This is a follow up to “The Truth About Why Motocross is so “Dangerous” These Days”
Safety in this sport is something that I am very passionate about and you should be too. I realize motocross will always be dangerous, but I am serious about seeing fewer injuries. A while back, an open discussion on Vital MX got me thinking about what we can do to make motocross safer in 2016. I wrote this at that point, but didn’t post it for some reason. There was a lot of talk about tracks and bikes, but if you think about it, neither one of these is the solution.
Four strokes are more dangerous than two strokes. There I said it. They put the power to the ground in a way that makes it too easy for unskilled riders to go fast and jump big jumps. They are heavier and combined with the increased rotating mass in the engine are harder to save once out of control.
I’m sorry, two strokes aren’t coming back. Four strokes have a competitive advantage due to smooth power delivery and extra displacement.
It’s also popular to blame tracks. Make jumps safer. Make more tabletops. I have raced and rode for 20 years and have barely ever crashed on a double or triple. In fact I have had more nasty get-offs on “safe” jumps like tabletops. Honestly, most of my worst crashes have happened on rough straightaways. If someone tries to jump a jump they shouldn’t be jumping or makes a mistake such as hitting a kicker or getting cross-rutted you can’t blame this on the track. It’s on the rider to assess the situation. I once crashed off a tiny ass tabletop because I hit the corner before it so fast I didn’t straighten out before hitting the takeoff. This was my fault not the track’s.
Sure, it seems more and more tracks are too fast and not challenging enough, allowing unskilled riders to go too fast and hit jumps they shouldn’t be hitting. The problem is, typically beginner riders love these tracks, because it makes them feel fast. These tracks get a good turnout, there’s no way the owners will change them. You typically hear about a lot of serious injuries at these tracks. Bring back off cambers, flat corners and technical jumps.
Tracks aren’t going to change. Most track owners act like they’re willing to listen to people’s ideas and opinions to improve their tracks, but they never really seem to listen.
So what’s the quickest way to make motocross less dangerous?
Coaching proper technique and preaching good decision making from the beginning of one’s riding career. Kids are coached from the start of their careers in all other sports, why not motocross? Learn proper technique first, learn how to corner properly, learn how to control your bike off a small jump, then consider jumping the big jump. In motocross, a majority of riders never take the time to properly learn the fundamentals… I’ve actually heard people claim that they’re bike isn’t fast enough to make it cleanly over a jump out of a corner (this wasn’t the bike’s fault; it was a lack of corner speed).
When everyone rode two strokes, a lot of the time you needed skill to jump the big jump, now any person out on the track can go jump it, because of their bike. It’s scary to watch.
There’s a reason some riders are always injured and other riders rarely are – it comes down to personal decision making. Just because there’s a jump in the track doesn’t mean you have to jump it.
Wait… there’s one more way you can make motocross safer for yourself
Physical conditioning. Work on your strength, flexibility and endurance. In the past I had many crashes that wouldn’t have happened if I were more fit. You get tired, your bike gets out of shape and it’s tough to pull your bike out of it, resulting in you being slammed into the ground. Even if you are fit, you will still going sometimes, this is where strength and flexibility will help you bounce back up and continue the rest of the moto.
Take it upon yourself to make motocross safer
Think twice before locking your throttle and going for that big jump. Find a reputable coach and work on your technique. The key word here is reputable; this probably isn’t the local fast guy. Next start to work on your fitness… Stretching, push-ups, pull-ups, core workouts & running are all things you can do with no special equipment.