BMXing is irrefutably a fun sport. While most people will agree with that, they often cannot agree that the fun supersedes the risks. So, is BMX riding dangerous?
Studies by Insider.com and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) agree that BMX riding can be dangerous. Primarily, that is because BMX riding is fast-paced, high-risk, treachery, and sometimes the riders themselves make it dangerous.
And since there are underlying reasons that make it dangerous, the risks are reducible, and I’ll share with you the tips.
I’ll also share the typical body injuries associated with BMXing and their respective prevention tips, plus steps to take after an injury to boost your recovery.
But first, let’s look at what experts say about BMXing and your safety.
How Is BMX Riding Dangerous?
BMX riding is dangerous because of its high injury rate, and studies prove that. Let’s start with an Insider.com analysis. According to Insider.com, BMX riders had a 38% injury rate at the 2016 Olympics compared to only 8% of every other Olympian.
That’s not all. Insider rates the injury rate for BMX riders higher than in mountain biking, boxing, and Taekwondo. Here’s a breakdown:
|Type Of Sport
But is BMX the most dangerous sport?
According to one recent NLM study, the answer is NO! The NLM study argues that while BMX riding is dangerous, the injury rate is much lower than race cycling.
That means riders who participate in road racing and cross country have a higher injury rate than BMX riders. The NLM study even shows that BMX riders suffer fewer head injuries than racing cyclists.
Why Is BMX Riding Dangerous?
Now that it’s undeniable that BMX riding is dangerous, it’s sensible to ask why it is so. Generally, BMX riding is dangerous because of these reasons:
1. BMX Riding Is Fast-Paced
BMX riding can be very fast, sometimes faster than mountain biking if you are riding a race BMX. Some of these bikes can clock a top speed of 30-40mph or more, though short distances.
With such high speed comes the difficulty of steading the bike and maintaining it on course. You could quickly lose control and get thrown out of the cycle, making it dangerous.
2. BMX Riding Is High-Risk
BMX riding involves high-risk moves such as mid-air stunts, high jumps, among other dangerous maneuvers.
If you are not careful or not properly geared, you could land badly and break something on your body. Besides, as suggested by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), most BMX injuries statistics are due to performing stunts.
3. BMX Riding Is Treacherous
BMX dirt trails and riding tracks are not as straightforward as regular roads or cycling trails. You may have to go over steep rumps and angled turns, and that’s never easier.
Usually, the risk of losing control of the bike and crashing is higher when the tracks are treacherous. It calls for experience to maneuver safely.
4. The ‘Rider’ Factor
Sometimes the rider makes BMX riding dangerous. They improve the risks of crashing and sustaining an injury. Here are scenarios when the rider can make BMX riding dangerous.
- If The Rider Is Inexperienced
Experience is essential in attempting stunts on a BMX. Studies show that minimal experience contributes to 50% of BMX accidents. So, the less experience you have, the more likely you will suffer an accident, especially when you are less careful.
- If the Rider Is Too Scared to Ride
While taking risks improves the risk of hurting yourself, fear doesn’t help either. In fact, fear puts you at a much higher risk as the nerves and doubts make it easy for you to make a mistake.
- If The Rider Fails to Wear Safety Gear
No matter your experience, you cannot avoid an accident if you don’t gear up. It will help if you protect your face, head, chest, wrists, elbows, and knees, and that means putting on the right BMX riding gear.
- If The Rider Is Intoxicated
While this is less common, drugs and alcohol impair a BMX rider’s judgment, which improves the risk of crashing. If you want to ride safely, you must stay sober to make a better judgment.
- If The Rider Is Too Daring
Most BMX riders are high-risk takers. You could easily describe them as insane if you consider the out-of-textbook maneuvers they attempt. Usually, the riskier the tricks, the higher the risk of hurting oneself.
Other Possible Causes
In addition to the above reasons, BMX riding is dangerous because of the following reasons.
- The Bikes Lack Suspension,
Unfortunately, BMX bikes don’t have the suspension to offer you enough power to thrust over obstacles.
The danger of lacking a suspension means that your body and the bike absorb all the impact, which can be dangerous if you land badly.
- The Bikes Lack Standard Brakes
Often, BMX bikes only come with rear brakes, which means it’s much harder to bring them to a stop. Others only have a front brake, while only a few have both.
