Feature Article - February 2007
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Ramp It Up

New-generation skateparks appeals to skaters young and old

By Emily Tipping

What About Bikes?

We've been talking about skateparks in terms of skateboarding, but most skateparks will also be used by inline skaters and BMX bikers, and depending on whom you ask, this can be good or bad.

Luke Russell, a local manufacturer's rep who helped build the skatepark in Clearwater, Fla., said that it's important to get all three disciplines—skateboarders, inline skaters and BMXers—into the park. "When you exclude one of the disciplines, it causes a sticky situation," he said. "From a design standpoint, it's not hard to figure out how to make the park work for skateboards, bikes and inline skaters."

Skaters for Public Skateparks advocates against allowing bikes to use skatepark facilities, citing the tendency of bikes to damage components such as rails and coping, as well as their threat to safety of skaters, who generally travel at slower speeds.

Alternately, the Skate Park Association of the United States of America (SPAUSA) says that cities should always allow bikes to use the skateparks. For several years the organization has been surveying parks and says that they've not seen any evidence that bikes cause more wear and tear.

One thing to keep in mind is that BMX riders will likely prefer bigger transition-type terrain. One way to cope with the different types of use is to design multiple areas, as was done in Clearwater, providing a place to skate for beginners and experts, and a separate place to bike for the freestyle bikers.