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Many Skateparks Don't Allow BMX Use

Published July 26, 2009

BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—Bikes Belong recently conducted a BMX Access Survey finding that a good number of skate parks don’t allow BMX freestyle use.

Nearly 100 skate parks from 30 states responded to the survey where 46 percent said they don’t allow BMX riders and 54 percent do.

“We want to improve BMX access at skate parks,” said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong.

Blumenthal said the survey’s impetus came from BMX suppliers who said one of the biggest problems BMX faces is access to freestyle riding. “We’re trying to be responsive,” Blumenthal added.

The 46 percent that denied access to BMX riders cited concerns such as liability, user conflict and facility damage. Nearly all of these reasons for denying bike access relate to park design, according to Bikes Belong research and statistics coordinator Kate Scheider, who conducted the survey.

Often parks weren’t designed for BMX use because bikers didn’t participate in the planning, fundraising and construction processes,” Scheider said. Park managers are often open to reviewing their policy on bikes, but rules only change when the bike community is well organized, professional and engaged. The survey also found that some parks are prohibited from allowing bikes by their insurance or park warranty, according to Scheider.

Fifty-four percent of the skateparks surveyed said they’ve successfully integrated biking and skating. Other finding from the survey:

-Seventy-six percent of these parks use and recommend unrestricted schedules for bikers and skaters.

-Although 67 percent said that bike-related wear and tear is observed, most indicated that their parks are designed to withstand bike use.

-Forty-two percent require or suggest park-friendly pegs and pedals.

-It’s beneficial to have leaders of both user groups who set a positive and cooperative example.

—Jason Norman

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