Freestyle BMX is growing increasingly popular, but bike access to skateparks remains a problem. We surveyed nearly 100 skatepark managers from 30 states to learn why bike use is restricted and what strategies support shared use.
Of the skateparks that responded to the survey, 46% deny access to BMX riders, citing concerns such as liability, user con?ict, and facility damage. Nearly all of these reasons for denying bike access relate to park design. Often, parks weren’t designed for BMX use because bikers didn’t participate in the planning, fundraising and construction processes. 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.
Fifty-four percent of the skateparks surveyed said they’ve successfully integrated biking and skating. What works?
- Seventy-six percent of these parks use and recommend unrestricted schedules for bikers and skaters.
- Although 67% 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.
BMX is important to the future of the U.S. bike industry. It appeals to kids, doesn’t have to cost much, and is suitable for both rural and urban environments. Additionally, studies have shown that involvement in BMX acts as a “gateway sport,” often the first step to a lifetime of interest in cycling. Increasing the number of parks that allow BMX riding will guarantee riders a legal, safe, and fun place to practice and play.