right sitting position with their heads up, shoulders relaxed, and knees bent. Teach your kids how to fall. Let them know how to relax their body during a fall and let the gear do its job.

Racing vs Casual Riding

Most of the riders prefer trail riding over racing as racing is expensive and physically painful. While in trail riding you are less likely to break your bones, and ride at your own pace, and with your own skill level. 

On the other hand, off-road racing is hard not only on you but also on your dirt bike parts. The jolts from the jumps, an effort to keep yourself hydrating during the race, adding fuel to your engine, and hoping you don’t damage any part of your bike fill you with a sense of accomplishment. 

Therefore, off-road racing works like an adrenaline pump to boost your fitness, making you strong both physically and mentally. 

Are Dirt Bikes Hard to Ride?

No, dirt bikes are not hard to ride. Riding a dirt bike in a yard and on the streets is easier than off-riding and trail riding.

However, to master your riding you have to familiarize yourself with different dirt bike features and how they operate. 

Given below are the parts that you must understand if you are a beginner and mastering them will make dirt bike riding easier for you.

Clutch lever

Most bikes have a clutch lever located on the left handlebar and a brake on the right handlebar. The clutch works to disengage the transmission to shift gears. 

Gear shifter

The gear shifter is mounted on the left footpeg. Changing gears is crucial on rough terrain and motocross trails and you use your left foot toes to shift the gear up and down.

Throttle control

The right grip on the handlebar is moveable and by twisting it you feed more fuel to the engine. It is throttle and mastering the coordination between twisting the throttle with releasing the clutch handle helps you stats moving smoothly from a stopped position. 

Yet don’t do it violently or chaotically as you will either kill the engine or lose your control of the bike.


Familiarize yourself with brakes that are just under your right toes. If you are a novice rider then use the rear brake first. Once you get comfortable with riding then go with the front brakes. This is because new riders find it confusing to differentiate between clutch and brake and end up throwing themselves off the bike.

Proper Safety Gear 

  • Helmet

Dirt bike helmets not only provide protection but also ensure proper ventilation while blocking the roots and branches on the trail.

  • Goggles

Goggles are responsible for keeping your eyes safe from dirt and debris. They also protect from fog and scratches. 

  • Gloves

Dirt bike gloves protect your knuckles from roost and trail overgrowth. They are also responsible for keeping your hands safe from constant vibrations and reducing the chances of getting blisters.

  • Boots

Boots are crucial to protect your feet from obstacles and injuries. They provide sufficient ankle support and protection from rocks, branches, and heat.

  • Body armor

Dirt bike body armor is designed with D3O material to minimize the impact of injuries and protect against soft tissue damage. 

  • Neck brace

Don’t forget to use a neck brace as it limits extreme neck movements during rotations and distributes the external force impact in a way that keeps the cervical spine safe from traumatic injuries.

Is it Still Worth it?

Though these statistics made it seems like dice with death to ride a dirt bike. Yet quite opposite to that, dirt bikes are getting more safer and accessible to the average consumer. Here are 4 reasons that make it a multitude of health benefits.

1: Improves physical strength

Dirt bike riding requires consistent balance and coordination while moving your whole body, making it a great exercise for physical strength.

2: Prevents heart diseases

Riding a dirt bike increases your heart rate to a level similar to that of jogging. Regular riding makes your heart stronger, reduces your cholesterol levels, and prevents heart-related diseases.

3: Relieves stress

Dirt bike riding makes you forget your worries and live the moment completely. Increased heart rate enhances the movement of oxygen through your whole body and brain, potentially relieving stress.

4: Improves social life

Discovering a new hobby helps you make new friends and improve your quality of life. 


Though it looks like that riding a dirt bike is more dangerous than fun. Yet mastering your riding skills and wearing protective gear will prevent you from getting any serious falls and injuries.

So, whether you are a beginner rider or a parent teaching your kids dirt bike riding, focus on riding it safely and with proper techniques.


Dirt Bikes Are Statistically Safer Than ATVs 

Are Dirt Bikes Hard to Ride? 

Our Top 8 Tips for Dirt Bike Safety  

Special Dirt Bike Tips for Kids

Is It Still Worth It?