California has miles of off-road trails that are perfect for people who love riding dirt bikes. Just like riders on the roadways, trail riders should follow some basic safety rules.
The California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program offers the following recommendations:
- As on the roadways, off-roaders should stay on the right side of trails
- A person passing from behind or traveling uphill has the right of way; riders should yield the right of way any time it’s not obvious who has it, unless when it isn’t safe to do so
- Dirt bikes must yield to horses, hikers, runners and mountain bikes
- Visibility tends to be very low when approaching curves and the crests of hills; riders should approach these slowly with the assumption that there are other vehicles ahead
- Some hills may be too steep to ride up; a rider shouldn’t ride down a steep hill unless he or she already knows that the dirt bike will make it back up
- Non-motorized trail enthusiasts may share some of the same areas, so it is important to know whether horse riders, joggers, hikers, bicycle riders and others may be present and watch for them
Because there is no age limit for riding on trails, other riders may be young or inexperienced. When approaching other dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, etc., riders should allow plenty of following distance and give themselves time to stop.
Motorcycle parts can become extremely hot during a ride. Riders should not stop in areas where the undergrowth or grass is tall enough to come into contact with the bike’s hot surfaces.
Dirt bike accidents on the trails may be quite serious, particularly because of the distance from emergency responders and a lack of access to emergency vehicles. It is a good idea to always have a cellphone on a ride as well as ride with another person at all times to lower the risks of delayed treatment.