Annual San Francisco skateboarding event raises concerns about public safety

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The San Francisco hills are iconic for the skateboarding community, but recent events are raising concern about public safety.

Dolores and 21st Street is a popular hill for skaters. But city leaders are concerned after a skating event landed someone in a coma.

The annual Dolores Hill Bomb draws hundreds of skaters to the iconic hills of San Francisco.

Video from last year shows fearless skaters zipping down the street.

District 8 Board of Supervisor Rafael Mandelman says what’s usually a one year event has taken over Dolores Street in recent weeks.

“I am heartbroken. This just now seems to be you know regular, the paramedics are being called taking people to the hospital with incredible serious injuries,” Mandelman said.

The supervisor expressing public safety concerns on Facebook, saying neighbors have been assaulted and nearby homes and schools vandalized. He also wrote multiple people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries –  a majority hurt were participants.

“The problem here is that this event sort of takes over that chunk of the road and makes it unusable for anybody for many many hours but does seem to be leading to these injuries,” he said.

Supervisor Mandelman says he’s working with SFMTA and public works to find a solution, one idea is moving skaters to designated areas.

Longtime city skater Arthur Stewart opposes the idea.

“This city specifically San Francisco is made for skateboarding for all skaters,” Stewart said.

Stewart has participated in the Dolores Hill Bomb and knows the risks.

“The more experienced you are, I feel like the more of it comes off,” he said. “The helmet comes off, the knee pads comes off and then it’s like riding a bicycle without training wheels.”

He gives this advice to those starting out.

“Just be safe and wear a helmet and wear your knee pads if you need them,” Stewart said.

Supervisor Mandelman hopes for an annual planned event for inexperienced skaters to perform maneuvers safely.

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