Dirt bike companies don’t just pay the bills, they also provide the technology, marketing and training for their riders.
But, according to the National Dirt Bike Association, that technology is often lacking.
The NDAB’s executive director, Chris Burdick, told the AP that dirt bike companies have little to show for the hundreds of millions they have spent on equipment since 2004.
The industry is still in a transition, Burdik said, from a full-fledged professional sport to a recreational pursuit.
“I don’t think that you’ll see a huge boom in the dirt bikes that have been around for a while,” Burdack said.
“The industry’s going to take some time to get out of the transition phase and be a professional sport again.”
He added that the industry is also trying to address issues with the safety of its products, especially as the number of injuries and deaths on the road continues to rise.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s data shows that at least 1,200 people have died in the U.S. from crashes involving a dirt bike in the past two years.
The number of riders injured has also increased dramatically, the AP reported.
A recent study by researchers at UC Davis and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte found that the average rider who was killed on a dirt road was a woman, the report said.
It said the number is expected to rise further in the future.
In fact, the study estimated that a new dirt bike model with a front suspension system and a top speed of 50 mph could kill about 200 riders a year.
The authors also said that some manufacturers have begun installing safety equipment, including seat belts, a brake system and anti-lock brakes.
The AP also said there is little evidence that the dirtbike industry has improved safety measures in recent years, citing safety concerns over the use of a GPS system that tracks riders’ speed.
“There is no evidence that dirt bikes have improved safety since 2004,” the report concluded.
The report comes as the nation grapples with a spike in crashes on dirt roads and in other road settings.
The national average for crashes involving dirt bikes is about 14 per 100,000.
But in some parts of the country, the number could be as high as 60.
The numbers also appear to be trending upward.
In 2013, the U-T San Diego reported that crashes involving both dirt bikes and bicycles increased 13.3 percent in California from the year before.
In 2016, that figure jumped 19.4 percent, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The California Highway Patrol reported in 2016 that there were about 10,000 such crashes each year in the state, compared with about 9,000 the year prior.
The latest crash data comes as dirt bike advocates push for a national safety standard for the sport.
Burdicks group, which is based in Washington, D.C., said the industry needs to work to address the growing number of crashes involving its riders.
“We want to be a sport that’s safe and comfortable and accessible,” Buddack said in an interview.
“It needs to be accessible to people of all abilities and different backgrounds.
And it needs to offer an affordable and accessible solution.”