A no-bikes rule at the city’s new skate park has frustrated some bikers and caused clashes with skaters, according to officials and park users.
Reid Menzer Memorial Skatepark is open to anyone using inline skates or skateboards, according to a sign posted there. Bikes are not allowed, the sign indicates.
But some bikers have been using the park. While some say the two groups get along, others say it’s sparked some fights. Police have been called several times for “what continues to be the biker-skater conflict,” said Jim Gross, the city’s public works director.
Police Commissioner Mark Whitman said police have responded to calls about fights between the two groups.
“(The park) is not designed for bikes. I think people on bikes are a little miffed,” he said. “I think skateboarders want to protect it.”
The city police log lists one harassment report for four youths who repeatedly punched another in the head at the park. Four juveniles were arrested, the log states.
Gross said there is nothing specific to the skate park in the city’s laws right now. The city might have to add to park rules “to give them a little more teeth,” he said.
Police can ask the bikers to leave, and anyone there after the 10 p.m. closing can be cited for trespassing, he said.
Whitman said the city might have to consider fencing the park and having someone responsible for opening it. Adult supervision would be the best thing, he said, but finding a volunteer might be the only way to do that. Eric Menzer, Reid Menzer’s father, declined to comment recently, other than to say the park is now in the city’s hands.Gross said the park is limited to skaters for safety and because of potential damage to the facility, because bikes cause more harm to the concrete than skateboards do.
Some at the park agreed.
Dakota Rosenzweig, a 15-year-old skateboarding there recently, said bikes do cause more damage and would hurt him more in a collision.
“No offense,” he said to Francisco Ehrhart, 18, who sat at the edge of the park with his bike resting behind him.
Ehrhart said he’s been asked to leave the park for riding. He didn’t know he wasn’t allowed, he said.
“They want us to get off the street, but we can’t ride at the park,” he said.
Other skaters and bikers said they’ve been getting along fine.
Linda and George Pryor of Dover Township said they’ve brought their kids about three times to skate and haven’t seen any problems. Linda said she’s just happy they have somewhere to go.
“I like the atmosphere,” she said. “Kids need a place to go.”
Holly Bowers, a Springettsbury Township resident whose son rode a bike there, said she hadn’t seen any trouble, but fights could happen anywhere.
“So far, I think everything is going along quite smoothly,” she said.
Gross said officials agreed to make a place for the bikers using leftover dug-up earth. A mound of it rests behind the park.
Robert Taylor, who lives in the southeastern part of the county, brought his 15-year-old son to skateboard recently. He said he hopes the city follows through on the offer.
“I’d like to see a place for both,” he said.