Austria’s first indoor bike park was opened in Ötztal Bahnhof – the necessary installation testing was realised by TÜV AUSTRIA.
In the former e-motorcross hall, Area 47, the Tyrolean outdoor leisure park, has created an indoor offer with a variety of possibilities: From pumptrack and flowline to a technique course – a small practice course for mobile devices – to the jumpline with two approach lines that ends in a bagjump landing.
This versatility leads to enthusiasm among bikers, but is not easy to test, as many factors have to be taken into account. For example, a locked technical room must be provided for bag jump landing, or it must be clearly stated what the procedure is if the landing bag’s blower should fail, and much more. The approach is not exactly easy either, for example, the classification of the landing bag is a difficulty, as it is not a bagjump with a blobber, but also not an inflatable play device, so the manufacturer’s documents of the individual devices were closely examined in order to be able to check all safety-relevant aspects.
An absolute must during the installation inspection: to respond to the individual special features of the facility. A challenge, also because ÖNORM S 4750 on mountain biking infrastructure – planning, execution and operation has only existed since April 2021 and is therefore still in the development phase and is constantly being supplemented and improved. Robert Terp, Business Unit Manager of TÜV AUSTRIA Stage and Leisure Technology, played a major role in the drafting of this ÖNORM, which contains information on the planning, execution and operation of bike parks, trail centres and pump tracks.
Safety has top priority
“For us, it is important to ensure the safety of the users accordingly, or to minimise the risks, in addition to the fun factor,” Christian Schnöller, CEO of Area 47, emphasises the importance of the safety inspection.
The diverse offer of the bike park also does not fully fall within the above-mentioned standard, so although pump tracks with various safety areas to be checked are listed, bag jumps are not explicitly mentioned. It was therefore a particular challenge for test technician Erich Wieland to get an overview of all potential sources of danger and to ensure that the residual risk was limited accordingly, which he succeeded in doing thanks to his experience, adaptability and the necessary tact. Christian Schnöller was also positive in this regard: “The cooperation with TÜV AUSTRIA on this project was an important part of the planning from the very beginning and the technical support and acceptance were very professional.“
An internal pumptrack checklist, which contains a combination of various technical documents from Austria, Germany and Switzerland and provides good reference points for this review, also proved helpful during the audit.
The field of mountain biking, pumptracks, skate parks, rollerblading equipment, etc. is booming and constantly developing. The existing standards have so far dealt with partial aspects of this; in the future, we will have to continue to adapt the basic principles and constantly react to new developments in order to be able to provide the necessary safety in this fast-moving discipline.
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