We begin on tricycles, work our way up to bicycles with training wheels, and then graduate to cycling on city streets and highways. But what if you feel the need for speed and adventure?
Motorcycles are always one option. Yet, they don’t really allow you to venture far off the beaten track. That’s where dirt bikes come in. These vehicles, which are defined for insurance purposes as two-wheel motorized vehicles specifically designed for off-road use, allow riders to access all of the beauty and fun that Alberta’s backcountry and trails have to offer.
Of course, all activities carry some risks, and dirt bike riding is no exception. Dirt bike riders can sustain serious injuries, or even death, if they are thrown from their vehicles, collide with another hazard or bike, or fall from their bike. Bikers who participate in official supercross or motocross races are not immune to these injuries either. In fact, more than 50% of dirt bike injuries requiring hospitalization occur during these events. The competition, stunts and crowdedness of these events make bikers more prone to serious injury.
If you’ve been injured in a dirt bike accident, you may believe that you alone are at fault for your injuries; however someone else’s negligence may have actually caused or contributed to the accident or the severity of your injuries. A free, no obligation consultation with Litco Law Edmonton dirt bike accident lawyers can help you determine what, if any benefits you’re entitled to, and whether you can make a claim for compensation for your losses.
The Rules of the (Off)-Road
If you are using your ATV as you would a passenger car on a highway or traffic roadway, you need to abide by all the rules for regular motor vehicles, like have a valid driver’s license and registration. if you are simply crossing the street with your dirt bike, you have to dismount and yield to traffic as if you were a pedestrian. Drivers, who must also remove any items attached to the vehicle before crossing, must take the most direct available route across. If your dirt bike is used on these roads or other public land, it must also be registered with Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation. Dirt bike riders must be at least 14 years to operate a vehicle on public land, and operators under this age must be directly supervised by an adult.
By law, all off-road vehicles, including dirt bikes, must have at least one headlight, one taillight and a muffler.
Dirt Bike Statistics
According to MotoShark, dirt bike injuries have declined significantly in the past 20 years. While that is certainly good news, thousands of people each year continue to suffer serious personal injuries, and many of them are children. Almost 90% of dirt bike accident casualties occur in males and children aged 12-15-years old recorded the highest rate of non-fatal trauma. Children under the age of 16 accounted for more than seven out of 10 non-fatal accidents.
Although motocross accidents result in more than 50% of hospitalizations, they comprise only about 20% of all accidents. Almost three out of every four dirt bike accidents occur in the natural environment. On motocross tracks almost one in 10 injuries were related to jumps, while one in 20 were due to collisions with another off-road vehicle.
Dirt Bike Injuries
Common injuries sustained during dirt bike accidents include:
Bone fractures – Almost two-thirds of all fractures occur below the waist (broken legs, ankles and bones in the feet) from collisions with other bikes or objects or falls to the ground. Above the waist, broken wrists and broken collar bones are frequent injuries. These usually occur when a rider reflexively braces for impact when falling off a bike by reaching their arms out to cushion a fall.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries – Any blow to the head, or sudden stop at high speeds, can cause damage to the brain. In some cases, the effects of this injury don’t appear for days or even weeks, but they can be long-lasting or permanent. A traumatic brain injury can alter or severely limit a person’s cognitive abilities and cause significant disruption to their lives.
Spinal cord and nerve damage – So much of our physical ability is derived from the area between our brain stem and tail bone. Our spinal cord is the superhighway that allows our brain to send messages to various body parts. If that route is severed or otherwise damaged, these brain messages can’t get through. As a result, we may experience severe nerve pain, paralysis, or other disability.
Internal injuries – Blunt force trauma to our bodies can seriously damage our internal organs, lead to internal bleeding and cause fractures to protective areas of our body such as our ribs.
How Can Dirt Bike Riders Protect Themselves?
While some accidents and injuries will occur despite our best efforts to stay safe, the following tips could help you avoid an accident or limit the extent of any injuries from an accident.
Wear the right clothing – Breathable, stretchable, durable and snug clothing is important to protect your skin from abrasions, scuffs and scrapes while riding through wooded areas. Off-road boots are specially designed for this type of activity. This lightweight and breathable footwear includes durable outsoles, a protective shin plate and provides flexibility for good ankle movement. Finally, motocross gloves offer good protection from burns and abrasions while limiting the extent of vibrations that can tire hands.
Wear protective gear – A full face helmet that offers a wide viewport and jaw protection is strongly advised. These helmets are made to reduce the risk of both blunt force trauma and to limit the rotational force that can also cause serious brain injury. Neck braces to protect your spinal cord, goggles that protect your eyes from the elements or dust and debris, knee braces and knee and elbow pads are all pieces of equipment that will significantly reduce your risk of serious injury.
