Getting A Skatepark.
BMX Skate Park Facts.
Letter To The Government.
The City Council Meeting.
Getting Local Support.
Petition To Allow BMX Bicycles Into Skate Park.
The goal of this page is to help guide you through the process of
getting a bike friendly skatepark built in your town, or to get bikes
allowed into an already existing skate park.
You will have to change parts of these forms to suit your needs
(such as the petition and letter to your local government), but
this is the groundwork to get you started.
Parts of this process may seem confusing, but take your time and you can
do it. If you have any questions, just ask a teacher at school or one of your
parents to give you a hand.
To do list
1. Send the included awareness letter to your representative,
along with the BMX fact sheet.
2. Get informed about your city council meeting location and times.
3. Rally everyone you know to go to these city council meetings
including teachers, police officers, and parents.
4. Prepare you attack. Plan out a good speech and know your facts about
bikes and skateparks. Be organized. Everyone attending a meeting
should have an opportunity to speak, so have everyone be ready.
5. Have as many people as possible sign the petition to gain access.
This is not the only resource for information about bikes and skate parks.
It is highly encourage using every resource you can.
Getting A Skate Park
If your city doesnt have a skatepark at all, its time to get
that changed. Here are the basic steps to guide you along the way.
1. Organize a large group of bikers, skaters, and inliners that are
dedicated to getting a skatepark built. If a large group shows up at
the council meeting then the city will be impressed.
2. Become friends with the owner of your favorite bike and skate shops.
They can help spread the word about meetings and fundraising events.
3. After you have talked to the owners of the shops, ask if you can
leave a copy of a petition for a couple of weeks. Also give a copy to
your parents and have them take it to work. Take this petition everywhere
you go and have everyone sign it. Dont forget to make copies of the
signed petitions. The city has a lot of paperwork to deal with and your
petition could get lost.
4. If you know any police officers, this is the time to contact them.
More specifically contact a DARE or youth officer. They will be able
to devote more of their time to help you out. If you can get an authority
figure like this on your side then it will strengthen your cause.
5. Local media coverage is almost essential in your quest for a skatepark.
The local newspapers are always interested in teens taking action. Tell
the reporter about the city council meetings that you plan on making a
presentation at so they can see youth interacting with the government.
6. Once you have a large group organized and petitions signed, it is time
to make your presentation to the city council and Parks and Recreation board.
You can call City Hall to find out when and where these meetings are held.
When you first arrive at the meeting everyone will have to fill out a request
to speak. Even if you are not the best speaker, speak anyway and let the city
know that everyone wants a skatepark. Have your facts ready when you bring
up the topic about bikes being included into the skatepark.
If this subject is brought up early it will be easier for it to become
reality. It will also show that the bikers are involved with the skatepark
from the get-go. Dont forget about the police officer that you contacted
before and ask them if they will speak on your behalf. The city will want
to hear from a few important community members.
7. Dont be discouraged if you dont hear anything right away. Keep calling
the board members and asking about the progress. Drive the message home
about the communitys needs for a skatepark. If it seems like nothing is
happing then attend another meeting and have the same strategy. It is
important to stay involved in the whole process.
8. If your city has already started the process of building a skatepark
and bikes are not going to be allowed, let them know that there is a strong
BMX community in your town. Cities build parks for all of their citizens
who can use them, so if they are designing a park, bikes should be allowed
from the beginning.
This list of facts will help you when you contact the City Council
or Parks and Recreation Board. When they ask you questions like,
Dont bikes hurt the skatepark? you can answer back with a number
of answers from this list. Dont turn it into an us-against-them situation.
Just state facts and ask to be heard.
BMX Skate Park Facts
* The most common misconception is that BMX bikes physically damage
the skatepark structures. Bikes ride on rubber tires, unlike skateboards
and rollerblades, which use urethane wheels. Occasionally a rider, just like
a skateboarder or rollerblader, will perform a stall or grind. Bikers grind
on metal pegs; skateboarders grind on metal trucks. If the skatepark is
properly designed, it will be able to withstand any kind of grind. Skate
parks in England Romford and South Sea, for instance have allowed bikes
from their opening days in the 1970s and are still in perfect operating
condition. Canada and Australia boast many similar examples.
* There are over 7 million BMX riders in the United States. Thats a lot
of bikes to fit in the few public skateparks that do allow bikes. In the
face of this much interest, cities should provide recreational facilities
for their residents.
* Every skatepark design can be just as fun for BMX riders as it is for
skateboarders and rollerbladers. Just because bikes are bigger and have
only two wheels doesnt mean they cant use the same terrain.
