Despite lack of public use land, ATV enthusiasts say there are options

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

PARK CITY, Kan. -- Wichita's Josh Reding could ride his four-wheeler every day.

"It's kind of my thing, it's fun to do, it's relaxing," Reding said.

He likes to ride at courses like Jeeps Motorcycle Club in Park City, Kan. because they're well-maintained and supervised.

"It makes me feel safer, it gives me that piece of mind to know that if there was an accident I would be o.k.," Reding said.

He and other riders say there are just too many unknowns when it comes to riding unlawfully in areas like the Big Ditch. That's where 25-year-old Philipp "Doobie" Wellemeyer died in an accident Sunday.

"I actually have some close friends who have gotten hurt out there. Please don't ride out there," said Daryl Walter, President of Jeeps Motorcycle Club in Park City, Kan.

KAKE News received a number of comments after the accident Sunday. Many people wrote in to say people ride unlawfully around the Big Ditch because there aren't enough legal places to ride near Wichita.

In the Wichita area, there are limited options for where people can ride, especially when it comes public land. Riders say the closest public land riding areas to Wichita would be in Hutchinson and at Kanopolis State Park.

Walter says he knows there's not much public land to ride on in the Wichita area but he wants people to know that his club and other local private courses provide a great, safe alternative.

"I hope another family does not have to go through what that family is going through right now," Walter said.

Jeeps Motorcycle Club allows 24/7 access to its 80-acre facility for annual membership fee of $200.

Just down the road in Maize is another option: Bar2Bar Motor Cross. Bar2Bar is open to the public several times a month for a small daily fee. During the summer, it is open Wednesdays and Sundays.

"If we can just bring awareness to the fact that there are alternatives for people, that's all our goal is," Bar2Bar co-owner Bruce Richardson said.

Richardson is also a Congress delegate for the American Motorcycle Association. He says the association is advocating across the nation for more public land where people can ride.

In the meantime, he says the association's message is clear: riding should be all about safety, from wearing the right gear to picking the right course.

"I do believe we are at the point now that when we have a controlled environment and a controlled area that we can monitor, I think the outcome is always better," Richardson said.

For more information on the options available for where you can ride legally, please follow the links below.

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