Teenagers — if the local news is to be believed — are always coming up with new, dangerous and trendy activities to get their kicks. ("New" is a relative term — last year I saw a news story about how kids are getting really into this "skateboard" thing.) Whether it's drag racing, ghost riding the whip or the cinnamon challenge, it seems like teens just can't stop doing dumb, exciting things and adults just can't stop panicking about them.
And the most recent trend that youths are using to terrify handwringers everywhere? Bus drivers in San Francisco are apparently experiencing a rise in incidents in which a passenger kicks open a bus' back door then throws themselves from the moving vehicle.
While Muni officials initially theorized that the increasingly common occurrence was caused by impatient passengers who felt the bus was taking too long, there is some speculation that it's actually linked to what those in the know call "riding the surf" — or, in layman's terms, the act of hanging out the side of a moving bus. Kids today!
Of the riders, one world-weary 12-year-old tells the SFGate, "Sometimes they want to get off and the door never opens or it takes too long, and they want to show off a bit. It's mostly gangsters and sometimes hobos."
Between March 30 and June 9, there have been 15 recorded incidents of a passenger jumping from moving buses. Prior to the last two weeks, there was only one occurrence of a rider jumping from a bus on record for the past 3 years.
The surge in activity is both dangerous and expensive. Every time a rider forces open the back door, the bus is forced to suspend service and undergo inspection. San Francisco Police deputy Mark Biel calls kicking open the back door a possible "act of malicious mischief."
Jumps from Moving Buses Worry Muni [SFGate]
Image via AP.