Dirk Bruniecki

Inside View

Playgrounds for Adults

Roland Zwickl on very special tests that stimulate athletic excellence.

Photos Dirk Bruniecki

Parkour is meant to be an athletic way of maneuvering past any structures—including railings, stairs and walls—in your way. Since doing parkour in public can sometimes disturb others, however, special parkour courses are now being built. The city of Munich, for instance, has built a course on a school ground where enthusiasts can now train and practice their moves.

My job is to carefully inspect everything to ensure all the equipment is safe and the risk of injury is minimized. Parkour has a lot in common with gymnastics, where athletes swing on bars, balance on narrow beams and turn somersaults—all quite rapidly. Naturally people fall down all the time.

That’s one of the reasons I pay special attention to fall protection. The ground must have an appropriate covering, like gravel, which cushions a fall. I check that all the structures are firmly anchored to the ground and that the bars don’t form any so-called finger traps, meaning angles where a finger could easily get caught and injured. We also verify if the facility is regularly serviced and maintained—which is the only way it can remain safe to use.

Such installations are actually playgrounds for adults, and parkour courses are becoming more and more elaborate—people are always looking for the next thrill. We at TÜV SÜD are usually involved right from the planning process, providing guidance about potential safety issues. That’s just part of our daily work, ensuring that the people around us can have fun safely.

Bouncy, Trouncy, Flouncy—Parkour from an Athlete’s Perspective