Skaters return to 'hill bomb' at Dolores Park

- Hundreds of skateboarders descended on Dolores Street in San Francisco's Mission District Thursday for an impromptu hill bombing event.

While hundreds of spectators looked on, skaters off all ages whizzed down hills through intersections and blocked traffic.

Area resident Brad Soyer says he's witnessed more than a few times, when "they" come in groups "they'll start at the top of the hill and try to time the light and of course if they're in groups they can't all hit the light right and it stops traffic." 

The skaters often hitch rides on bumpers and ride down the hill so fast it puts residents on edge.  

Dolores was turned into a skateboard ramp and traffic was essentially blocked Thursday night from 20th to 18th Street.

Brad Soyer says the event is hazardous at any speed. It's dangerous, not only dangerous for them but it's dangerous for the people walking the hill.

Delores park resident Andrew Keeler chimed in" I skateboarded as a teen it's a mentality , let's see what we can get away with , I don't support that ', said Keeler.

While skateboarding at the SoMa West Skateboard Park, Rico Smith admitted to taking part in Thursday's Hill Bomb event and wasn't concerned.

"I don't care said Smith. It's all skateboarding we're all just having fun. You know as long as no one's starting nothing, I don't see no problem with it. I just feel like people are too sensitive nowadays".

Problems do occur. In July of last year, an un-permitted hill bombing event escalated into and angry confrontation with police, when a 19-year-old skateboarder claimed he was intentionally elbowed by a cop causing him to take a nasty spill and clip a patrol car. The teen filed a lawsuit against the city and county citing a malicious and reckless attack by the unnamed officer involved.

Safer venues exist for skaters like the SoMa West Skate Park, but avid skater Rico Smith says it's just not the same and the thrill of the hill is hard to avoid.

"Skate-parks are so much easier, you literally got to step up your game. If you want to go to the streets everything's bigger, everything's scarier that's where you're put to the test", said Smith.

Smith added the thrill of hill is also fueled by social media where he and fellow skaters post everything to Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

As skaters continued to use Dolores Street on Friday, playground resident Cynthia Hogan looked on and said " It's kind of the cool thing going on currently. Are there risks? Of course there are. Are neighbors going to be inconvenienced? Of course they are, but it's San Francisco."

Regardless of the controversy, the majority skaters say they won't be discouraged by a police presence and with the events organized spontaneously on social media they will likely continue.
 

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