Should BMX bike riders in Farmington Hills skate park face misdemeanor charge?

BMX bikes can damage park, injure skateboarders

By Jason Colthorp - Anchor/Reporter, Kayla Clarke

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - BMX bikers and skateboarders are brothers in arms, but they don't mix very well in a skate park and a battle is underway in Farmington Hills to keep the two groups apart.

Those who use bikes at a skate park in Farmington Hills could be facing a misdemeanor charge instead of just being asked to leave.

Skateboarders have been using Riley Skate Park for 10 years and on summer days, the park can be full of people.

However, not everyone is following the rules at Riley Park. It's gotten so bad that City Council is considering making it a misdemeanor offense to ride a bike or scooter there.

Rob Woelkers was the driving force behind building the skate park and runs a skateboarding camp for children in the area. He loves BMXers, but admits the bikes can do damage to the park that was intended to be skating only. More important than that, it can be dangerous.

"It's scary when they're here, because they're big and you can't hear them," Woelkers said. "You get hit by a biker, it's going to hurt. And when you're 7, it's going to hurt a lot more."

Woelkers is frustrated because skaters have gotten tickets for trespassing at the park during hours it was supposed to be open and bikers do not. His answer is to enforce all the rules, but not if it comes with such a stiff penalty.

"When I found out it was potentially a misdemeanor, I said, 'Let them, let them ride.' Because that's stupid."

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