Get proper training – A dirt bike or ATV safety course can not only help new riders become comfortable on these machines, but it can also help instill good safety practices to ensure you’re doing the most possible to avoid accidents and injuries.
Supervision – Absolutely no one under the age of 14 should operate a dirt bike without parental supervision or the supervision of a knowledgeable and competent adult (especially one with dirt bike experience). But, even when riders graduate from this age bracket, it’s always a smart idea to ride with at least one other buddy to ensure someone can offer or call for help in the event of an accident.
Have insurance – dirt bikes are usually covered by all perils insurance, comprehensive dirt bike insurance, or basic peril dirt bike insurance. Each of these three options offers different levels of coverage, so be sure to get the right kind of insurance for your needs.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Injured?
The first few moments after an injury can be a blur. You may be knocked unconscious or in so much pain that it’s hard to think. The most important thing to do is to seek medical attention for your injuries by either calling for an ambulance or visiting a doctor or hospital. Not only is it a good idea to be assessed to ensure you receive appropriate and timely treatment, but it also creates a medical record that is often necessary to access benefits or to file a claim for compensation.
If you or another person present is able, take photos of the accident site and any visible injuries. If any GoPro footage was taken by you or other riders, ensure it’s preserved. Record the names and contact information of any witnesses present and ask for a driver’s insurance information if another vehicle is involved. Finally, take note of any factors which may have contributed to the accident, including poor visibility, bad weather, or hazardous areas without warning signs.
Beyond the coverage of medical expenses that Alberta Health Care provides if you’re hospitalized or otherwise need to see a medical doctor, there may be other funds available to help with your recovery. If your dirt bike (or another vehicle involved) carried standard motor vehicle insurance, you may be entitled to draw on Section B benefits for your injuries. These benefits include income replacement, coverage for some popular medical treatments, other medical expenses, and death or funeral benefits if there was a fatality. If the insurance picture is less clear, or if you have any concerns as you contact your insurer to inquire about benefits, it may be in your best interest to consult an Edmonton dirt bike accident lawyer.
What Can Litco Law Do For You?
Insurance policy language can be confusing at the best of times, but trying to understand it when you’re injured and scared can be especially difficult. That’s where we come in. Litco Law Edmonton dirt bike accident lawyers have the knowledge, experience and skill to investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and to determine what insurance policies and benefits you may be entitled to. Moreover, if you’ve received a denial of coverage letter from your insurer, our team can assist with your appeal.
Beginning with a free, no obligation consultation, we’ll listen to your story with compassion and genuine interest, explain your legal options, and tell you how we may be able to recover money for you if you choose to work with us. We only receive payment if we are successful in putting money in your pocket.
If another person’s negligence caused or contributed to your accident or injury, we may also be able to seek compensation for damages, losses, and your pan and suffering. This negligence can include manufacturer defects in a dirt bike, an owner’s failure to properly maintain a bike you’re using, a dirt bike’s owner’s failure to properly supervise an under-aged person riding the vehicle, negligent upkeep of private land where the accident occurred, and many other action or inaction.
Injuries that result in permanent disability may also require calculable future care costs. By ensuring you receive the proper medical evaluations, expert opinions detailing your losses and ongoing needs, and creating strong court-ready cases, we encourage insurers to settle with you in a fair and timely manner; and if they don’t, we’re more than ready to take them on in court.
Since many dirt bike injuries affect young people whose brains have not fully matured and who may face significant future losses from an injury, it is especially wise for minors to be represented by able lawyers with expertise in this area of law.
A Reputation You Can Count On
Recognized by our peers for our professionalism, skill, and proven track record for results, we’ve been named one of Canada’s Top Ten Boutique Personal Injury Firms (Canadian Lawyer Magazine). For more than 45 years, past clients have agreed. They tell us that our lawyers are trustworthy, approachable, understandable, compassionate, caring, and extremely effective negotiators and advocates. These clients have referred many other people to us over the years because they know when you’re our client, we treat you like family and not just a number.
Litco Law Edmonton dirt bike accident lawyers will always treat you with respect and be attentive to all aspects of your healing. With us on your side and by your side in Edmonton, we’ll work to support your financial, emotional and physical needs as you move forward confidently to a brighter future.
Looking For A Dirt Bike Accident Lawyer in Edmonton? Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the counties of Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon. When you need a Dirt Bike Accident Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litco Law Personal Injury Lawyers.