Boys plea to not write-off jumps


BIKE jumpers Angus Donges, Jack Mackay, Kai Mackay, Ethan Drummond, Fintan O’Dea and Bay Mackay put their pleas in writing. Picture: Gary Sissons

A GROUP of Peninsula Grammar students are determined to keep themselves active and involved in making jumps for their bikes – despite Mornington Peninsula Shire confirming their actions contravene local laws.

A group of grade 5 boys has written to The News after reading about other boys building bike jumps at Mountain View park, Mount Eliza (“Bike jumps now an election issue” The News 12/10/20).

Fintan Odea, Angus Donges, Jack French and Ethan Drummond want the shire to understand their needs and let them continue making the jumps as a way of “letting off steam” and allowing them to stay active outdoors.

Ethan’s mum Donna Drummond said she felt sorry for the playmates who had struggled through the COVID-19 restrictions. “There’s really nowhere safe for them to ride around except in the parks,” she said.

“They were all talking about the story in the paper and just want to be active.”

Here are their letters:

Fintan Odea, 11: “Imagine you are in a game and you just were about to get the second checkpoint. Then you fail and go back to the first checkpoint. That is what is happening to us in COVID-19. The only thing helping us kids get back to the second checkpoint is by having fun doing jumps on our bikes it is bringing us together having fun and building stuff. While we are building, we do the jumps, so we are learning things. That is why I think we should be able to ride on bike jumps.”

Angus Donges, 10: “Bike jumps are a free source of exercise and fun where kids can meet others and socialise. You can also follow COVID-19 restrictions as well. When you destroy bike jumps you are ruining hours of work as well as our pleasure and enjoyment. All I am asking for is to leave us alone and don’t destroy the jumps. We have already gone through a lot and I think it’s time we all had a break from this awful and dreadful year.”

Jack French: “Here are some reasons why bike jumps are actually good for you: I have been on my Xbox a lot lately and haven’t been very active. But, when I got into bike jumps, it changed my fitness and my time with my family.

I’m sure some kids like me have been inside on games a little bit too much, so if they could possibly go out on some bike jumps it could change their health and fitness.

What’s the point of wrecking something that changes their time with family, having fun, health, fitness and their moods?”

Ethan Drummond, 11: “I think that the jumps keep us active that make their health great and you get happy and who does not like happy people and if you don’t like the jumps and you are trying to be voted councillor you will not be it because our parents will not vote you. If you will destroy them don’t.”

But it appears public liability concerns may be a factor in the shire’s opposition to the children’s bike jumps. The shire’s acting director of place Jessica Wingad said: “The shire has the responsibility of managing risk to the public and on public land and so we must address this.

“Some bikes and jumps are unsafe, in inappropriate locations, not built to the correct standards, including clay types, jumps distances, slopes and curves, [and] therefore risk management from an insurance and legal perspective requires that we remove them.

“We urge members of the public to be respectful of shire staff as they carry out these duties.”

Ms Wingad said many jumps “generally disregard other users of tracks and trails, as well as the environmental and ecological values of the site”.

First published in the Mornington News – 27 October 2020


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