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Annual Dolores Park 'hill bomb' set for this weekend

People sitting at Dolores Park.
Michaela Seah
A typical summer afternoon at San Francisco's Dolores Park.

The hill bomb, unsurprisingly, has a history of being dangerous. Prolific skaters have been injured in the past, and a cyclist even died after being struck by another skater, which is why the city has been trying to put a stop to it.

Due to the alleged mistreatment of the teens arrested last year, SFPD is facing a class action lawsuit.

Despite the chaos, and the SFPD’s threat to arrest again this year, the event is still set to happen.

Many are looking for a middle ground between the skaters and calls for safety. Like Julianna, a 30-year-old, who grew up in the Mission district, had this to say.

“At the same time, there can be an agreement about safety, maybe. Vandalism is not harming anyone. So, issues around safety of the park have to be addressed. At the same time, that’s a tradition, skating is art-form that has to be protected and supported and encouraged. So, where can we meet halfway?”

Bob, an 82-year old, who lives two blocks from Dolores Park, feels that the event shouldn’t happen at all without city clearance.

“Last time, they did it, they had a big riot and vandalized the Muni. If you’re going to do some sport, it’s ok. But I don’t go for vandalism and fighting with the police and stuff.”

Residents, like Jeremy, a 32-year-old, who also lives in the Mission, has attended the event in the past. He said that what used to be good fun has become too dangerous.

“The first year, I attended it was a bit more mellow, more controlled chaos. But now it feels more like a party. I mean, I support kids skating, and kids meeting up and having fun and staying out of other trouble. But, I do think the hill bomb attracts a lot of outside people to it, which causes a lot more chaos.”

So far, moves to sanction the hill bomb have not succeeded due to insufficient funds. Some longtime participants say it is too late and that the city seems uninterested in creating a safer event.

Hi everyone! I (she/they) am a Bay Area native, multimedia journalist, and latte enthusiast.