Bike jumps FAQs

Published on 12 November 2021

What is the issue?

Unsupported construction of dirt jumps on Council land have become more common over the last 18 months, particularly during lockdowns. This has also been experienced by many other councils in Australia.

While Council is very keen to support getting young people outdoors and active, getting their hands dirty and being creative, we also have a responsibility to manage risks, as much as possible. Several ambulances have been called out due to people being badly injured when using unsupported bike jumps.

The increase of these jumps has raised issues of community safety as well as caused damage to our natural environment. We are working on a solution that balances those considerations.

FAQs

Why does Council classify some bike jumps as unsuitable?

Rider-made bike jumps are often deemed unsuitable due to the way they are built. They are commonly made with random materials such as bricks, old pieces of timber and metal. When community members build their own jumps, Council can’t ensure that what has been built is safe – either in the design or construction. It’s not just the jumps themselves, but the holes where dirt has been dug up to construct the jumps. These often become the major hazard.

As a council, we need to make sure that anything built on Council land is as safe as possible – for both users and passers-by. When Council construct recreational areas, we work with engineers and professionals, adhering to guidelines and safety regulations.

Can’t Council just tell people how to build the jumps safely?

Safety isn’t our only concern with the jumps. We need to consider the environmental impacts and what others in the community want, including nearby residents and other users of the space. While an open space may seem like a good place to build jumps, other park users or residents with properties that surround that area may not like the idea of having something built so close to their homes without consultation. When Council builds something, we reach out to those who will be affected by it, especially those living close by to consider everyone’s feedback. This is what we would like to do with dirt jumps.

Are you removing all dirt jumps?

The Original Rosanna Parkland jumps will stay as these jumps are not damaging to conservation and have been deemed suitable. Other jumps will be removed if they are deemed unsuitable including:

  • Jumps built with materials such as bricks, timber, metal, and scrap.
  • Jumps that are constructed via digging holes, creating trip hazards and flood trapping water.
  • Jumps that impact the safety of other users in the community space, and those that are constructed in a conservation area that damage the ecological nature of the parklands will also be removed.

Why are rider-built dirt jumps not allowed, but Council has skate parks, and the Eaglemont Dirt jumps?

While there will always be some level of risk associated with any skate, MTB trail or BMX facility, Council can manage the risk, by having facilities professionally designed, engineered, and built, and regularly checking and maintaining them. This is the case for all of Council’s skate parks and the Eaglemont Dirt Jumps.

There are documented standards and guidelines for building such facilities with the aim of minimising risk of serious injuries for users. If a facility is built in in consultation with experts and regularly inspected and maintained, the risk of injury can be better managed. These facilities are also often built in an area that has access to emergency vehicles.

Council staff will continue to work with local community experts, industry organisations and other councils to investigate better way to manage rider-built jumps and the potential to develop guidelines for jumps.

Why has Council decided to remove these jumps now?

We acknowledge that building jumps in parks and reserves has occurred for many years, and Council has also, for many years, regularly removed these jumps if deemed unsuitable. This is not an uncommon practice for councils across the country.

Recently we have seen a lot more jumps being built across Banyule, affecting conservation and safety.

With many more jumps the risks have increased, and Council has an obligation to respond quickly and manage the risk. We don’t want to see anyone else get hurt, especially if it can be avoided.

Why are some jumps considered bad for the environment?

It’s important that we ensure our natural environment, beautiful landscapes and open spaces are being taken care of.

Construction of tracks and dirt jumps in conservation areas result in damage to bushland including areas with endangered ecological communities, threatened species or Aboriginal heritage value. The untouched bushland offers biodiversity and environmental value which is especially important to our community and those who were here before us.

The longer-term aim is to create recreational spaces while also protecting and conserving our native environment and wildlife.


What happens now?

Council staff have been removing all unsuitable jumps on Council land and rehabilitating the affected ecological areas if required. This is a temporary solution whilst we work towards a long-term solution.

We will be talking more with the community to establish a long-term solution that balances issues around safety, supporting recreation and protecting the natural environment.

It’s important that we hear from young people directly, who are common dirt jump users so, over the next 6 months our Youth Services team will be out talking to young people to get their views and provide support.

As outlined in Council’s adopted Youth Spaces Plan, Council will start investigating potential locations for new youth spaces in early 2022. After Council have a list of potential sites and types of spaces (which could include bike jump tracks and skate parks), we will then work with the community to agree on which sites will work best. We understand that the community are very enthusiastic about dirt jumps and other youth facilities, but it’s important to take time to properly plan what is needed long term.

My family and I want a say on the bike jumps, how can we get involved?

It’s important that we hear from young people directly who are common dirt jump users. If you are a young person (aged 12-25 years) interested in taking part in future feedback opportunities, you can contact Banyule Youth Services at banyuleyouth@banyule.vic.gov.au

Who do I contact if I have concerns about an unsupported bike jump being built in the community?

Please contact our Customer Service on 9490 4222. Alternatively, you can make an enquiry via email at enquiries@banyule.vic.gov.au

Can I remove bike jumps myself?

As a safety measure we ask that you contact our Customer Service number or email (listed above). It is our responsibility to manage jumps constructed on Council land.