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What is Skitching?

Diane Goettel
By
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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Skitching, which may be a combination of the words "skating" and "hitching," is the act of holding on to a moving vehicle while wearing roller skates or riding on a skate board. The person who is in the act of skitching is not inside the motor vehicle and is, instead of using his own muscles to propel himself forward, "hitch" a ride using the power of the motor vehicle's engine to move him. Understandable, this is a very dangerous practice that can lead to serious physical injury for the person who is skitching. Also, if the driver of the motor vehicle is unaware and suddenly realizes that there is a person hanging from the side or back of his car, he may become distracted in a manner that could lead to an accident, potentially injuring many people including the skating hitcher.

It is most common for skitching to take place in urban areas where there is heavy but relatively slow traffic. This is because skitchers can sometimes hang on to busses, vans, and sometimes even cars without the driver becoming aware. Furthermore, in these sorts of areas, there is a great deal of starting and stopping. This means that a motor vehicle may not accelerate above 35 or 40 miles per hour (about 55 to 65 kilometers per hour). Although the practice is still very dangerous, a person who is skitching is likely not to be pulled at much higher speeds that are likely to be reached on highways, freeways, and open roads outside of cities.

Also, one of the reasons that skitching is used in urban areas is that it can accelerate a skater's commute from one place to another. A skitcher trying to get across town quickly might alternate between skating and skitching when possible. In addition to being very dangerous, skitching is also illegal in many places.

There are a number of other terms that are used to describe the act of skitching. "Poggying" is one term. "Bumper shining" and "bumper hitching" are also terms that are used to describe skitching. This is because skitchers may hold on to the rear bumper of a motor vehicle or just the back end of the vehicle near the rear bumper. There are similar practices that involve the use of a bicycle and, in some cases, an inner tube (which is used on snow-covered streets) that are similar to the practice of hitching a ride while skating.

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Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By Clairdelune — On Sep 25, 2011

@Esther11 - I'm surprised the young woman hasn't been arrested yet, if she skitching around Manhattan everyday. I'm sure it is against the law there.

I feel sorry for the driver of the vehicle who is unknowingly pulling the skitcher. If the skitcher is injured, the driver would feel just awful, even though it wasn't his fault.

By Esther11 — On Sep 24, 2011

What will they think of next? Young kids are always devising some new way to indulge in risky behavior. Maybe they could try using that creativeness for something constructive.

I saw a young girl skitching behind a truck in Manhattan on television. She apparently does this everyday to get from one end of town to another.

If she does this every day, the law of averages are going to catch up with her. I wish her luck.

By amysamp — On Sep 24, 2011

We had quite a few big hills in our neighborhood, so there was really no need to skitch because you could go almost as fast by yourself.

The only time skitching would have been convenient was going up the hills in our neighborhood, but we just skated up and down the hills ourselves.

We still had a lot of fun rollerblading and skateboarding down the hill without grabbing onto a car. From the sounds of things, it is a good thing we chose not to skitch!

It is sad to think of all the people who die on account of trying things like this.

By indemnifyme — On Sep 23, 2011

@SZapper - That's awful! I've actually never heard of this term despite living in a city for a few years. I've never seen skitching either thank goodness.

Although this sounds totally dangerous, I can see the appeal for teenagers. Most teenagers think they are invincible anyway, and skateboarding is very popular. I can see the progression in someones mind from skating to skating while holding onto a car. Still a bad idea though.

By SZapper — On Sep 22, 2011

When I was in high school, a kid that went to my high school actually died doing this. His brother was driving the car, and he ended up going to jail for manslaughter.

It was a horrible mess and pretty much ruined their family forever. Those kids thought they were just going to have some fun and one of them ended up dead.

I would strongly caution anyone who is thinking about trying this to think twice. It doesn't sound like it would be worth the risk just to speed up your trip across town.

By golf07 — On Sep 21, 2011

When we were kids growing up in a small town, we would do some snow skitching in the winter. Even though we were aware of the dangers, we liked to do this when our roads were covered with snow and there wasn't much traffic around town.

Everyone knew what was going on, including the driver of the vehicle. We were always on roads that had very little traffic and never went very fast, but now I realize how fast an accident can happen.

Thankfully nobody got hurt when we did this, but it is not something I would want my kids doing.

By LisaLou — On Sep 20, 2011

If I was driving down the road and suddenly saw someone skitching on my car, it would make me very nervous.

Even though this would be something I didn't instigate, I would somehow feel responsible if something bad happened.

Many teenagers have no fear and like to participate in dangerous activities, so I can see how this would be attractive to some young people.

It only takes a split second for something to happen though, and their life could be changed forever. It is easy to understand why this is illegal in many places.

By letshearit — On Sep 20, 2011

@animegal - There are a lot of teens in our neighborhood that have been skitching lately. I am not sure if there was something on TV about it or not. I really don't have a problem with anyone skitching onto my car, as long as I am aware they are doing it.

I have actually seen a few people out trying motorcycle skitching, and I am pretty freaked out whenever I see it. Motorcyclists rely so much more on their balance, I can just see a skitcher throwing them off by a bit too much and causing a huge accident. I really think that skitching should only be done when everyone is aware of what's happening.

By animegal — On Sep 20, 2011

My friends in high school saw a skitching video and decided it would be cool to try out. Unfortunately they weren't very good at it and had a bit of a skitching accident.

My friend got on a skateboard, and my other friend drove the carve. Basically my one friend held on for dear life while the car moved up a hill. My friend lost his grip and ended up rolling down the hill and into a bush. He wasn't hurt to badly, but it could have been a lot worse.

I have seen so skitching videos where people grab on to cars and the drivers don't know it. That can be incredibly dangerous. Any sudden stops and you're in trouble.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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