* Just because the term (skatepark) doesnt have the word (bike) in it
doesnt mean bikes dont belong. (Skatepark) has become a generic term
for ramp facility, in the same way that Xerox has become a generic term
for photocopies, or Kleenex for facial tissues its simple and easy to say.
* Allowing BMX bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades all together in the
same park at the same time will not cause a problem. Every park has a
list of rules skatepark etiquette that must be posted. If everyone follows
these simple, courteous rules, no problems should result. Overcrowding
at your skatepark might call for separate sessions, or limiting the number
of people in the skatepark at a time (instead of segregating by sport).
* A BMX track is not the same as a skatepark. BMX tracks are used
exclusively for racing, which is far less popular than ramp riding. Also,
the dirt-jumping aspect of BMX is completely different from skatepark
riding. Dirt jumps have limited opportunities for tricks compared
to skatepark ramps, and require a great deal more maintenance.
* Youth obesity is a growing problem across the country, and skateparks
provide a great place for kids to get the exercise they need. According
to a child obesity study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), bike
riding is included in a list of healthy activities for kids to participate
in. It reads, Encourage regular exercise and physical activity in your
children each day. This may include going for walks as a family, playing
outside, riding a bike, or participating in organized sports, like soccer
* The Center for Chronic Disease Prevention has started a campaign
called VERB that promotes healthy exercise for adolescents. -- They
have stated that about 13 percent of children and adolescents are now
seriously overweight. This can be remedied by giving kids as many
exercise opportunities as possible, including letting kids and teens
ride their bikes legally in public skateparks.
* One important thing to remember is that when kids have nothing to do,
they often experiment with gangs and/or drugs. BMX riding is an engaging,
exciting recreational activity that leaves no room for gangs or drugs.
* A word of warning: even if a skatepark were built specifically for bikes,
the nature of action sports dictates that skateboarders and rollerbladers
would want access as well as they are always looking for new terrain to
ride. Just as there could be no such thing as a (bikes only) skatepark,
there should be no (bikes not allowed) skateparks.
* Parks that have already been built for skateboards need no special
overhaul or treatment to accommodate bikes. BMX bikes can use and enjoy
the exact same terrain and ramp designs as skateboards and rollerblades.
* In major events such as ESPNs X Games and NBCs Gravity Games,
skateboarders and bike riders share the same skatepark course.
Due to the sheer number of athletes that compete, separate practice
times are needed, but the contests are held on the same ramps.
* In most states, the hazardous activities list includes bicycle riding
along with skateboarding and rollerblading. In the state of California,
the list describes it as bicycle jumping, racing and mountain bicycling
(Ca. Gov. Code s831.7). Including bikes means that city liability for
injuries is not an issue. In the state of Washington ( RCW 4.24.210 )
* The skateparks that have been built around the country have created a
breeding ground for tomorrows X Games gold medallists. Top BMX pros
travel all over the country to ride at public cement parks and to be a part
of the BMX culture. According to Taj Mihelich, top pro and co-owner of
the Terrible One bike company, Most cities build skateparks thinking
that they will be a great place to keep kids off the streets.
It is so terribly ironic when a kid on a bike shows up and gets a ticket for
riding there. Here is this ideal place to ride a BMX bike, and the place is
built for kids to have fun at, but this kid on a bike is going to get a ticket
and get in trouble. Thats a double standard, and no one likes to be accused
Letter To The Government
Raising awareness about bikes in skateparks is very important, and you
need to let your elected officials know that it is a concern in their community.
Aside from your local city council, you should also be in contact with your
representatives in Washington D.C. You can find out their mailing information
by going to www.whitehouse.org and entering your zip code.
To let them know whats up, use the following text as a form letter and send
it in. Have all of your friends and family do the same so its comes across as
more than simply one kid wanting a place to ride his bike.
Re: Allowing BMX bicycles into public skateparks
Dear Representative [last name],
I am writing this letter with regard to the situation of BMX bikes not being
allowed into public skateparks. I am sure you have seen BMX bikes on TV
riding the same skateparks as skateboarders and in line skaters in events
like ESPNs X Games, but for some reason these BMX bikes are not as
accepted as skateboards and rollerblades.
There are over seven million BMX riders in the Unites States, and
we are being discriminated against because of misunderstandings.
I would appreciate your aid in our efforts to help BMX bikes gain entry in
to our local skatepark. We BMX riders can, and wish to, peacefully coexist
with skateboarders and rollerbladers on a common ground, equally useful
and beneficial to us all.
