How to Crash a Dirt Bike and Live to Tell the Tale!

How to crash a dirt bike… or what happens when the shit hits the fan.

Sometimes crashing is unavoidable and crashing can happen for a few reasons.

You may have got the angle of the bike wrong on a jump, you gave it too much or too little speed, the bike became unstable during launch or you got into a mid-air tangle with another rider.

You may have hit the whoops too fast and you were kicked off your bike.


Whatever the reason, crashing is inevitable in dirt bike riding but there are ways to manage crashing and minimize injury.

In this article, I will show you a few ways to avoid the crash in the first place.

I’ll also talk about ways to try to correct the bike before the crash happens.

If all that fails though, I will show you how to crash and burn while avoiding as many injuries as possible.


#1 Protective gear is king. If your ride without protective gear, expect serious injury or even death.

#2 Riding within your capabilities is the key to minimizing crashes. Push it too hard and your crash rate will go up very high.

#3 A well conditioned body will sustain a crash much better then an untrained body. Fitness and flexibility training minimizes injury.

#4 When you are jumping and it look like you are going to crash, try to everything you can to correct the bike first. Also try to use the to take the initial impact.

#5 When coming off a bike, pull in your extremities, stay relaxed and try to use the rolling technique to minimize injury. Let your protective gear do its job.

#6 Assess yourself first before standing up to detect injury first.

#7 If there is a problem, stay laying down and seek assistance.

#1 Wear the Gear.

 This goes without saying but if you aren’t riding protective gear, expect serious injury or death.

Make sure you are wearing at least dirt bike boots and a helmet!

Ultimately though you need to be wearing the full kit of dirt bike gear if you want to minimize the risk of injury.

#2 Ride Within Your Capabilities.

In my experience, the riders that have sustained the worst injuries push it too hard too soon.

If you are determined to try a whip that you saw on a supercross video without any experience, expect serious injuries.

If you charge at whoops at full speed then you are going to get kicked off. If you hit them at a comfortable speed, you will stay on the bike.


This goes the same for road bikers. Most of the injuries and death from road bike riders occur from beginners trying to ride like Valentino Rossi and coming off at high speeds.

 Also, peer pressure is dangerous for beginners!

Peer pressure can push riders to push themselves harder than usual to impress their friends on the track.

Although this sometimes is  not necessarily a bad thing for experienced riders, for beginner riders it can be disastrous.

Pushing yourself too hard as a beginner will usually lead to crashing so make sure you don’t let peer pressure get the better of you.

 The best way to minimize crashing is to ride within your capabilities and experience.

 For more information about dirt bike riding risk, have a read of my article about the risks of dirt bike riding.

#3 Fitness is Big!!

It’s no secret that a well exercised and fit body can absorb impacts better than an untrained body.

Why? Because your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments are conditioned to handle heavier work.

Also muscles act as natural body armor and it makes your body more elastic and resistant to injury.

An untrained body is not conditioned for strength and flexibility and parts will break a lot easier on impact.

For more information about this, read my article about dirt bike fitness.

#4 When Jumping, Try to Stay on the Bike.

Whatever the case is, it’s really important that you stay on the bike and try to fix the problem in mid-air.

Nobody wants to bale out when they are still flying through the air and the problem may be fixable when the wheels hit the ground.

There is always a chance that you will land upright and the bike will absorb the crash impact instead of your body.


 While still in mid-air try to use the mid-air trimming techniques I talk about in my article about jumping a dirt bike to try to get the bike back into a good position.

 Also, try altering your balance and also try yanking on the handlebars to try to alter the inertia of the bike to keep the wheels pointing towards the dirt.

 #5 Crashing.

In the case of crashing, use these points that I have found to be helpful over the years of eating dirt and breaking a few bones.

a. Keep your Body Relaxed.

When crashing, the body naturally wants to tense up as a protective mechanism to try to shield you from damage.

The problem with this is that you lose your flexibility and are more likely to break bones and tear ligaments by being tense.

 Instead, pull in your extremities as much as possible but stay relaxed, almost rag doll like.


b. Use Your Protective Gear for Impact.

On your way back to earth, if you use your hands and arms to try to take the impact, they are more likely to break on impact.

 Instead try to pull your arms and legs in and let your boots, knee guards, chest armor, shoulder armor and helmet take the impact of the fall.

d. Rolling

 Tucking your legs up and keeping your head down is a good technique when you need to roll.

Rolling will protect your arms and legs from damage and your protective gear will be used to it fullest potential.

#6 Don’t Get Up Too Quickly.

 Don’t try to be a hero by standing up quickly like everything is cool.

 Give it a few moments while you are lying in the dirt to self-assess your body for pain, numbness or other injury before getting up.

 If you feel okay, start to move slowly to make sure everything is still working. If there’s a problem, lie back down again.

#7 If There’s Pain, Numbness or Other Strange Sensations.

 Stay on the ground and don’t move and wait for the medics to come and scoop you up.

Also don’t take off your helmet as doing this may exacerbate spinal or head injuries.

 Don’t let other riders or track marshals try to assess you. They aren’t medically qualified and they can only help you by getting the medics and rerouting traffic. The best way to help is to get a medic.


Let me know the worst crash you’ve ever had in your dirt bike life below. What techniques worked the best for you?

 Safe Riding!

Title photo courtesy of Andrea La Rosa 

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