BMX riding in skateparks has been a contentious issue for years. Skateboarders are divided on the issue. Some feel that BMX presents a dangerous, radical element in the skatepark environment. Others don’t have any issues sharing the park with BMX riders and welcome the increased activity.
All users must be involved with the development of the skatepark. When scooter and BMX riders are involved with the leadership, advocacy, and fundraising efforts that create the skatepark, the collaborative effort sets the social tone at the skatepark.
BMX riders move through skateparks faster than skateboarders, while scooters move slower. These differences in speed and directional changes can strain safe navigations, especially at smaller or more popular facilities.
Your professional skatepark designer should be made aware that scooters and BMX riders will be invited to share the park. It’s a safe assumption today, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it up. The designer will accommodate those users by reducing blind spots and areas that are only accessible to one type of user. Materials and design characteristics can then be grouped accordingly among the skatepark’s features.
Skatepark Advocacy for BMX Riders
The language of BMX advocacy is plagued by challenges. For BMX advocates, there are no easy solutions. Skateboarding advocates have it tough, but BMX riders have it even tougher.
Getting involved, and staying involved, with a local skatepark project is the most significant impact you can have in shaping BMX access in your area. That’s true for skaters, and it’s true for bike riders too. Teams that include bike and scooter riders are going to have a wider network of supporters to draw from. It’s good advocacy to team up.
The worst thing you can do is to presume that BMX will be allowed at the new skatepark. Nothing is guaranteed, even for the skateboarders. The best way to ensure BMX access is being engaged with the planning process.
Here are a few other ways to show your commitment to a skatepark that serves the wider community:
Organize a park cleanup day—or better yet, cleanup days. This will demonstrate that your group is willing to be involved and collaborate with the skatepark community. This helps “sweeten the pot” for people that may be skeptical or even oppose changes to the policy.
Put together a fundraising event, or events, to create a maintenance fund to offset the increased wear and tear that your group may introduce. Offer this as part of your proposal to revise the policy. This may sound like a “buy off,” but it’s important to remember that the local skateboarders likely had to fundraise for years before the park was open.
The foundation of an inclusive message, when it comes to skatepark access, might be:
- We have earned the support of the skatepark’s current users
- Our involvement adds value in the short and long term
- The reasons for denying access can be resolved in other ways
If you are a BMX advocate that has a story to share, please contact us!