A little bit of common sense can go
a long way.
Riding a motorcycle initially can be
a simple prospect in itself, but
riding off road or at a track can
present many serious issues.
To ride a motorcycle off road at
high speeds with near perfect
control demands a very complex
To achieve this kind of control it
can and will take years of
concentrated effort and practice.
You cannot shortcut this process.
Safety / Track etiquette
Know the track rules and follow
Use common sense, take time to
figure out how things work on
and off the track.
Be aware of your surroundings
Look up (heads up), make good use of
your peripheral vision.
Know the limitations of you and your
Don't ride over your head or out of
Pay your dues with seat time and
practice, not injuries.
How to ride
in the pits
Slow / 1st Gear / 5 miles per hour /
Only slow riders ride fast in the
How to get on and off the track
Make sure you get on the track going
the right direction
Use designated entrances and exits.
If there are no designated exits or
entrances, get on and of on a slow
part of the track where you can be
easily seen, Not on the back side of
a jump or on a fast straight of way.
√ Don't make sudden track crossings.
If your going to get off the track
merge way ahead of time to the side
of the track that you are going to
get of at.
If you feel you have enough control
you can raise your hand to let other
riders know that you are getting off
If you are coming up on riders you
should learn to read their body
If the turn coming up is to the left
and the rider in front is going
straight or leaning right (in the
opposite direction) you have to
yield to him I.E. go in his
direction until you get slowed up
enough to avoid a collision.
On the Track
Always Take one slow lap for viewing
the track, checking track layout,
track conditions and track changes.
Hold your line, don't make sudden
direction changes. Let the faster
riders behind you find a way around
Try to leave adequate space between
you and the rider you are passing.
If you accidentally get to close its
better to lean into the other rider
with your shoulder and push the
handlebars away from the other bike
so the bars don't lock and cause you
and or the other rider to go down.
Learn to read the riders directions
or body language, I. E. does he look
out of control, does he look like
he's going to fall, is he making
unpredictable moves, is he going to
get off the track some where ahead.
For instance if an upcoming corner
turns left and the rider up ahead is
not leaning left but going straight
or leaning right you can bet he's
not going to turn.
The rider behind must always yield
to the rider ahead. In my opinion
its always the rider behind's
obligation not to run into the rider
ahead, and yet the rider in front
should not make sudden moves that
even the best rider may not be able
to avoid a collision.
Try to ride on tracks and in
practices with riders of your size
and ability and general speed.
It is dangerous to consistently not
be clearing jumps that other riders
are clearing. You want to avoid
jumping on or being jumped on, I.E.
collision while jumping double
What to do when you fall
Get off the track before someone
runs into you (if you can)
(In areas where you can be seen)
Pick your bike up and get going
quickly if you can't restart your
bike in two or three kicks push the
bike off the track.
(On a blind jump)
1) Look back up the track to
oncoming traffic and get off the
track without getting hit
2) run up the side of the jump to
the top so that you can flag down
other riders until you can get
someone to flag for you so you can
recover your bike.
Get to know the track and its
surroundings before going full
Assess a potentially dangerous area
Is there anything at all surrounding
the track that I would hit if I were
to loose control and go off the
track I.E. Tree, pole, fence, car,
This kind of danger is very common
in trail riding I.E. trees, rocks,
cliffs, wash outs, ditches, road
By being aware of your surroundings
you can be more care full and or be
able to react better to any
potential loss of control.
Double jumps: What kind of landing
surface are you looking at?
Will you and or your motorcycle be
able to handle the landing if you
come up short or over jump?
Whoops: Are they deep and are the
faces steep? If I get a little out
of shape is my front wheel going to
catch and or turn, causing me to
Inconsistencies in track
Ruts, potholes, bumps, mud, deep
soft soil, dry slick, muddy slick.
What do you do if you spot a
potentially dangerous situation?
If you have a problem with
something, bring it to the attention
of an official.
At the very least make yourself and
your group aware of the problem so
that you can avoid an incident.
The more protection the better
Helmet, Boots, Kneepads and or
braces, chest protector with neck
brace, elbow pads, long pants, and
Size fit and adjustment
Condition / Brake in period
Gear should be in good condition to
insure good protection.
Make sure your gear is not to stiff
to be able to control the bike
New boots may need to be broken in
before you can ride normally.
Keep goggles and lenses clean and
Use tear offs so you can keep your
lenses unobscured.Physical / Mental
The Better condition you are in the
less likely you will be to get
If and when you do get injured it
will probably be less severe and you
will also recover faster.
Always keep full concentration on
riding and what's going on in the
Riding is fun but at the same time
it's serious business.
When your riding it's never a good
time to fool around.
If you find yourself getting
fatigued to the point where you
cannot fully concentrate and your
judgment may be impaired, get off
the track and take a break until
Learn to fall
Get gymnastics training, a tumbling
program is probably the easiest way
When you "low side", sometimes it's
best to "lay the bike down".
When you "high side", you have to
step off, tuck and roll, tumble or
slide. Don't try to stop the fall by
straight arming or straight legging
If your bike breaks at the wrong
moment you could be in serious
Read your manual and do all your
Before every ride:
Check bike completely for loose
nuts, bolts and spokes.
Check your bike completely for
Adjust and lube, chain and controls.
Make sure motor and suspension is in
smooth and consistent working
Any unpredictable reaction from your
motorcycle could result in a crash
and possible injury.
Focus intensely at the task at hand.
Let the subconscious do its thing.
Although you are relatively aware of
everything going on around you, only
focus on the things important to
performing the task at hand.
Don't ride too slow or easy or fool
around on the track.
Most accidents and injuries occur
with a momentary lapse of
See everything, look ahead and
anticipate the effect of the
Position and posture.
Stay centered while riding.
Connecting with the motorcycle
Feel everything while it happens.
Apply all controls progressively as
you feel and realize the reaction to
The Brett Downey Safety