Dirt bike riding typically falls into a few distinct categories based on the locations and types of motorcycles that are used. The most common form of dirt biking is recreational off-road riding, which involves motorcycles that can be driven both on standard surface roads and on unpaved trails or courses. Motocross, on the other hand, requires lighter, more compact motorcycles that are driven on dirt tracks with numerous jumps and alley-oops. Finally, rallies are long-distance dirt bike races, such as the popular Europe-to-Africa Paris-Dakar rally, which involves motorcycles with larger fuel tanks and greater engine capacities.
Not surprisingly, dirt bikes are especially popular with teen riders. Under Florida law, riders less than 16 years of age are permitted to ride dirt bikes, provided they are supervised by an adult and have a certificate evidencing their completion of an approved Florida off-highway vehicle safety course. Those under 16 years of age must also wear proper eye protection, over-the-ankle boots and a United States Department of Transportation or Snell Memorial Foundation-approved helmet. Non-residents under 16 who are in Florida temporarily for a period not greater than 30 days are exempt from these requirements.
Heightened risks of injury
Dirt biking’s allure for young riders translates into increased numbers of injuries in those age groups. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 50,000 children ages five to 14 are injured each year riding vehicles such as dirt bikes. While this number is one-third or one-half of the injuries of other sports, such as bicycling (340,000 injuries), basketball (193,000 injuries), football (172,000 injuries) and baseball (130,000 injuries), the number is alarming in light of the fact that off-highway vehicle riding has significantly fewer participants. In certain, cases young riders have even lost their lives.
When costly and painful dirt bike injuries occur, only a qualified lawyer can determine the liability of all parties involved, which is a critical step in recovery.