Common BMX Riding Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Here are common BMXing injuries and how you can avoid them (or minimize) their severity:
1. Head/ Brain Injuries
Head injuries are arguably the most typical injuries related to BMX riding. Essentially, that’s because most BMX cyclists ride without helmets either out of ignorance or because the law doesn’t require them to.
Learn to wear a helmet before going on a BMX riding adventure. Consider getting a full-face BMX helmet (View on Amazon) to boost your safety.
2. Back/ Spinal Injuries
Some BMX riders fall on their back and hurt their back and spine. The danger of hurting the latter is that you could become paralyzed, something you wouldn’t want.
Consider wearing a padded shirt or rest or body armor to protect your upper body. A spine guard can also help to protect your spine.
3. Knee Pain
Most riders fall on their knees when they fall off the knee cap, resulting in excruciating pain. That’s likely to happen if your knees are exposed.
Consider investing in quality BMX riding knee guards and wear them wherever you go. They’ll reduce the impact on your knee in case you fall on them.
4. Wrist Injuries
Wrist injuries are likely to occur from not changing your hand position often or holding onto a handlebar. The positioning of your elbow also matters as if you don’t bend then correctly, you could hurt your wrist.
Learn to change your hand position often to reduce pressure. Also, slightly bend the elbows and avoid being too stiff. It may also help to wear wrist braces to support your wrist.
5. Chest Injuries
Chest injuries are common when you fall on your chest or hit the handlebar with your chest after a heavy landing or breaking. The danger is that you can hurt a vital part such as the lung or ribs.
Wear body armor or chest protector to protect your chest. A protective riding jacket or padded vest or shirt can help.
6. Skin Abrasions
Depending on how you fall, your exposed skin could also suffer an abrasion (popularly known as a road rash). Sometimes, the bruise may be accompanied by confusion, laceration, or soft tissue damage.
Cover every exposed part of your skin susceptible to abrasion and lacerations.
7. Saddle Soreness
Since BMX bikes have no suspension and the seats are usually small, suffering saddle soreness is much higher.
Consider wearing padded cycling shorts to reduce the body saddle contact and the possibility of damaging a nerve and causing saddle numbness. You can also throw a padded seat cover on your BMX seat.
Other possible injuries which you should be wary of include:
- Abdomen laceration
- Neck injuries
- Foot numbness
- Muscle tightness
- Achilles tendonitis
- Clavicle fractures
Most cycling injuries are preventable by wearing the right BMX riding gear. Depending on what’s essential, invest in the right BMX riding gear (View on Amazon) to stay safe.
Critical Steps for Quick Recovery After A BMX Accident
While most BMX injuries are preventable, some are not. Nonetheless, you can make your recovery quick. Here’s what you can do:
a) R.I.C.E Technique
Here’s how this technique goes:
- Rest – It’s important to avoid engaging in strenuous activity after an accident and just rest. Resting will help your body recover quickly. You can, however, do mild exercises (explained next) as that’s important in the rehabilitation
- Ice – Ice can reduce inflammation, swelling, and even pain. So, apply it.
- Compression – Prevent excessive swelling by applying pressure to the area by tying a loose bandage around it.
- Elevation – Encourage blood flow to the injured area by elevating it.
b) Mild Exercises
While resting is important, you should do milk exercises like walking, hinges, squads, bridges, and quad extensions to flex the injured muscles and facilitate fast healing. Just ensure you don’t strain.
It’s essential to see a physiotherapist after an injury to help you develop a better routine and recommendations that can help your rehabilitation.
During the recovery process, you should consider what caused the injury and avoid it. It could be high-risk or not wearing the right gear. So, analyze the situation better.
People Also Ask
1. Are BMX Bikes Dangerous?
BMX bikes themselves are not dangerous. The risk comes from riding them fast and performing high-risk stunts, especially without the right gear and not having the experience. But once you take precautions and gear up, BMX riding is less dangerous.
2. Has Anyone Died from BMX?
BMX riding can be fatal, and so yes, some people die from riding BMX. However, most of them sustain injuries that they later recover from after extensive rehabilitation.
3. Is BMX More Dangerous Than Football?
BMX riding can be more dangerous than football if the rider is experienced and doesn’t wear the right gear. While football has some risks, they are fewer and less dreadful than BMXing.
Is BMX Riding Dangerous? Closing Thought:
There is no denying that BMX riding can be dangerous, especially if you are less experienced, a high-risk taker, too timid to ride, or do not wear the right gear.
However, you can reduce the risk by gearing up well and exercising caution when riding.