Makeshift bike jumps to be removed

Lenny Allen at a makeshift bike jump in Ocean Grove. (Ivan Kemp)

The City of Greater Geelong has identified a number of sites across its parks, bushland, and open space areas, where amateur bike jumps and trails have been created.

The City said the number of makeshift bike jumps built by young riders had soared across Victoria over the past 18 months, as COVID-19 restrictions limited recreation activities and travel.

Work has been carried out in recent weeks to see if positive solutions can be found to address the clear demand for this type of activity.

The City has met with young people and residents in Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads to gauge their views on supporting informal bike jumps in the townships.

This follows a council allocation of $100,000 for a feasibility study into a new district bike jump facility in Ocean Grove.

Council said there is also commitment to deliver a bike discovery track through the recently adopted Barwon Heads Village master plan, and further improvements are being investigated for The Hill Mountain Bike Park in Newtown.

Director Community Life Robyn Stevens said the City was keen to identify new opportunities for young people to enjoy bike riding and other outdoor activities.

“We are committed to providing more facilities that foster positive physical and mental health.

“We’re working with young people and other community members to determine their needs and to find appropriate small-scale bike jumps in their local area.”

The City has been assessing known rider-built jumps and tracks across the municipality.

It said while it appreciated the benefits of healthy outdoor activity, some sites have significantly damaged trees and vegetation, with branches cut and severed.

Ms Stevens said it was important that open spaces were safe for all people to enjoy.

“We understand that kids want to have fun and we encourage healthy outdoor activities, but we have an obligation to limit risk on the land we manage,” she said.

“Many of these temporary jumps are not structurally sound.

“The unsuitable and unsafe modifications are being removed to reduce the risk of injury and to protect our environmental features.”