If you want to race motocross, you have to become a member of the AMA. “The American Motorcyclist Association is an American nonprofit organization of more than 200,000 motorcyclists that organizes numerous motorcycling activities and campaigns for motorcyclists’ legal rights.” Its mission statement is “to promote the motorcycling lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.” For someone who did not grow up in MX, like myself, my understanding is that I am joining this organization to be guided and protected in this sport.
The AMA rule book seems to provide rules and guidance to track owners but your having a hard time finding out what protection it offers its riders. You sign a waiver the minute you step foot on the track property to release them from any liability caused on their property ( and the AMA I’m sure created that form we all sign when we arrive ) but when is the track held responsible for negligence? There seems to be no regulations requiring track safety / flagger safety / rider safety in the AMA rule book. So who is the AMA really protecting? You know when people get injured the first thing people want to do nowadays is take it to court with a big lawsuit. There seems to be no standard of safety across the board , WHY?
So, I figured, maybe it’s not the AMA that is supposed to protect or guide us. Maybe we are just supposed to figure it out. Sadly, thanks to the rapid speed of news on social media, it seems that you cant ignore the many issues that present themselves yet they seem to have no “rules, guidelines or solutions”.
- What exactly are the rules in this sport?
- What is the mission?
For a parent, I believe the mission is to enjoy a family sport with their child, and teach that child how to win, lose, sportsmanship, and most of all go home safe. Social media is one thing, but when you go to tracks and see things or feel vibes that are just off, the questions remain,what IS the mission of this sport? Who really, truly, genuinely advocates for the motocross riders and families?
I haven’t found one person that hasn’t had an opinion yet they don’t want to have their opinion heard due to fear.
- So do we fear the organization that is taking our membership dues that is supposed to protect us?
- Or is it the track owners, or the wealthy families in mx that seem to have more “in’s or pull” in this sport?
It seems that every time a tragedy or injury occurs you see a plethora of fundraisers or internet prayers and then days later ……. CRICKETS! Silence, nothing more… no change, no laws, nothing!
What are we the parents/advocates getting at here? We want to be secure enough to know that the safety of our children is being accounted for and valued. We want more aggressive safety measures put into place, are track guidelines being followed to prevent these injuries? Are they being strictly enforced? Is safety awareness being adhered to and increased? As parents, we have the right to the answers of these questions.
As I do more research, I have found resources such as The Brett Downey Safety Foundation and ask myself, are these guidelines being strictly emphasized to address the concerns of many parents? Where is the documentation from the AMA that they are taking the safety of our children into consideration?
I am not the first to have asked these questions. Kevin Windham stated, “We will never have cages, or safer barrier’s, but let’s not pretend that our sport can’t be tons safer with the same entertainment level. It truly concerns me so much that I’m thankful my son doesn’t want to race at this point of his life. That’s a hard statement to make when talking about a sport that you love and has given me so much!! I just hate losing people and truly feel we can do something!”
The problems that arise out of such efforts are enormous. Probably, the most daunting is the question of legal responsibility. The second problem is closely linked to the first. It is the matter of enforcing the rules and administrating the penalties for breaking the rules. This requires paid officials and more licensed safety personnel at each track. Other people will be needed to keep records on each rider and each offense. Yet even more manpower would be required to hand appeals.
Of course the question then arises: Where will these people and the money come from?
Volunteers will soon grow tired and honest, unbiased people will become harder and harder to find.
After these horrible accidents, are they then going back and reevaluating the tracks?
You know what, its time to make a change. Maybe Im wrong, maybe everything is running perfectly, but if thats the case, I fear for the future of this sport. I would like to ask you this As a parent and as an advocate for our children … Am I the only one that feels these horrible accidents that are happening to our children can be prevented?
Why do we seem to have so many questions and feelings, but not any solutions?
Yes, the problem certainly does exist, but does a workable, affordable solution also exist?
Please tell us what you think and let’s move this process forward. How would you make motocross safer? Maybe you have an idea that can make a difference.”
No one has found the answer yet. Are you the one with that answer?
So here is a recap and some questions to ponder :
Who’s responsibility is it to make sure the flaggers are trained properly?
Is there a member of the AMA overseeing these races like a clerk of course/race director?
Is it the tracks own responsibility to make sure certain safety precautions are put in place and who do they answer to?
Who is accountable when something happens to a rider after negligence is apparent?
Do the tracks and events have a code of conduct and rules they follow from the AMA and what is the procedure for risk assessment. Are the rules enforced and guidelines enforced?
How are accidents investigated and are any conclusions made public knowledge as to how this can be prevented in future?
Obviously racing carries risk and rider error and that will always be an element of this sport that also makes it exciting, but more can be done to eliminate the unnecessary risk of future incidents, these accidents carry a heavy loss to riders and families at times and if nothing more each and every incident could be a learning experience in an effort to raise safety standards.
MX Zen is going to add Rider and Parent safety training to our academy immediately. Maybe this will help get the movement going to educate everyone involved in the sport. It starts with the first step.
You can donate to the Garrison Family “Road to Recovery” here.