Legal spots. Some stunters are into the idea, some are not. Either way StuntBums is about helping you pursuing your passion, so if you're sick of getting kicked out of spots, worrying about your bike getting impounded or generally tired of feeling like a delinquent trying to explain your story to the cops - seriously think about trying to get a legal spot.
While it's not easy to get a legal spot, it is logical: you would rather practice in a safe spot, than by trespassing on private property or riding on public roads. I have decided to compile stories from stunters who actually worked the magic and got themselves a legal spot, to hopefully inspire you or give you some ideas on how to land a legal spot for your town.
The first example is a privately owned spot in America, we talked to Jon "LT" Theis, from http://www.squidwheelies.com.
LT on the spot: We have a legit spot here in the Midwest. It's a local strip club that doesn't open its doors until 5pm, so we can ride in their parking lot any day until 3pm when the dancers and bouncers start showing up. It's a pretty small lot with a big dip in the middle, but its legit. People get pulled over on the highway right in front of here and the cops don't even question us.
We had issues with a power tripping cop one time trying to tell us that it was "Careless Driving on Private Property", but I went and spoke with the chief of police and he stated that if we block off the right of way of traffic (roped off the entrance) and had permission he would not deem it as "careless or reckless."
We have a pretty good relationship with the owners of the property. One time last summer I came off the bike while surfing and sent it right into the fence, destroying a section. I called them immediately and told them about it. They sent in their fence guy to fix it and sent me the bill. We payed it and we've had no problems at all. They just wanted us to update our waivers.
SB: How did you get the spot?
LT: We were pretty much grandfathered into our spot. My brother Chris "T-ICE" Theis originally got permission there around 7 or 8 years ago. This was when riding in lots really wasn't the norm, as most riders just rode the streets. Chris and I moved to Orlando in 04. I came back in 05 and bought an F4 that winter. That spring we just contacted the company that owns the strip club. I told them we were back in town and were going to ride there again and if they wanted us to renew the waivers. We sent them new waivers and we were good to go.
SB: What are your waivers like?
LT: We went on StuntLife (back before StuntRide) and looked around for waivers. We found a couple, modified them to our liking, signed them and faxed them off. For us it was that easy, but usually there's more hassle involved. We had another spot for a while that we had waivers signed for and everything, but after we rode there for a season the HR people decided that there was too much risk involved.
I wish property owners would understand that most people who stunt ride realize what they're getting themselves into. They understand the dangers involved, and that if they wreck it is no one's fault but their own. When Aaron Colton broke his leg in our lot, our main concern was getting Aaron out of there and on the way to the hospital before anyone could stop by and see he was hurt. We were much more worried about losing our spot than suing anyone.
We also talked to Fouinox, from http://www.switchriders.fr about the state property they landed in France. In my experience (living in big cities like LA and NYC) over the years, our best spots here in America have been state-owned parking lots; train stations, parks, etc. Our luck riding there is normally due to the fact no one "owns" it to call us in.
If you know of a state-owned piece of land that is good for wheelies, you could consider getting official permission from the government to keep cops off your back. Normally it involves contacting someone from the city/state to get the ball rolling. From there you may have to attend some city council meetings, write some letters, etc. The Switch Riders, from Southern France have been putting in work securing a little piece of concrete heaven they can call their own, here's the story:
Aurelien Fouinox Drogue (AD) on the spot: French spot that is ride-able day or night, good for all tricks.
StuntBums (SB): Is the property state or privately owned?
AD: Property is state owned.
SB: How did you go about first getting the spot?
AD: We contacted directly municipality and city council.
SB: Are there any special conditions to ride there?
AD: No special conditions, except a compulsory insurance (really not expensive, about 90€ which is -119$).
SB: What advice would you give someone looking for a legal spot?
AD: Some advice, well, stop broadcasting videos of freeride (street riding) to get a better opinion from others (even if we all love the freeride, I have always done some freeride and I'll always do some freeride).
Contact municipalities, sports associations and tell them they really want to practice their sport safely. And then, finding a real spot and apply for it!
So two guys who made it happen. We all know the old "skate park" story and it is possible for us too. Legal spots will be a huge landmark for stunt riding and they are in our near future, if you're willing to put in a little work.
If you or someone you know, has a legal spot story to share, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will continue putting the stories on the site.