Riding dirt bikes or any other motorcycle, for that matter, is a good outdoor activity. If you are passionate about bikes and biking, chances of your children being attracted to them are pretty high. Riding dirt motorbikes has become a popular outdoor activity among the kids. It is the perfect hobby. The thrill and adventure that comes with it are enough to attract anyone. Kids as young as seven or eight are passionate about biking these days. Programs like ‘The Junior Red Rider’s Program’ encourage them even more. Any child who can comfortably ride a two-wheel bicycle is good to go.
If you are one such parent whose kids love riding dirt bikes, you should make sure that they are doing it safely. Prevention is always better than cure. So, here we bring you a safety guide for riding dirt bikes. The guide is especially aimed at the pint-sized bikers and their parents.
The first thing to do is to judge whether your child is fit for riding a dirt bike or not. Before sending your child on a dirt bike riding trip make sure he is ready for it. The child must be mentally and physically ready to ride the bike. Getting on and off the bike should not be a problem for the child. The child must properly be taught everything about handling the bike. Applying brakes as and when required, reaching the gearshift lever, maintaining a constant safe speed and knowing all the operational controls of the bike is a must for every rider. Testing the peripheral vision of the child is also important before letting him set out on the bike.
2. CHOOSING THE PERFECT DIRT BIKE
Choosing the perfect dirt bike for your child can be a tough task. Different kids are fit for riding different bikes as per their age, height, and weight. A 70 cc or small engine bike is good for children aged six to eleven years. However, the same may not be a favourite among the teenagers. Teenagers, aged thirteen to fifteen years, may prefer a 90cc bike or any other higher power bike. Apart from the power of the bike, a lot of other factors need to be kept in mind before sealing the deal. A thumb rule to be remembered here – Never go for a bike with power more than 110 CC if the child is less than five feet tall and younger than ten years.
3. CHOOSING THE PERFECT SAFETY GEAR
Buying your kid the perfect safety gear is as important as buying the bike itself. It is not really recommended to order them online as the child needs to test them before buying. Make sure that the helmet, riding suit, gloves, and shoes fit nicely to the child. Oversized equipment will do more harm than good. Head safety is the most important factor while riding the bike. It is recommended to buy a helmet having Department of Transportation label on it. Goggles must be bought keeping in mind that they cover the eyes fully. Nothing flying past the child should be able to hit the eye. Also, they must not block sight. Any kind of designing on the glasses is not preferable. A chest protector is essential to protect the child from any kind of debris flying around. However, it is optional. What is not optional is a pair of good quality socks and boots. They provide protection to the child’s lower legs, ankles, and feet and are an absolute necessity before setting out on the trip. Also safeguarding your bike with proper motorcycle accessories is highly recommended.
4. TEACHING THE CHILD HOW TO RIDE A BIKE
If your child can comfortably ride a two-wheel bicycle, he is all set to learn to ride a dirt bike. If you are not an experienced dirt bike driver, it is important to enrol your child in a professional dirt bike riding course. However, if you are an experienced driver yourself and want to teach your child, make sure they do not make it fun and games. Make sure they are actually paying attention to what you are teaching or saying. Be a strict teacher even if you are a not so strict parent. Keep your emotions aside and point their mistakes out until they become perfect at it.
5. MONITORING THE PROGRESS
Once your child has started riding the bike, monitoring the progress is important. It is recommended that you accompany the child on their initial trips. Just teaching them how to control the bike is not enough. Actually, monitoring them while riding and pointing the mistakes out is as important as teaching itself. The area for riding must be chosen after taking proper precaution. Designated safe biking areas are recommended for the child bike riders. Avoid riding on the roads as much as you can.
6. PACKING THE RIGHT STUFF
Last on the safety list is packing the right stuff. It is good if you carry a first aid kit, some snacks, water, towels etc with you. A multipurpose first aid kit, however, is a must. An extra pair of gloves and goggles can also help you avoid some unfavourable situations. Children are more prone to injury and accidents. Also, carrying equipment for cleansing (both the child and the bike) is recommended if not mandatory. It will ease your journey back home and add some extra years to the life of your dirt bike. If you are planning a full day biking trip with some resting hours in between, then carrying a PlayStation or some comics to keep the child occupied there is also a good idea.
For many parents, it is a mission to pass on their enthusiasm for the two-wheeler to their child. Thus, these were some of the tips and tricks to help you have a memorable dirt bike riding trip with your kids. Enjoyment, adventure, and thrill are secondary to safety. Make sure you have all the safety equipment ready before setting out. Good luck!
Jessica is a traveller by heart. Along with frequently penning down her thoughts related to the travel experiences, she is an avid biker and an expert reviewer of motorcycle adventure products too.