Marty McFly would struggle to find a safe to skateboard to the Twin Pines Mall. What this tells us about pedestrian safety in the real world.

Marty McFly rides his skateboard all over Hill Valley. Aside from flux capacitors and time travel, this fact alone nearly ruins the plausibility of the 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

Hill Valley, California is a fictional town that would have seen auto-centric suburbanization grow in the decades following the war. By the mid-1980s, Marty would have found himself riding on 5 or 7-lane arterial roadways with minimal sidewalk space and no devoted in-road space.

In this video, I explore just how dangerous Marty’s ride from his parents’ house to meet Doc Brown at Twin Pines Mall would be. And you won’t believe just how far apart these two fictional landmarks are in real life.

Road Guy Rob

Rob is a 12-year veteran public radio reporter and talk show producer. Other staffers at the station called him the "road guy" because he kept running off to cover all the transportation stories. Rob has degrees in Geography (BS, 2010) and Civil Engineering (MS, 2018).

View all posts