In this post we cover one of the most frequent questions about how dangerous is dirt bike riding.

Maybe you are a parent wondering if you should get your kids into dirt biking, or maybe you are a beginner and wondering what the risks are?

If you want the quick answer, YES, dirt biking CAN be dangerous.

And if you don’t have the proper gear…

Dirt biking can be very dangerous. Not wearing a helmet remains the number one factor in dirt bike riding fatalities, with over 60% of accidents leading to death. More than 50% of all dirt bike injuries happen during races. Protect yourself to reduce an arm, leg, head or neck injury.

If you want to research further into these statistics, check out our post on dirt bike injuries & accidents.

Dirt biking is a more dangerous sport than other sports because of all the different variables that exist. Racing dirt bikes or motocross tend to be where most of the injuries accrue. If you are riding for fun you typically have lower chances of getting hurt.

Are dirt bikes safer than let’s say ATV’s?

This is an interesting question as typically you crash more on a dirt bike however ATV crashes result in a 50% more likely to die of their injuries than a dirt bike crash.


Studies have shown a few factors in this. With an ATV when you crash there is no vehicle-to-person separation. This means that the ATV is likely to fall or crash onto your body versus a dirt bike where there is more separation between you and the machine.

The average dirt bike weighs 260lbs where the average ATV weighs 460lbs or more.

Another thing to note is ATV’s with 4 wheels give new riders a false sense of security which usually results in people overriding them and crashing.

A dirt bike with having only 2 wheels requires more focus and input to make sure you keep it on 2 wheels so to speak. Riders tend to respect the dangers on a dirt bike more than on an ATV.

Also for whatever reason, the ATV/UTV world has decided that they do not need rider protection and seem to not even wear helmets.

Not the case with the dirt bikers.

Dirtbike Sam

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Common Dirt Bike Related Injuries:

  • Ankle Sprains
  • ACL Knee Tears
  • Broken Collarbone
  • Broken or sprained Wrist
  • Rotator Cuff Tears and shoulder injuries
  • Head or concussion injuries

All of the above injuries and more can happen as dirt biking really is a full-contact type of sport but lots of these injuries can actually be prevented!

Now that we have established the fact the dirt bike is dangerous, I do want to say that there are lots of ways to keep yourself safe and still have a great time!

Cancer and heart disease are really what’s killing us so I am willing to take my chances riding dirt bikes as it’s too much fun and takes me to the most amazing places.

There are ways to keep ourselves safe while dirt bike riding and even ways to prevent ourselves from crashing. 

How can Dirt Bike Related Injuries Be Prevented?

My answer is going to surprise lots of people be here we go!

Riding Technique

Riding Technique is BY FAR the most important thing when it comes to rider safety!

You probably thought I was going to say proper dirt bike riding safety gear like a helmet…..while those are extremely important learning proper riding techniques will save you from crashing and getting hurt.

Think about it….all the dirt bike gear is there in case of a crash……well what if you can learn how NOT to crash?

I wish this was something that someone had told me 20+ years ago when I got into dirt biking. Proper dirt biking technique would have saved me lots and lots of crashes that could have been avoided.

While I am not going to go into all the ins and outs of proper riding technique as that’s for another whole article and some.

I just want to make sure that you understand that learning how to ride your dirt bike the correct way will really cut down your dirt bike-related injuries.

Does this mean you won’t crash?

No, dirt bike is still dangerous and you will still crash but I know it sounds weird but your crashes will not be nearly as bad if you have proper technique.

It does NOT matter what type of dirt bike riding or how many times you have ridden a dirt bike. Riding technique is the best why to keep you safe. 

DirtbikeSam Banner Green
Dirt bike helmet crash

What Dirt Bike Gear do I NEED to be Safe?

I am going to say it again…..

Learning how to correctly ride a dirt bike helps keep you safe MORE THAN any dirt bike gear you can buy. The reason for this is it helps you prevent crashing.

Dirt bike gear only protects you WHEN you crash!

The goal is to NOT crash.

TOP 3 Dirt Bike Safety Gear:

  • Quality DOT/ECE Approved Helmet
  • Quality Dirt Bike Riding Boots
  • Dirt Bike Goggles


Here is our recommend Dirt Bike Helmets – CLICK HERE 


That’s it.

Do not skimp on the helmet or the riding boots. These are safety gear that you need to invest in. My general rule of thumb is to buy the best gear you can afford.

Yes, riding gloves and riding gear help but they are not as important as the helmet, boots, and goggles. 

What about other gear?

  • Body Armour like Chest protectors
  • Neck Brace
  • Shin and elbow guards
  • Knee braces

Yes, all that gear mentioned above does help. However, there is some difference in opinions when it comes to the safety of neck braces and where that crash energy is being directed.

Body armour is always a good idea and protects you from rocks sticks and falls. I do ride often with a chest protector. 



Riding buddies

Never Ride Alone

Since we are talking about how dangerous dirt biking is it’s important to get all the proper gear and such but you should also ride your dirt bike with a buddy or in a place where there are other dirt bike riders. 

This really helps if you crash and cannot get help on your own. Always tell others where you plan on riding and when you plan on getting home. 

There are also some really quality SOS GPS systems out there that can help you if you need emergency help.


However, if you get knocked out only a riding buddy is going to be able to quickly help you.

Dirtbike Sam

Even though dirt biking is considered a more dangerous sport, don’t let that scare you away from experiencing dirt biking. If you learn proper riding techniques and invest in proper riding gear you can ride your whole life without major injuries. I have to remind myself to sometimes leave my ego home when on riding trips as well.

See you guys out on the trails.