Earlier this year, the Goodpush Alliance launched a global Accessible Skateparks Survey, in collaboration with Drop In and SEHstern. The goal of the survey is to find out how to make skateparks more accessible for everyone. We reached out specifically to skaters with disabilities and WCMXers to ensure their perspectives are included.
So far, more than 65 people worldwide took part in the survey! While we plan to do a full survey report later this year, we wanted to share some of the “first results” with you from our survey about accessibility in skateparks.
Getting to Skateparks
One of the biggest issues highlighted in the survey responses was the long travel times, lack of public transport options, and other transport issues for traveling to/from skateparks. Some skateparks also lack wheelchair and adaptive skate access from the street/parking lot to the skatepark.
Looking at a more global perspective on accessible skateparks, some respondents noted that their countries don’t have any skateparks yet, and need to travel to other countries to visit one.
Recommendations include the construction of more central skateparks with good public transport connections.
Ideas for Making Skateparks Better for Everybody
Many people also mentioned that their local skateparks could be improved with more mellow features/obstacles for beginners and older skaters.
In addition, some respondents noted a lack of understanding among many skatepark users. One respondent noted a “poor broad social awareness of neurodiversity. Some of my participants struggle to quickly grasp the flow of a skatepark or social cues and context."
For people with visual impairment, the size and placement of an obstacle is also important. Wider and longer elements are helpful for orientation.
One blind skateboarder said that “for me it is hard to ride skateparks with too much distance between the obstacles or too open bowls because I get lost.”
Barriers for Wheelchair Users & WCMX
The main barrier mentioned by most people using a wheelchair in skateparks was that they cannot get up the ramps and out of bowls on their own.
Recommendations for a more wheelchair-accessible skatepark include gradual inclines leading to all levels of the park. For example, one respondent said “stair sets should be accompanied by an up/down ramp, the flow of the park should allow speed to access any portion of the park.” And another suggested open roll in/out bowls or a tunnel/door that can be used for exiting large bowls.
Getting speed in the skatepark is another topic, with one WCMX rider saying: “Skateparks ideally would have bigger ramps closer to the obstacle since we can’t pedal and our push is limited once we are at our top speed… Maybe even with kickers so we can jump onto a rail but also not get in the way of the skaters.”
How friendly are skateparks?
While a small number of respondents noted that they faced discrimination and ignorance at the skatepark, the vast majority of people we heard from felt that skateparks are already inclusive and friendly:
“Skateboarding has always amazed me due to the fact that it tears down barriers. No matter the age, race, gender or sexual orientation if you skate (or ride) you become part of a family,” said one respondent.
The Survey is Still Open!
We want to hear from more of you! We will keep the survey open until 20 October, so please take a few minutes to answer the questions or share it in your networks. And thanks to everyone who has filled out the survey already.
(Note: The survey is also available in German/Deutsch here)