How to Avoid a Dirt Bike Accident
Last Saturday, June 6th, a Las Vegas man died after riding his dirt bike in eastern Idaho. According to Idaho State Police, the Nevada man (who was not wearing a helmet) was driving his Yamaha dirt bike near the intersection of Little Buffalo Road and Lynx Road. Dirt bikes are not meant to be driven on pavement, however this man drove his on the road. At 5:30pm, he drove his dirt bike off the shoulder. The motorcycle then went airborne and crashed. The man died from injuries at the scene. If the man was wearing a helmet, he may have survived. No matter how you look at it, this was a dangerous accident. With summer right around the corner and beautiful weather already here, more and more people are taking to their favorite recreational activities. If you’re a dirt bike rider, or looking to become one, there are some safety tips to consider. We break down the Nevada law around dirt bikes and tips on how to avoid getting into a dirt bike accident.
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What is a Dirt Bike?
A dirt bike is actually a type of motorcycle. It has more in common with motorcycles than it does with bicycles, despite the name. However, they are not the same.
Dirt bikes are a type of lightweight motorcycle, which are meant for off-roading. Typically, a dirt bike will have rugged tires and suspensions to handle tough terrain like dirt, sand, gravel, rocks, and mud. Dirt bikes are often made of plastic to remain lighter than their counterpart the motorcycle, which is usually made of metal.
Unlike motorcycles, dirt bikes have narrow tires with extra tread for increased traction and quick maneuvering. Dirt bike seats are also smaller and narrower than those of a motorcycle. Usually, dirt bikes have advanced suspension systems. They use hydraulic and spring shocks to absorb major shocks from rough terrain and jumps.
Dirt bikes are a popular form of outdoor recreational activity among adults and children alike. However, if you don’t ride responsibly, there is a greater risk for a crash and crash-related injuries.
Nevada Dirt Bike Law
Off-roading can be fun, but as the recent dirt bike accident in Idaho shows, it can be dangerous, too. Unlike motorcycles and other motor vehicles, young people under 21 can ride dirt bikes.
In Nevada, off-highway vehicle drivers must be licensed if they are 16 years old or older. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult who is licensed to drive. According to NRS 483.580, if the driver is an unlicensed minor, under 18 years old, then the parents can be held for negligence.
Nevada requires residents to register their off-road vehicles. Failure to register will result in a $100 fine according to NRS 490.520.
The Risks of Dirt Bike Riding
- According to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, dirt bike racing at official tracks has a higher risk for injuries. Motocross tracks often have jumps, which increases the risk for injuries. If you ride on dirt trails, you are less likely to have a fatal fall.
- Competitive riding has a high rate of injuries. Many people get into dirt bike riding as a sport—this comes with additional risks.
- You need to wear all safety gear to properly protect yourself. Wearing the full gear may be cumbersome and you may get complacent about it. Never ride without the proper safety gear.
- Children are allowed to ride, which poses greater dangers.
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Common Dirt Bike Injuries
The sport of dirt bike riding has a high chance for injuries. However, if you wear the proper gear and practice safe riding, you can avoid many of these injuries. Below are some of the more common dirt bike injuries.
- Broken Collarbone
- Shoulder Dislocation
- Broken Wrist
- Knee Injury or ACL Rupture
- Broken Ankle
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Tips to Avoid a Dirt Bike Accident
Some of these tips may seem obvious. But since dirt biking is a recreational activity, it can be easy to forget the basic safety requirements of driving a motor vehicle.
- Wear a helmet. If the helmet doesn’t come with a visor, wear goggles, too. Get properly fitted for a helmet, as sizes can vary from brand to brand.
- Wear all your protective gear. This includes goggles, gloves, boots, riding pants, etc. Proper safety gear can mean the difference between life and death.
- Use the buddy system. Don’t ride alone on roads that are far away or remote. Bring a friend. If you get into an accident or have an injury, the friend can call for help. If you’re out riding, make sure someone knows where you’re going.
- Slow down. Though it is tempting to push yourself and go as fast as you can, the faster you go, the more dangerous the ride.
- Maintain your bike. Mechanical issues could cause an accident. Have a maintenance checklist that you go through regularly.
- Understand your skill level. Know what you are ready for and what you still need to practice. For example, the safety of speed, jumps, and ascents and descents all depend on the skill level of the rider.
- Ride the right sized bike. Choose the right dirt bike for you. Some dirt bikes are bigger or have more power. Know what kind of bike you’re getting and if you’re ready to ride it.
- Avoid paved roads. Ride on designated trails. Dirt bikes are designed for dirt trails. 75% of dirt bike accidents occur in areas not designated for dirt bike riding.
- Practice. The more you practice riding your dirt bike, the more prepared you will be when something unexpected gets in your way on the trail. If you’re excited about a trail, do a practice run before you take it on with speed and tricks.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can put you into a fog. If you lose focus, you can make some dangerous maneuvers.
- Do not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Learn from a professional. Dirt bike riding will be much more enjoyable, and safer, if you know what you’re doing.
- Know your limits. Don’t try a jump you’re not ready for or go faster than you’re comfortable with. Know when you’ve reached your limit. Better to stay safe than sorry.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a dirt bike accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. A professional personal injury lawyer can help you protect your rights. Our car accident lawyers are experienced at handling all types of motor vehicle accidents. This includes accidents with large trucks or SUVs, accidents involving motorcyclists and bicyclists, and accidents where there was a driver who was driving under the influence/with an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
If you are looking for a law firm with experienced car accident attorneys, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers today. Not only do we have extensive car accident case experience, we are up to date on current legal challenges. This includes the latest events surrounding COVID-19. We will work aggressively to protect your rights and help you receive maximum compensation. While it’s okay to look up information on the Internet, or to get advice from well-meaning friends, when it comes to receiving the compensation you should get as an accident victim, you need a lawyer who can fight for you. Our phone number is (702) 857-6000. We offer Free Consultations. Our law office is located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley.