Dolores Park hill bomb goes on as skaters avoid SFPD barricades

Despite the San Francisco Police Department’s pleas for skaters to stay away from Dolores Park today, the annual hill bomb went on — and was calmer than expected.

Skaters attending the much-anticipated hill bomb skipped the heavily barricaded Dolores Street hill to instead roll through the park before moving to the steeper Church Street. There was no sign of the confrontations with police that marked last year’s version of the downhill event.

One fight between a skater and spectator started and quickly ended after crowd members intervened. Several skaters crashed, and one sat on the sidewalk attended by volunteer medics examining a bloody cut to the head.

Paramedics took at least one skater to the hospital. Shortly after 8 p.m., a young man lost control at the bottom of Church and crashed, apparently slamming his head onto the raised curb. Fire department EMTs quickly attended to him and put him on a gurney. He threw his hands up with bravado as he was wheeled into the ambulance. The crowd up and down the hill cheered.

Paramedics taking an injured skater to the hospital. Video by Joe Rivano Barros. July 6, 2024.
Two emergency responders assist an individual lying on the ground while another person helps. A bystander takes a photo, and a few others observe the scene nearby.
Paramedics attending to the skater, who was later taken to the hospital. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros. July 6, 2024.

More than a hundred San Francisco police officers had shut down the park to downhill skating in the hours before skaters arrived, zip-typing barricades together in a zig-zag pattern on sidewalks and blocking the intersections all along Dolores Street. Officers manned the barriers, and police wagons circled the park.

So skaters turned to a less-policed area — the park itself — before moving onto steeper Church Street on the other side of Dolores.

“Everyone stay to the side! No crossing!” shouted Chris Long, a veteran skater who urged the throngs lining Church to leave room for those racing downhill.

Skaters zoomed down the street precipitously fast, as the crowd hollered and clapped. Whenever a skater reached the bottom safely, the crowd erupted in applause; if they crashed, the crowd groaned.

“It’s kinda like playing pinball in real life,” said Amire Lofton, a seasoned downhill skater who has attended several hill bombs.

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