The City Council Meeting
Getting a publicly funded park built means you have to work within
your local governments, and the most important thing you can do is
make a presentation at a city council meeting. A lot of the things that
go on at a city council meeting might not make any sense to you, but
be polite, listen, and wait your turn.
The last thing elected officials want to hear is a bunch of teenagers
making noise, so show them that bike riders are respectable members
of the community.
How to find out about a city council meeting
Your city should have a Web site with details about meeting times,
locations, and the subjects they will be addressing. You might also
find the meeting minutes, which are the notes taken from prior meetings.
You can check these to see if skateparks have been on the list of topics
before and what was said. One more place to look for the agenda is the
post office and library. If you get confused (which isnt hard) you can
always talk face to face with the receptionist at city hall.
At the beginning of the meeting you will need to fill out a request
to speak during the public speaking time about your skatepark issue.
This may sound intimidating, but if you plan ahead it should not be a
problem. Also be sure to bring your petitions filled out by everyone
you can get to support you.
Who to contact
Within city hall there are a few important people you should know.
The Mayor is always good to have on your side. If he or she likes
your idea then it will be much easier to get your goal accomplished.
Also, the city manager deals with the budget, and he can get the funding
for a skatepark or an expansion for an existing one. Another group to
contact is the parks and recreation department; they might have a different
meeting time and location, so check with your local government. Dont forget
to bring paper and a pen for taking notes and be ready for any questions
that they might throw at you. If they ask you something you dont know, say
so. Dont make up an answer; say youll have to find out and get back to them.
Youll appear both honest and industrious, and really get on their good side.
Attitude is Everything
In every step of this process, attitude can make or brake you. When you
are at city hall checking on meeting times, dont wear the worst clothes
you can find in you closet. Were not saying to dress up, but show them
that you are willing to work with them professionally. Before the actual
city council meeting, sit down with your parents and friends and plan what
you want to say. Be as prepared as possible, and be ready to write down
any questions youre asked so you can follow up later.
Getting Local Support
If there is an existing skatepark in your city, only actual residents
will be able to get the rules changed to get bikes into the park. The
local government only want to hear from people that live in and pay
taxes in their community. So, the bottom line is that if you dont live
in their city they probably wont be interested in what you have to say.
Local governments do respond to crowds, so the more people you get behind
your cause, the better. Instead of approaching your local government on your
own, get organized. Gather everyone you know who lives in the same city and
have them get involved. -- You should have plenty of names and numbers from
the petitions you had filled out, so call everyone and let them know when youre
going to approach the city council. Every rider you know also has a mom, dad,
brother, sister, friend, etc., so ask them all to show up to lend their support.
Attitude is everything
Dealing with the government is a slow, slow process. Whatever you do,
dont get discouraged. -- Stay in contact with the members of the board
and check the progress. Dont be afraid to become a regular at the your
meetings and try to speak at each one. Remember to talk to the council
members with respect calling them sir and ma-am cant hurt either.
Getting Local Support
This might sound strange, but find a teacher, parent, or other adult
that is supportive of bike riding and lives in your city and bring them
to every council meeting. If youve never been to a city council meeting,
they can be intimidating, and this adult can help you prepare a speech
and plan your attack. Its also a good idea to get a bike shop or some
sort of business behind you. -- They too have a lot of pull in your city.
It wont hurt to bring local authority figures along with you, as it
shows that respectable members of the community support BMX.
Some examples of people to have at the meeting include:
* Police officers
* Bike shop owners
* Church groups
* City workers
Petition To Allow BMX Bicycles Into___________Skate Park.
We, the undersigned, as residents of _________, support the use of
BMX bicycles in the aforementioned skatepark. This petition is not
a request for a new, separate skatepark designed specifically for
It asks for equal treatment for BMX riders in an existing skatepark.
It is a common misconception that BMX bicycles in skateparks create
a dangerous environment. BMX bicycles are equipped with brakes and
are highly maneuverable, making them at least as safe as the skate
boards and/or inline skates already permitted to use the skatepark.
Many cities around the country already recognize this by permitting
BMX bicycles into publicly funded skateparks, where they coexist with
other skatepark users. Countless private skateparks already demonstrate
that any and all skatepark designs are compatible with BMX bicycles.
For all of the above reasons and more, we, the undersigned, recognize
the need for equal treatment for BMX riders, that they may have a safe
and legal area to enjoy their sport.
__________ Name | Address | Phone | Signature __________