YOUNG BMX riders are being invited to a day of activities in the Valley Gardens this weekend.
It will include demonstrations by stunt team Zeal BMX – and a competition for local riders.
But there is also a serious message behind the fun, as Traffic Constable Steve Gardner of Harrogate Roads Policing Team explained.
“We’ve organised this day as something fun for people to do, but we also want to use it as an opportunity to make sure people are safe,” he said.
“It seems to be a trend that it’s cool not to have brakes on your bike, which I don’t understand because you need them to do certain stunts. It’s illegal for a bike shop to sell a bike without brakes, so people are taking them off at home.
“At this time of year, it’s also important to think about lights and there are a lot of people who don’t have lights on their bikes, so we want to tackle that as well.”
But TC Gardner - who once witnessed a young BMX rider having a lucky escape after sliding under the front of a moving car - warned that offering advice was only the first stage of a scheme to improve road safety among bike riders. He said once the campaign had been launched widely, anyone caught still breaking the rules would face prosecution - or their parents could be targeted.
“My issue is really with the parents,” he added. “What sort of parents send their kids to the skate park and back without brakes?
“The responsibility is down to them, especially if their kids are young.”
The event is supported by local bike shops, which are offering advice to people buying BMXs, and anyone attending will be offered brakes and lights at discount prices. Halfords has also offered a BMX as the main prize in a BMX competition, which will be judged by well-known rider Flea Brewis from Harrogate.
Police will be making a film of the day’s action, which will form part of a schools safety message.
The event takes place at the skate park in the Valley Gardens tomorrow, Saturday, December 3, from 1pm.